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Steps Beyond

By: Jennifer Shepherd

Other Posts by this Author

April 8, 2019 | 50th Anniversary Stories

There are many ways to remain safe in life: car safety, internet protection, and insurance to name a few. These are important to consider and implement. However, the quest for security can insulate us from authentic living. I have found MT Sobek to be a resource that allows me to take calculated risks which are carefully planned and guided, enabling me to move beyond my perceived safe boundaries.

There was the time I found myself in Patagonia at Los Perros camp where we spent the night before summiting John Garner Pass on the Paine Circuit. As rain pelted our tent, fearful images of snow, ice, and wind bombarded my mind. Finally, breathing into that place of fear, I chose to trust our accomplished guide Sergio, who trained me to simply follow one step at a time into my as-yet unknown territory.

Fierce winds snatched my breath and the climb challenged my physical resources, yet with each step I found increasing joy and expectation. At the summit, the inexpressible view of the Grey Glacier descending from the Patagonian icecap overwhelmed my soul and flooded my being. I found within me a place that was larger than I previously had experienced. It was a powerful realization. This happened repeatedly in the spectacular scenery of Patagonia. I did not return home the same person.

This past year, on the cusp of entering my 7th decade, I signed up for the Via Dinarica in the Balkans. Once again, expert leadership nudged me beyond my comfort zone to discover more about myself and the world I inhabit.

My breath was taken away by beauty, by challenge, by testing my limits, by stepping into more of my own inner unknown. Always accompanied by skilled and accomplished guides, I found the adventure to be therapeutic.

My husband is now suggesting the Chomolhari Trek in Bhutan. I feel the old fears nibbling at my core. It must be time for another step beyond…

Jennifer Shepherd, MT Sobek Guest

MT Sobek Trips: Trekking the Paine Circuit, 2007 & Trekking the Via Dinarica, 2018