#DailyWritingChallenge Day 13: Adventure

Iguazu. Brazil, January 2000

Now here is one into which I can really insert my incisors! Whether it be going on a bear hunt or camping with my children, scaling the side of a volcano with a toddler under arm, or just having the confidence to experiment in the kitchen or lose myself and become lost on a journey without a sat nav, is something of which I’ve never been scared.

Maybe it started with my parents. The eldest of three girls, my dad has never treated any of us as anything other than equals and I thank him for that. It certainly makes me sad when I encounter blatant sexism. Digging up the garden and carting the wheelbarrow to the makeshift dump at the bottom of the road, where all the neighbours went in the early 1980s, was great fun. Scaling the tallest tree in the woods near our house or just not being scared to have a go at whatever came my way. A planned adventure of cycling to visit a friend from sixth form, where a planned fifty-five miles turned into eighty miles due to wanting to avoid a busy dual carriageway. Or, the unplanned risky adventure of boarding a bus with a destination in mind, but nowhere to stay and nobody to meet.

As I’ve grown older, my zest for excitement and adventure has evolved. White water rafting in the foothills of the Andes, climbing the hills of Patagonia and seeing Iguazu are just a few of the adventures I had during my time in South America. One day I shall return and hope to see Macchi Pichu, Bolivia and Columbia… Maybe we’ll take our two children on a year out too. There is something exciting but also humbling about seeing how other vistas exist.

Opera in Vienna, teaching English in Salzburg, cycling from Vienna to Budapest along the Danube with my mate Lizzy. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

Pregnancy, childbirth and the painful joy of breastfeeding: becoming a mom at 25 was not part of the master plan (if ever there was one) but I’d be lying if I said my life has been lacking in spontaneity. I met our first born’s father whilst at university; a somewhat eccentric paradoxical character teaching PPE and studying to finish a PhD meant we had mutual friends as I was in the modern language department and our seminars were in the same infamous tower.

The rest is an adventure, not without some heartache and gut wrenching agony along the way but fifteen years later, we stand together and tall. My best friend and worst enemy rolled into one.

Obsessed with Greek island hopping, he is, and I have grown to love it too. Together we have seen thirty-two different shores and whilst some can blur and merge into one, it is certain that some of these Hellenic isles become etched in the memory and retain a special place in a relaxed heart.

Aside from beautiful beaches, delicious local cuisine and heartfelt music seated in a tradition balanced between east and west. On the other hand, we scaled down the side of the volcano in Nisyros, from the very top of the crater, from the village of Emporios. In a very small bar/cafe hangs a mirror reflecting the resistance of the islanders against the occupying Nazis during the Second World War. From a single bullet hole screams time’s witness to a gun battle in which at least two resolutely brave islanders died. From the window, high above the sulphur spewing core, you can gaze downwards to the heat intensity.

“That was the best beer I have ever drunk in my life.”

That is the ‘profound’ statement exclaimed by my partner when we reached the bottom and the single cafe overlooking the bottom of the crater. I jest not for he has drunk much beer! We had somewhat crazily decided to stop at Emporios and rather than wait for the next bus travelling to the bottom of the crater, I suggested walking down. I held our two year old daughter and her dad carried the buggy. Insanely stupid and idiotic perhaps it was but u wouldn’t change that memory.

And yet, despite having had the good fortune to have had many experiences, one of the biggest and, in honesty, hardest adventures is stepping foot in a classroom. One day, or a few, in a classroom is easy, but sticking at it year after year is an amazing ultra marathon with iconic views along the way. Back to school could seem so entrapping, yet having the privilege and pleasure to spend each of our working days engaged in opening the next generation’s minds is one of the greatest adventures around.

Whilst away from the four walls and thirty-four seats, more adventures are poised and raring to start.

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