How My Trip To Lake Mead Taught Me That It’s Definitely All About The Climb

Remember that song, “It’s The Climb” by Miley Cyrus? I’ve always loved it. My life has never been an easy one and there have been many obstacles I’ve had to overcome over the years. I grew up in a working-class household in a small town with very limited resources. I never really had much in the way of mentorship, until college, and I had to figure out the steps to improve my life through trial and error. It was an uphill battle but it’s one that has always given me a sense of pride.

I pushed my way through undergrad working at the Waffle House, four nights a week from 9pm-7am. I pushed my way through grad school washing dishes in the dining hall cafeteria. When I first started out on my own, I bounced around from coach to coach. I could list many many hurdles that I had to climb over to build my life but this article isn’t about that. LOL

There’s always gonna be another mountain

I’m always gonna wanna make it move

Always gonna be an uphill battle

Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side

It’s the climb

~Miley Cyrus

When this song first came out, it was the journey to improve my life that was invoked by the lyrics. The climb to be successful, to make my life’s dreams a reality. I never thought that one day I would hear the song and it would take on a quite literal meaning but it did.

In the winter of 2019, I secured a marking gig working at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. working experiential marking gigs was my way of exploring spaces that I didn’t have access to in my regular work in International Development. It was great because I could easily fit these gigs between my work travel schedule and they gave me a substantial source of side income.

However, one downside to these gis was that they often involved long hours of standing. This gig, in particular, had an extremely grueling schedule and I had been experiencing a lot of knee and back pain. It was so much pain that I was complaining a lot to my friends who were working with me. I kept saying, “Why did I sign up for this!” and “How did I get myself into this situation!” I’m sure I was very annoying.

Work Hard, Play Harder

Another facet of working promotional gigs that I loved was that most of the other staff members were pretty young, outgoing, and adventurous. I may not have been as physically young as they were but my spirit certainly was. I found that when it came to finding people with whom I had many social interests in common with this group of folks was my tribe in many ways.

Lying in the hospital in pain, completely unable to walk. (Howard University Hospital, November 2017)

After the show was done, the group decided to go take a hike to Lake Mead and check out the Arizona Hot Springs. I was all the way down for this. Of course, sign me up. Truthfully, when I went on this hike, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Someone said hot springs and off I went!

Arizona Hot Springs DG Speaks Travel

Some of my friends warned me not to go on the trip because they didn’t think I could make the trek but hey, there were hot springs. I wasn’t gonna miss that no matter what. Both of my friends that went were 20 years younger than me and definitely didn’t get that 20 years mattered. I had to push myself the entire day to keep up.

To get to the springs we walked for a few hours, climbing over several rock formations and it was definitely a challenge. I think I might have actually cried a little on the inside at times but I refused to give up. One, my ego would not let me allow the doubters to be correct. I had to represent for the 40+ crew after all. 😅

Two, and this was the big one, I really really really wanted to be able to say I did this. I wanted to be able to say I hiked the trail through Lake Mead to the Arizona Hot Springs.

Third, I wanted the experience of being inside the hot springs surrounded by beautiful cliffs. I could think of no better way to end my time out west and to celebrate the long week I had just endured.

It’s The Climb

I did it! It turned out to be a great day. The hot springs were marvelous and it was a grand adventure but two years later what I remember most about this trip is that I made the climb. 🏅 The springs were luxurious and the very was spectacular but when you travel as much as I do you realize that beauty and joy are all around you. The world is a magical place.

The real gift is life and these bodies that we use to navigate this life in are our most precious vehicles. Cherish your body, celebrate it, and never stop challenging it. Once you stop moving, it’s over. Never let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do and don’t be afraid to push yourself. You just might be surprised at what you can do. 🥰

There’s More to The Story

Oh, happy day! Overlooking the Hoover Dam.

That trek to the hot springs wasn’t even all we did that day. When we arrived at the lake we had already been traveling for half of the day and I had checked one major thing off my bucket list. I went to the Hoover Dam!

Hoover Dame DG Speaks

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