After graduating college, everything was going as planned… except for my questions about where this plan even came from and if it was right for me. I liked my job. Loved my partner. Enjoyed my house. Drove a nice car. But deep-down, an uneasy feeling made me think this routine wasn’t actually supposed to be mine.
It wasn’t easy to leave what others saw as a successful life, but in 2010 I quit my job to spend a few months backpacking through the vibrant cultures and wild landscapes of South America. The jungles of Ecuador were a fascinating start to my adventure and the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia stole my heart. As I wrapped up my trip, I hoped the thirst was quenched and I could pick back up with “real life”. I started at another great job, got involved in my city, and lived a life that made me happy. But, at random times, the unease still whispered in my ear.
And so, in 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave it all behind, again. I wanted to reshape my “normal” and explore the mountains, so I temporarily committed myself to a new life in Chile. While settling into a foreign land and language was more of a challenge than a fairy tale, I tapped into new levels of motivation and fulfillment by consistently stretching my comfort zone just enough at a time. I discovered that happiness is exponential and watched it multiply as I filled my world with activities, people, and places that brought a smile to my face.
Along this bumpy road, one year turned to seven as I found a balance that felt just right. I shortened my work week by investing in longer days and spent most of my free time growing as a person and athlete in the mountains. The more I climbed, the more alive I felt and the more aware of myself I became. I started Finding North as a narrative on outdoor adventure and the journey to self-awareness.
”I got off the plane and arrived in Chile, without many expectations, but also without really being able to understand all that this country, and the experience of living away from own, had in store for me. I got here, feeling like nothing was missing from my life, that I had all I could need and want, that I was the happiest girl in the world, but I learned that "not missing anything" doesn't mean "having everything".
It's not that one life replaces the other, not at all. I've simply come to realize that there's no limit to happiness. When I thought I was the happiest girl in the world, I didn't comprehend happiness' potential.MeOn my 3rd anniversary in Chile
More than anything in the world, I wanted to catch up and recover my life just as it was before. It took a while to accept that my North and my life were no longer the same. What I needed was to slow down and reorient to my new North – in my life, in the mountains, and in my career.
All my life experiences, but especially the mountains, have allowed me to tap into an unknown level of clarity, courage, perseverance, and happiness. Feeling rooted in my path has allowed me to confidently keep my head up despite the challenges that appeared along the way.
It’s not that fear doesn’t exist, it’s about evaluating fear and making decisions based on what’s real, what’s in your head, and what to do about it.Chelsey Berg
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