Joy and Pain

Did you ever think about these two conditions: ‘joy’ and ‘pain’? (I should not even mention them in a single phrase …) – or maybe: did you think that these two conditions have something in common? If so, I tell you that they have nothing in common and I can even prove my statement:

There were three of us and luckily not everyone was in a bad shape at the same time – or maybe I should start this Blog entry more positively (because I survived and enjoy writing this right now): each of us was motivated during a certain period of our hike. Now you know that we were hiking and with our naïve nature we first thought that we can make this hike in 2 days BUT nooooo way. It would have been much chillier if we would have taken 4 days instead of the 3 days: we were walking and walking and walking. My body is still in pain – no feeling of joy for life left. The first day I perceived as pretty joyful but then pain started and did not stop yet. I feel old and rotten but I know that my body will regenerate soon – this future feeling gives me joy BUT right now I’m walking like a duck: not in a straight line but from one foot to the other, moving like a ship trying to survive in a tremendous storm with huge waves in the Pacific.

My mind did funny things to my thoughts but even this had nothing to do with joy … my body hurt that much that I started not thinking at all in the end of the hike – I even lost faith in believing that this hike has an end. Every move seemed to be some kind of movement to survive – to reach the village at the end of the valley where a thing called car or mini bus would wait for us ( – exclusively for us, with a bus-steward serving my favorite meal, giving massages and so on …).

The monotonous steps called walking, putting one food in front of the other and trying to move on to reach something were so painful. To forget about the pain my brain took me to a different trip: let’s call this trip “mind trip”. I travelled back in time to the Second World War where a lot of people had to work really hard in forced labor camps. I just could not imagine how their body would have worked for such a long time at its limit. I felt their pain and I felt pretty sad for all that what had happened. Looking around, I saw the Alpamayo which is one of the most beautiful mountains, officially. Even this could not stimulate any joy – I lost balance, tumbled and fell more or less 200m down to the river. My head hit a huge rock, I was bleeding but the water was so cold that I could hardly feel the warmth of the blood. The river would have taken me easier to the village than hiking BUT I did not lose balance, I did not tumble and though, I did not fall in the river. Each of the Peruvian professional walkers (guides, mule owners and chefs) told me something different about the time left to reach the village. It did not motivate me anymore – I should have hired a donkey instead of walking about 50km in 3 days from 3200m to 4750m and back down to 3250m with 12kg on my back. (This is no joke: we really saw a group of tourists that hired a whole army of Peruvians to bring up their stuff including their wheeled bags!!! – I would call this ‘decadent’ or shorter: ‘who do you think you are????’)

I started my personal mantra (I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die – and so on) and it kind of helped: I continued without stops. I told my buddies incase of dying to put a smile on my face to remind this world that I was an all over happy person!

PS: @mum: there was no single minute where I could have died – I swear!!!

PPS: @everyone else: it was a fucking hard hike for me and it let me suffer quite a while after coming back to Huaraz BUT things will get better and my life continues in a joyful way!!! (I swear as well)

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2 Responses to Joy and Pain

  1. Frederic says:

    Hey Tanja,
    If I would have known which pain you felt, I would habe suggested to make a stop in that paradise valley, cooking a fine menu with potatoes, enjoying the beautiful view to Alpemayo….relaxing and doing nothing…but we didn’t…why?…may be this is a typical european habit. We always have to get through with something? …but next time, I assure, we won’t get through…we will stop….

  2. tanjakohn says:

    Hej Fred, you know I love exaggerating things 😉 I loved the hike and I do not regret having done it. Anyway, we should have done the hike in 4 days instead of 3 … I hope there is a next time hiking together / I enjoyed it a lot!!!

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