“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved”

– Helen Keller


These marks symbolize the correct route

At one point during the hike, I was behind everyone, falling behind.

The Monserrat excursion was much more than a climb, it was self-development and self-testing. The climb began easy since I was energized and excited, but it all changed when I reached the mid-point of the hike. The sun beat hot, and the elevation of the mountain became steeper and more challenging. I started to notice some of my teammates falling behind so I slowed down my pace to help them out. More and more mates started falling behind and now our team was divided into two, the leading team far ahead of us; but, we were the ones taking it a step at a time. Comparing to our hike at Costa Brava, we did not have magical scenery to keep us motivated and keep going, while hiking Monserrat we looked forward to every spot of shade to rest. While hiking and staying at a pace to help my group members, I started to wonder if I would have ever gotten a chance to climb a mountain if it weren’t for this program. I never knew I was capable (both mentally and physically) of climbing a mountain and not giving up. I was not going to give up, I had strong hope and a great team to keep me motivated. While sitting in the shade resting for a few minutes, I would ask my friends if they were ok and initiated motivational talk to keep us going.

Basilica of Monestir de Montserrat, sculptures above the entrance to the Monastery

No matter how hard the hike was, I did not lose hope to complete it

When we were almost at the end of the hike, I felt defeated. I was exhausted and the hike was not over yet. I would look back to see my mates suffering from exhaustion more than I was, and would offer them water and a hand just to keep our spirits up. Finally, after reaching the end of the hike we went to the Monserrat Monastery and listened to the beautiful choir. The church was a fresh breath of air after the hectic climb, it was the most beautiful church I have yet to see.

Breathe taking view from the top by the monastery

Even though it was the correct route, it was not always as clear and easy to get through

Climbing Monserrat was one of my biggest challenges I have faced yet. It was a great experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity. Climbing was a challenge I did not expect to go through, I knew my body can go through tough situations but I never thought I was going to live the situation. Accomplishing the hike was a proud moment for myself, and I’m also very proud of everyone too. Everyone was just as tired in their own way and I am very happy with all the motivation and support that was contributed. Facing such challenge with others will bring you closer to each other in ways we do not expect. When facing the challenge together, we put aside our differences and just be there for each other’s support. Thinking back to this day, the hike was a metaphor, life gets hard and it does not slow down for you, you have to get through the tough times and suffer to have a grand outcome at the end, and it is worth every second!