It all started with a brochure that my sister’s friend Judy gave me years ago: the Trans-Wales Trail. A horseback riding trek that would make any Tolkien fangirl weak at the knees. Open spaces. Dragon’s land. Riding a noble beast across a country. We discussed our ideas and goals of doing it one summer. Why would we not do it?
I was in high school with little money and poor decision-making skills. In order to not get my hopes up, my incredulous self set the brochure and idea aside, but I was forever unable to escape the dream of riding a horse through a limitless landscape.
Years later, here I am. Writing tid-bits on trains headed to my adventure and present reflections at a table in my sunroom. A strange form of time travel connecting past and present. I didn’t really explain what this adventure was all about in the first place, and it would be a lie to say it was largely born as a journey of self-exploration, (though it certainly became one). It was to fulfill that dream instilled within me by a brochure. To achieve what my imagination had been incessantly clawing at for years.
The juxtaposition of traveling to Aberganvy in Wales after being in London was a sort of metaphor for all of this. Skyscrapers and gray giving way to rolling hills and river. Greens and blues. The peace after a trying year. Something that seems so foreign and unattainable but suddenly is there staring you in the face.
My initial goal in writing about my trip was to give day-to-day descriptions: a sort of diary of our journey–but much of that is written in my personal notebook, and much of it you can see in the images and GoPro footage below (and may perhaps appear as inspiration in whatever I write in the future). Rather than description, this space has become much more about lessons learned. Aphorisms. Growth. Process. I could go on about the beauty of Wales. The climb of mountains opening into a sea of grass where the clouds could kiss your cheek. How the horses there taught me so much about trust and bravery (definitely a later post). The charm and history of tiny villages. The Russian software engineer who is obsessed with Latin dance.
But really, what sticks out to me now after all of these experiences have simmered and we face a new school year, is the fact that this was a goal I set for myself well over ten years ago. It was a goal that I did not necessarily revisit every year. That I may have lost sight of. That I forgot in despondency. But, I suppose I did not really forget about it at all.
I have many friends in their late twenties and early thirties now who are beginning to dread their birthdays. We are in an awkward stage of life, after all. Somewhere between adulthood and whatever comes before. The years of our youth are idealized in rose-colored glasses and the future is gray and diminishing before us. However, I think now, that it’s almost the opposite. We are finally at a point in our lives where we know who we are and are exploring what we want. We realize the value and importance of time and the people we surround ourselves with. We are aware of perspective and perception. We accept that we will always be on the path of becoming, and hopefully realize that is part of the beauty of being human. We are malleable.
With that knowing… with that knowledge… comes so much more freedom to pursue what we know we want. To relinquish ourselves to those old dreams because we know they were not childish ambition but were a part of us, and to rid ourselves of the things that are not worth our time. These are luxuries that youth does not often have. That come from experience and people.
Our goals and ambitions of youth do not die, nor are they lost. They simmer and age like wine.
(Video to be posted once it uploads… YAY Comcast internet!)