5 THINGS I LEARNED ON MY FIRST LIVE ALIVE ADVENTURE IN CHAMONIX, FRANCE
Authored by Ben Nguyen
February 11, 2019
When I first bit into a warm hot, budget-friendly french baguette, I was hooked. I carried one in my bag at all times as this that replaced my daily dose of rice. And then I met the croissant. Like a baguette, but not. It’s butterier, more delicate, much like myself. I carried a few up a mountain to a glacier (thinking it was just a flat hike day) and boy was that buttery piece of heaven worth it's weight when we arrived at the glacier. (Sorry to my gluten-free friends).
2. This World Is So BIG!
While riding the Panoramic Mont Blanc gondola, I can feel how tiny I am in comparison to the mountain and to the Earth. It's daunting. Like tiny little baby ants on ant hill. If I fell out of the mechanically locked and very secure gondola I'm sure nobody would be able to find me down below. (Oh I forgot to mention I'm also irrationally afraid of heights.)
The idea that we are tiny and the word is HUGE was even more evident at the top of the Colle del Gigante at the sweetest lunch spot off a cliff during our glacier hike. All of us, trekking in teams, tied together for safety, I realize that we are tiny specks occupying a glacier that is unphased by our presence. And yet at the same time, although we are tiny specks, I can feel that we are so powerful in our connection with each other. Our singing and laughter is echoing across the mountain range as we attempt handstands, throwing snowballs and creating friendships and bonds that are stronger than anyone can realize just by looking at our tiny specks on the mountain. So yes, the world is big, and our friendships are bigger. And these gondolas are really safe.
3. Vacation Yoga Classes Are My Favorite
Close your eyes. Wait you can't read this if you close them. Pretend you're closing your eyes and imagine the fluffiest white comforter, large enough to wrap all around you and more. Now, imagine a yoga class on the biggest patio deck surrounded by mountains outside your chalet (yes it’s yours, stay with me), taught by your favorite yoga teacher, and then getting wrapped up in that fluffy white comforter for savasana. *sigh*. Yes that was my experience. Every day while on this trip. And with lots of laughing. If you’re wondering why I wrap myself in blankets after some yoga classes, I’m reliving these moments.
4. I'm Tough! (kind of)
On the agenda, there were days where we went hiking. And I love hiking, but I’m also from flat Houston. I mean not even a hill in sight. Walking uphill was so hard. SO HARD. WALKING WAS HARD. After the first 10 minutes my legs were on fire. But I realized that everything is fine. I’M TOUGH. I do POWER yoga. I renovate my house on weekends. I don’t put sugar in my coffee. I’M TOUGH. So I kept on going. I took breaks. I laughed with my friends on this trip, and made more new friends over the bond of walking uphill. We reached the top and I jumped into Lake Blanc, an ice cold lake made of melted glacier water.
Yes It sounds ridiculous, I know I’ve proofread this article many times, and for real: WALKING UPHILL CAN BE TOUGH, AND I’M TOUGH NOW TOO (with lots of hiking friends).
5. We Are a Family
After our group became hiking friends, towards the end the trip it became evident that we were a family. Through dressing up for wine and cheese tastings, learning to cook french cuisine, overcoming our fear of heights and glacier hiking on Mont Blanc, buying baguettes and candy and shopping in town, paragliding off mountains, and family dinners where we shared stories about what we love in this world, we became family.
I save this for last because it’s the most important thing I learned on this trip. We are a Family. And I mean you, too. We share experiences all the time, waiting in line together at the grocery store, taking a yoga class next to one another, or searching through the clearance section at Target (ok maybe just me). I see life now like we’re all on the same hike, sometimes going uphill (We’re tough!), sometimes taking breaks, breaking bread (baguette) with one another, and realizing we’re all in this together, Family.
Blogging Adventurer: Ben Nguyen
Ben is a real estate entrepreneur and yoga teacher. He enjoys restoring and renovating his 1890s home, pickling, studying grocery store paper ads, and working on becoming an olympic level gymnast (still very far away).
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