What Climbing An Active Volcano Taught Me

I recently climbed an active volcano in the South of Chile, without any physical preparation whatsoever.  I am not a hiker, and the last time I climbed that volcano was 12 years ago!

I remember waking up that morning at 5am and thinking to myself “you can still back out! There's no way you'll pull this off…” I had somehow turned into my number one naysayer.

I decided not to listen to that inner voice and got up. Long story short, I only slept 4 hours that night, and then went on to climb 1.8 kilometers, which a little over a mile, of the volcano.

Now, consider that we didn't climb it in a straight line, so it was way more than that. I didn't get to calculate exactly how much we walked, but it must've been at least 5 times the height of the volcano. The top of the volcano is 2,800 meters above sea level,  and we took a lift until we reached 1,000 meters high and did the rest by foot, carrying a heavy backpack and wearing super heavy snow boots.

Halfway there! You can see the smoke coming out from the crater

Each step was like lifting weights! The first 30 minutes in I wanted to quit. My heart was beating really fast, reminding me that I need to do more cardio when I'm home! I watched everyone else pass me by, walking faster than I, as if they were used to doing that every day. That's when I realized how bad my physical state actually is. Remember, skinny or fit isn't a synonym of being healthy. And while I consider myself a healthy person, on the exercise front, I have plenty of room for improvement.

I even started hearing a ringing in my ear at some point, which made me think for a split second that I was going to faint. My inner naysayer was delighted, because it was building a strong case for me to quit.

Luckily I reminded myself that I had faced challenges like that before, and not only that, I had climbed that very same volcano before too. I remembered how good it felt to reach the top all those years ago, and how much better it would feel now, because I'm a different person now than I was before.

So, I stood up, and kept on walking. Taking way more breaks than everyone else, I managed to complete the task. After about 7 hours, I had made it to the top, where I could smell the smoke and see the lava. And although the smell wasn't great, I mean, a very nasty gas was coming out of the crater, it felt like pepper gas, somehow the smell was sweeter than ever.

At the top! We had to put on a special suit to protect ourselves and be able to slide down!

Despite being the slowest in my group, and our tour guide being slightly pushy with me, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment.


I had defied the odds and set a new standard for myself. After getting to the top, it was all downhill from there, literally. Yes, we got to slide all the way down sitting on a little plastic board!

It was amazing, and it couldn't have been a better pay off. The lesson? You can win any argument with your inner naysayer if you remember to also be your own biggest fan.

Don't ever put limits to yourself.  Now, it may have been a little risky on my health, given that I hardly ever do cardio and put myself under those circumstances. So I'm not saying to do something stupid!

What I'm trying to say is that when you seem to be the number one person to bring yourself down, you also need to be the number one person to pick yourself back up, in any challenge you face in life.

And always remind yourself that you've faced challenges before, it's not the first time! Maybe the circumstances are new, but the

Bring out your inner warrior and anything will be possible. I hope this little story has brought some inspiration to you! Be sure to leave me a comment and share this post with anyone who may get inspiration from this story 🙂

One thought on “What Climbing An Active Volcano Taught Me

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