The Never-ending Hike


All the twists and turns, peaks and valleys of my favorite hike this summer left me feeling exhausted yet accomplished – much like most significant experiences in life.

My husband and I experienced several peaks and valleys before getting to Darden.

When we stopped working at the end of May, we wanted to travel before our big move from the Midwest to the South. I had just completed my sixth consecutive year of teaching high school English and journalism, so I relished summer break. It meant even more to me this year because Michal rarely ever had the same vacation time as me while working.

For approximately two months, we traveled in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Our U.S. trip consisted of visiting friends in NorCal and SoCal and meeting family in Boulder, Co. On the other hand, our Southeast Asia trek encompassed completely new adventures on our own in Singapore, three regions of Thailand, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Through our travels, we had common activities. We immediately sought out where the locals eat and drink for an authentic meal. (Can you expect less with two Yelp Elites like us?) We would visit historical landmarks highly rated in travel guides. And we always found a way to set out on some sort of a hike.

We traversed near the Hollywood Hills and within the Red Woods in Cali, we scaled the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, we took romantic walks on the beach in Thailand, we immersed ourselves in the city life of Singapore, we got lost in the temples of Cambodia, and we ultimately climbed Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong upon recommendation from a fellow Darden FY.

Out of all our hikes, I most remember Dragon’s Back for the experience and the views.  It wasn’t like our other hikes in which we eventually reached the top or the destination within a couple hours, properly celebrated our journey with a few photos and then immediately went back. This hike lasted all day and into the night. It was true to its title, containing several peaks and valleys to simulate the back of a dragon. Each peak provided a different perspective. Distances between each peak were varied. And when we thought we were “done,” we ended up continuing on other trails that were linked.

Our memorable day of hiking in Hong Kong reminded me much of what our journey has been like since graduating from Michigan State University six years ago, where my husband and I met. I especially experienced those “valleys” of exhaustion in my first few years as a teacher, those “peaks” of my tenure when I was most proud of my students as I saw them grow and improve, and those uncertain moments of trekking through life when I wasn’t sure if I could continue on this “path.”

Now that I have left Chicagoland, and the profession of teaching, at least for these two years in Charlottesville, VA, I feel like I am beginning a new hike like that day in Hong Kong. I am not exactly sure yet what I will be doing while my husband is at Darden, but I can trust that there will be a peak in my near future because I will keep going until I find that next view.