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Life lessons learned from climbing up a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops – Pt2

Lesson 2 – Plan and Research

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Following on from lesson 1, I’ve established and explained why it is generally easier to follow and much harder to lead. As well as why you have no one else to blame if you thoughtlessly follow someone down a dead end, follow bad advice etc.

I like to at times ‘live in the moment’, ‘wing it’, ‘take life as it comes’ – basically be open to new experiences. But having a laissez-faire attitude can leave you in situations that could be avoided. Take for example if you go on a journey to a place you don’t know, or decide to climb a mountain, doing some research should really be a consideration. I generally believe that we are obliged to use the brain that God has given us, but in this particular situation I found myself, disengaging my brain. So the second life lesson is about research and planning.

You see, when it was suggested at dinner the night before that we go and check out the majestic landscape views of Cape Town, from a great focal peak point, I simply said ‘great – I’m in, what time am I being picked up?’ I assumed we would be in the luxurious air conditioned van driving for most of the way to the top, but upon honest reflection, if I’d asked a question or two, done a little research, I wouldn’t have found myself in the predicament I wound up in.

If I’d googled, bing’d, yahoo’d – searched on the internet, I would of discovered that this South African landmark, was not the presumed hill top I thought we were going up, but an actual 3,563ft mountain. Seriously who decides to climb a mountain over dessert? Yes we were all joking about walking off the calories the day before, but as we approached the base of the mountain, my pupils began to dilate.

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As we get out of the van, and the driver leaves us at the entrance, I guess I’m in a state of shock as I look around me and I become acutely aware that looking ‘nice’ and well styled was not the priority of the rest of the group who were all wearing hiking gear! Though a little late, I find my voice and I decide to speak up and enquire what exactly we would be doing this morning.

The group’s majority decides that we should walk for a bit and then take the aerial cableway the rest of the way to the top. I’m reassured by a lady who’s at least twenty five years older than myself that the path we will take is scenic and that the 30 minute walk will be done at a slow pace. As it’s such a nice day (the sky is blue with a warm gentle breeze), I’m won over, it sounded like a good plan and besides I didn’t mind the early morning stroll.

However forty five minutes later, we are still walking, not near the cable car entrance and the weather has dramatically changed. The sky has darkened and it’s now raining. I’m near the back of the group of seven walkers and I can just about hear what the guy leading the group is saying. From what I have gathered thus far, when the weather is like this, the cable cars are stopped. Therefore by the time we’d reach them, the area would be locked up and we wouldn’t be able to ride them to the top of the mountain.

I turn around in order to begin to walk back down, but my walking ‘partner’ for want of a better word (we’re the last two at the rear of the group), grabs my arm and explains the bit I’ve obviously missed. The entrance of the mountain will also be locked up by now and there is no way we will be able to scale the wire and fencing, even if we wanted to (I asked). She then hugs me as my face must obviously show my bewilderment and trepidation as it dawns on me that I am going to have to climb this mountain with only a juice box, four sweets and in my flip flops. There’s a loud clap of thunder and I think to myself that this feels like the set-up of a horror movie….as it turns out, I wasn’t that wrong…..TBC

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