It’s exactly a week today since I went on an adventure. After almost a year of not physically going on an adventure, I was more than happy to get a chance to see and experience nature. I am thankful that I can spend time with my sister doing something fun and challenging.
Olumo Rocks, a place I have always wanted to visit since my childhood growing up in Akure, Ondo State. So when my sister announced this was where she was going for her birthday, of course, I was happy to tag along.
I was glad to get a chance to breathe in some fresh air and to get away from the busy life that occurs when you live in a bustling city like Lagos. Abeokuta reminds me so much of my childhood home, and it felt good to be somewhere different.
It was 10 in the morning when we left the hotel and made our way to our destination. My sister wondered out loud, whether it was going to meet our expectations. You, see we have been blessed to know a lot of amazing sights in the different countries we have called home.
Yet we have also been disappointed before when a place is promoted as such a cool place. It happened when I saw Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada; I was left underwhelmed? You see Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe was terrific. Now I was judging Niagara Falls, based on my experience of Victoria Falls.
Thankfully, Olumo Rocks captivated our minds. But now I wondered how I was going to get to the top. It looked so insurmountable, as it stood in all its glory, the way it has stood for thousands of years. Maybe if I were a lot fitter, I would have had more confidence. But today my confidence was shaky at best. I was still recovering from a cough, but I knew I had to do it.
The first part of the journey was fantastic as we climbed the steps and then got to the place where the Egba people had hidden during those years when their warriors went to war. We had a tour guide who showed us things and talked to us about the history. I was so into it; I was answering as if I had gone on the tour before. I love history, especially when you can see pictures and artefacts of ancient times.
Suddenly, we came to the ancient path, and I knew I was in deep trouble.
“I’m not afraid of heights, but the idea of falling from them, well, that I’m afraid of.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton
You see heights, and I do not go together. Ever since I was a child, I have had this intense fear of heights, otherwise known as Acrophobia. I also have a fear of falling as well. Together these fears make things challenging for me. Yet it has never stopped me from scaling through those cliffs and caves, and from getting to the top. But the process takes a lot of effort on my part and those who journey with me. I get so panicked, the higher I climb and the further away I am from solid ground. My mind dreams up all these negative scenarios of me losing my grip and falling into space. Yet I don’t allow myself to stay long in those feelings.
I can hear my sister and the tour guide, Ibrahim as they tell me that I can do it, that I need to keep moving, and then they offer me their hands to hold as I jump from one rock to the next. It takes encouragement from others and myself. Then I begin to create more positive scenarios, and all I say to myself is you can do it, take one more step.
Then I remember that I climbed Mt Mumpu in Zambia at age 15. That was far more dangerous, and yet I had climbed it. The thought of past victories gingers me, and I push myself to keep moving until at last, I get to the very top of the mountain.
As I look around and take in the beautiful scenery, I am relieved and proud at the same time. At first, I am still afraid to get to the edge; the fear of falling is deep within me. But as I help my sister take pictures, I slowly relax and get the hang of being at the top.
I am glad I did not give in to my fears, and now I get to enjoy this moment with my sister. But more importantly, there is more confidence in my steps as I leave Olumo Rock.