Arcadia University's Australia study abroad program

Proving It to Yourself

I’ve always been a purpose kind of girl.

When I go on hikes, I like them to have a definite goal – even if it’s just a waterfall or a lookout point. When I read a book or watch a movie, there’d better be a reason behind every plot point. I always want things to have a point. I’m not just along for the ride.

So when I found myself clambering backward on all fours down a perilously steep dip on the red stone face of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), I found myself wondering what, exactly, was the point of this climb.

Uluru at sunset

Uluru at sunset

If you would’ve asked me six months ago, I wouldn’t even have been able to tell you what Uluru was (for those of you who don’t know, it’s the big orange rock in the middle of the Australian outback). Now, I was trying to scale this monstrosity, even though at every turn there was a reason that I shouldn’t. Even a sign at the base of the trailhead begged adventurers , one last time, to reconsider. It was a sacred site for the aboriginal people that shouldn’t be disturbed. Not to mention it was extremely dangerous.

And yet, here I was.

The rock face glowing orange beneath me, the breathtaking Australian outback spreading out as far as the eye could see, a patchwork of green bushes and bright red sand. My legs were shaking, my heart was pounding, and I had never felt so exhilarated.

Uluru (Australia)

The daunting climb

I was about to complete my climb to the top of Uluru.

It had taken me over an hour the get here — an hour of grueling climbing. Parts of the face were so steep I crawled up them on my hands and knees. More than a few times it felt like the only thing stopping me from falling to my death was the single chain strung between metal poles that was drilled into the rock face.

It was then that I realized that the point of this climb wasn’t just to make it to the top. It was so much more than that.

Climbing Uluru alone showed me my own surprising strength and courage. It also showed me that, yes, it is the journey that matters. It’s a cliché that I’ve heard thousands of times, but it never really hit home until that moment.

Yes, it’s important to have a purpose in life. To have goals and destinations in mind. But it’s equally important to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the climb.

Uluru (Australia)

The sun may have set, but you can still see the outline of Uluru.