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#9 - Goals, and the art of setting new ones.

We both made it. We are not, as seen in the picture at 5897m altitude, but at about 4650m just before the first refuge, but are still happy to be at such an altitude and to cope with the thin air.

Photo: Isabel Piñeiros

What is a goal? How is success defined or when is something fulfilling? This question comes up again and again for us travelers. Have we seen enough? Have we visited the most important places? What places have we not seen? Are we paying enough attention to our budget? Are we paying attention to ourselves? Time and time again we catch ourselves asking ourselves these questions.

We were on or near the Cotopaxi a few days ago. At 4650 meters, I carried Alex and together we went to our limit. For us to be able to do this at all, it took good preparation with lots of sugar, natural energy drink, coca leaves and enough time in advance at the appropriate altitude. And suddenly we find ourselves on the mountain, about 150 meters from our car. We are both very run out of energy. We've clearly reached our limit, and yet there's this quiet voice inside me asking, "Why didn't we go higher?" I briefly ask myself if I might have made it to the first refuge at just under 5000 meters without Alex. But only briefly. Because then I look over to Alex. I look down along our covered path and think about how exhausting these meters were. Each step a fight with each other in the direction of a stone on which I would like to have a photo of us. Each step a fight against the loose, steep ground, against the thin air. An individual goal, which we set for ourselves and finally reached. I ask myself the question, what is this all about? Is it about getting as high as possible? Where is the difference between 4650m and 5000m. I answer the question myself.

It's about Alex and I pushing our limits together and seeing how far we can go together as an "interabled duo".

And then I think about how we compare ourselves to others over and over again in our society. Seeing who of my friends have been where I have been, if I have achieved something that no one else has and so on and so forth... There are so many questions and thoughts that can make what you have accomplished yourself come into perspective. But we are proud of what we achieved that day. Neither of us had ever experienced anything like this. We had a fantastic view over the Cotopaxi, one day before its eruption, we saw foxes and we went to our limit.

In short, it was a great day that we experienced together with Isabel and her uncle. We met Isabel a few weeks before on TikTok. She invited us to her place in Quito, organized a fantastic accommodation and in retrospect we are very grateful for this trip and our hike together with her to 4650 meters.

The two of us, exhausted after about 50 meters of altitude, settling down on a rock. Photo: Isabel Piñeiros

What do we take with us from this really special experience? On the one hand, gratitude for all that we can experience. For the people we meet and the places we can see. At the same time we learn again and again to question our goals. To see which goals set by society are realistic and when perhaps a goal is attainable for ourselves. Everyone has his or her own limits. And it is worthwhile to look at which goals are personally realistic and noteworthy. Not everything that other people do, we also have to do. Everyone writes his or her own story and decides which successes are worth celebrating.

Some days it is already getting up and making a coffee. Sometimes it is doing the housework or going to work, university or school. Other days it's a sense of accomplishment to hike 4650 meters and write a blog post a few days later.

Be kind to yourself and set ambitious goals that you can achieve. Nothing is more frustrating than not reaching your goals all the time. When you have achieved them, reward yourself with an ice cream, a day off or just a relaxing movie night on the sofa.

We make an effort every day to set ambitious goals for ourselves, but at the same time to appreciate and celebrate what we have achieved. We hope that you often succeed in doing the same!

The Cotopaxi from the view of the hut in which we had a break after the trip on the volcano and ate something. Around the Cotopaxi there are many wild horses, as well as foxes and also some hummingbirds, for which at the hut watering with sugar water hung. Photo: Hurdle The World


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