Travel Journal: Human Connection

Travel Journal: Human Connection


Wide eyed. Breathless.


So high up above what felt like a completely different world, I stood alone.

Getting to the top tells a much different story.

I felt the ground crunch beneath my feet with each passing step. I could feel the wind pass through the trees that each rose what looked like miles above my head. The Earth was pure and the air was fresh. Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, “The world is emblematic. Parts of speech are metaphors, because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind.”. I was searching for something inside myself that I was hoping the trail within Mt. Rainier National Park could provide.


Something Swift Kick does regularly is recognize what we are grateful for. For me, I’m thankful for my family. Their unrelenting support allowed me to come to Washington and have these experiences. Luke Carey, who I’ve always looked up to and admired. Thank you for encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and connect with other travelers. I would have never learned their stories otherwise.

Frank and Holly

Here’s where it gets good. IMG_5665

On my 4 hour journey up to Tolmie Peak, I had the pleasure of meeting an older couple who were finishing up their hike for the day. The path had narrowed to a point where a small bench stood as the logical resting point for hikers to take a moment and catch their breath. This is where I found the spunky 80 year old couple preparing their final assent up their last hill.Their aura was warm and genuine. Frank and Holly were celebrating Frank’s upcoming birthday, which funny enough, is the same day as mine. Holly joked there was cake left up at peak for me when I got there. The couple was holding hands fondly remembering the family reunion they came from only a few days prior. Frank and Holly are from Oregon but have done this Washington trail many times before.

“The Peak”

I naively asked Frank and Holly if the view was worth it when I got to the top. Frank just smiled at me. He said, “The peak is great, but my favorite part is getting there”. Frank and Holly have conquered many mountains and trails in their lives and plan to hike many more while they’re still mobile. Frank went on, “If you just go for the view, then you miss everything else along the way”. I was taken aback. Before I had the chance to ask what was so great about the way up, Frank and Holly were on their feet and ready to move. They wished me luck on my quest to find a good grad school (which is a whole different challenge), and to enjoy my way up the mountain. They each gave me a hug and were on their way.IMG_5662

That was it. The conversation didn’t last longer than 20 minutes but it will be something I always cherish when I think back to my trip to Washington.

I began to think to myself about what it all meant, what I was doing here, and what my real purpose was.

My Adventure Journal

I pressed my pen to the journal paper, I thought about perspective, resilience, privilege, destiny, and what it all meant for me. I may have set out to do the hike and this trip by myself, but I learned I didn’t get here alone. #HumansNeedHumans in the best way possible. We can be the best versions of ourselves when we trust people. We love them unconditionally for who they are and not for who we want them to be, for we are incomplete ourselves. There truly is so much we can accomplish together. This whole trip I was trying to prove this was something I could do on my own. In reality, I learned less about myself individually and more about how fit in this world I’m connected to.

In life, it’s all about the process of getting to whatever peak we are trying to climb. What we learn, cherish, discover, and achieve together along the way, is what’s most important. 

I would let out an involuntary smile every 20 steps from what it felt like. I looked up at the sky and would find humor in how the universe was able to coordinate this life we all share.

What is your favorite thing to share? What moments stand out to you because of who was there? Who or what helps you remember to be the best version of you?

If you have any interest in seeing more pictures from the rest of my trip to Washington, check them out here** on my Instagram!


** Link Broken as of June/2019
Jake Ames

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