For my day off today I went to Koh Yao Noi, a tiny little island just an hour or so boat ride from Phuket, and went rock climbing!! I had found this climbing shop when I went to the island for my first day off a few weeks ago, so I thought it would be a groovy idea to try and go if I got the chance. When I woke up this morning I wasn't necessarily expecting myself to follow through with the plan. For some reason I was expecting there to be all sorts of obstacles that would prevent me from ever getting there (or maybe that's what my subconscious was hoping), but of course it ended up being very easy and I made it there just after ten am, where I met my climbing guide, a Thai guy with dread locks name Dut. He sorted out all of our gear and prepared a blow up little speedy boat and we were off. "Well I guess I'm doin it!" I thought. Though I had a serious passion for bouldering for a few months last year (as some of you may remember), I haven't kept up the practice so I was utterly terrified. Not to mention I had never climbed outdoors before, so I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like or feel like. We pulled up to a little island with a huge red and brown bare rock wall, and I knew this must be it. I got off the boat and climbed up a rickety ladder to a ledge of land before the wall and gazed straight up, trying to visualize my body, my being, hanging off those rocks. Dut met me on the ledge and we sat to organize the carabeaners and cut a pineapple, to be had as a snack between climbing. We talked about the island, gibbons, his climbing history, and finally it was time to begin. He taught me how to belay so that he could climb and set up the rope, and then it was my turn. From the first step I knew it would be hard. I climbed, searching for the holds, touching all of the coral-like rock formations trying to feel for something dependable. Slowly but surely I made it up, with Dut guiding me when I couldn't figure out where to place my nervous limbs. Man it was just so hard! But all the greater the reward. As I bounced down the wall I turned my head to look out at the view from high up over the ocean, it was so unbelievably beautiful, and I felt so good!!!! We ate pineapple and hung out while I rested before trying a new route. My arms were already exhausted so I didn't make it all the way up but I still felt proud of my body and mind for making it as high as I did, certainly higher than I had ever climbed before! After climbing, Dut drove the boat to see some lagoons and rocks and we went swimming in the clear blue sea (the water felt so good after pulling my body up that wall!). So in the end it was a really great day. I am so insanely grateful that I made it to the climbing shop instead of chickening out. I think (and I hope) that I remember this day for a long long time.