Tahan V: Eight Rivers and the Mountain King

“Wow,” exclaims Shawn, “it’s like we’re walking into lemon tea.” It’s the fourth, and longest day of our expedition to summit Gunung Tahan (translated literally as Mount Endurance in Bahasa Melayu). We had already summitted the mountain on the second day of our climb – but there would be four days of walking through dense, […]

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Tahan IV: The Longest Day (Part One)

We tell stories for many reasons. We draw from unstable, uncertain memory to weave these narratives together. Structured by a confluence of many needs, and polished by the glow of nostalgia, we tell stories for many reasons. Stories remind us of our past selves; they tell about a brighter time, offering a circle of light […]

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The Titan of Naples: Contemplating Vesuvius

It’s a bit like taking a picture with a superstar. Except astronomically older. Mighty Vesuvius and me, about a year ago. Set small upon the great flanks of this Decade Volcano, I felt deeply humbled: silenced in contemplation at the sheer scale and history of this ancient, ancient and immense Titan. 1500 years ago this […]

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The Paradox of the Present

“We can redream this world and make the dream come true. Human beings are gods hidden from themselves.” | Ben Okri And when the youngest tip of your iceberg implodes in fiery chaos, remember that you are also the great, ancient bones of your old struggles, mountain-vast and dream-strong. We can be born anew from […]

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Why We Climb

(The morning after) There is a familiar, gentle ache in my thighs, in my body, in the very navel of my spirit, like an old friend come to call. This is the reward of an eight-hour climb in the rainforest. Why do we climb? For some, it is a quiet opportunity to be with God; […]

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A Reminder: You Will Never Be Alone

I wanted to find a Mary Oliver quote, but I realised it wasn’t necessary. Some truths should and can be said in your own words. And my truth for today is that if you have seen the thunderstorm wash the rainforest; if you have watched the sun break quiet like an eggyolk atop a great […]

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Castles in the Sky: The Monasteries of Meteora

The fabled monasteries of Meteora stand nearly half a kilometre in the sky; ‘Meteora’ translates literally as “middle of the sky” (Wikipedia). My journey to these great structures, however, involved as much horizontal travelling as vertical. Both were immensely special in their own ways. For me, the journey from Athens to Meteora was not a […]

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