That’s what I have to ask myself sometimes, when I am apprehensive or even just complacent. Today in the pouring rain, after the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees (Celcius), whilst staring at a blue lake in the Austrian Alps, I was about to say, “nah, I don’t want to swim. It’s cold. Let’s just go back.”
Then I asked myself, how many more times in my life would I be able to swim in the rain, with thunder rolling, clouds floating past, 1000m above sea level, in the Austrian Alps? It would have been stupid not to. And so I retrieved my blow-up mattress from the cabin and stood knee deep in the water, stones pressing into the soles of my feet, rain bucketing down, and thought, “OK. You have to do this.”
That’s what travelling is all about. I can be complacent too easily. I’m almost too relaxed. Maybe lazy at times. But sometimes, when the surroundings are that stunning, or the opportunity is so great, you would be an idiot to be lazy or complacent. So you have to dive right in, so to speak.
For about half an hour, in the rain, we paddled around in the lake, laughing and splashing, making a spectacle of ourselves. As B said, “we’re probably the only idiots in here now”, yet as he did, the lady who runs the guesthouse we’re staying in came down with her teenage daughter for a swim, and two more guests arrived too. In the rain, we got over the chill and realised the water was warmer than the air. The raindrops were huge; they came and went, as did the thunder and the sunshine. We risked the wellbeing of our cameras to take shots of the various kinds of light and walked back drenched, trying to deflate the mattress to fit it in the car and laughing about the mud spattered up the back of my legs.
Plenty of photos of this AMAZING place to come, we just don’t have a strong enough internet connection to upload them on anything other than Instagram for iPhone, so if you have a link to my Flickr page, you will find some there. Til then, just think of the crystal blue waters you see in travel photos of tropical islands, put that in a mountain backdrop with limestone cliffs and pine trees, add a few yachts and row boats, a smattering of tall European houses with flowers on balconies and huge silver and white clouds in the ever-changing sky, and you might begin to get an idea of what it’s like here.