“Hagamos esto realidad…”
– Te Quiero Pa’Mi, Don Omar ft Zion & Lennox
Life is made up of many, many mountains to be climbed, one after the other. But why climb on foot when you’ve got the cable car waiting?
The most obvious reason, it goes without saying, is that when you get to the top too quickly, you can’t quite appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to reach the summit. When you’re catapulted to the top, you do so by gliding on someone else’s back, and therefore cannot claim to have put in that effort yourself.
This year I have been climbing a truly difficult mountain, but I have also been dividing my time excellently well; after every three intense months of writing in Queens’ library dating back from the foundation of the college in 1488, I then embark on a journey with my backpack on my back and my faithful Moleskine in my bag to see what I’ve been missing out on in the world while I’d been busy writing about intimate matters. And it turns out that the world is indeed a big place full of incredible people, food, and even more fantastic nature.
This summer I made an exception to travel with some old friends from university, and Genève being rather… shall we say, tiny, we decided to venture a little further and ended up in Chamonix, where we took the cable car up to Mont Blanc. I made the mistake of not eating before the “climb” up, and ended up suffering a ridiculous headache from the empty stomach and altitude sickness. But while up there, I managed to write to friends in different corners of the globe, and did enjoy the incredible view. And how could I not:
Seeing the mountain climbers tinier than ants from the observation deck brought to my mind Lego figurines trudging through the snow like penguins. I was in awe of these climbers who did actually try to reach the summit on foot. Perhaps if I were to ever travel with an experienced climber one day this is something I would love to try, but for now given the time constraints and with my physique not exactly in top form, I shall have to settle for shortcuts.
We were actually rather relieved to finally get off the summit, and to be taking the mini-van back to Genève the same afternoon. Florence was awaiting our arrival the following day with open arms. But while our time in Chamonix was short, we left with some pretty surreal experience of having been up there with the clouds so close and seemingly within reach. To be standing in the midst of these majestic mountains does make one feel rather small and insignificant in the face of bigger forces in this world. I continued my travels having tightened some loose screws in my wider cosmological scheme of things.