Lessons from a Nature Reserve

Hello Travellers and welcome back

This January I decided to take a short trip down to Umhlanga Rocks in Kwazulu-Natal South Africa. I took my daughters, mom and sister along.

On our second day in Umhlanga, I suggested we go for a hike at the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve. It would be a short hike since we had a five year old and two year old with us.

I’m a city girl through and through but I like to experience nature, it calms my soul. My mom and sister on the other hand were not impressed by my suggestion.

Firstly they had the wrong clothes on for a hike. My mom being the main culprit, dressed in white pants, a pink top and pink flip flops.

As we drove into the nature reserve and parked the car, we were invited in by some monkeys that were playing around the gate.

This is where the complaints started. “You see, there are monkeys here, what are we even doing here?”.

I persisted and we eventually got out of the car and started heading towards the beginning of the trail.

In that moment, fear took over not in me because i had been to this Nature reserve before, but in my family. Venturing into the unknown and not knowing what lies in between the trees and what was the reward for this at the end of the day.

Their fear started to cast doubt in my mind as well, even through I knew there was nothing to be scared of because after all, I had been there before.

Walking into the Nature reserve

We eventually started walking towards the trail and came across a security guard. We asked him which way to go since I had forgotten the exact trail we had taken the last time I was there.

His input didn’t help much. In fact we almost turned around after speaking to him. The trail we wanted was the shortest trail that would lead us to the beach. He eventually pointed us to one trail but was uncertain.

We started walking, fear of the unknown taking over. What if we get lost? The doubts of the group got to me and I eventually got to me and I suggested that we turn around.

My mom after hearing that the journey will end at beach, persuaded us to just go. So we walked through the trail and we came across a split path and had to decide which way to go? The left or the right.

Some debate ensued about where each one could possibly lead us. Much like life, we were at a crossroad not knowing where either path would lead us.

We chose the trial on the left, and fortunately it was the trial we wanted that lead us to the beach in no time. Everyone’s spirits lifted at this point because fears were conquered and the reward was in site.

Eventually reaching the beach

Now you are probably wondering why I’m telling you this right? When I reflected in this short hiking trip (I’m not sure it actually qualifies as a trip actually, but whatever), I thought at how there were so many life lessons to learn. I’ve mentioned five of them for you:

1. Fear can prevent you from progressing in life. Fear is a limiting emotion. It creates doubt in our abilities to thrive and persevere. We then become paralyzed and frustrated and end up doing nothing. Conquering fears one of the keys to breakthroughs.

2. Comfort zones limit growth. Because my mom and sister were eventually forced out of their comfort zones they realized that they can conquer their fears and actually there was nothing to be scared about. Imagine what that does to your attitude and how you tackle challenges in life. It gives you confidence that you are capable.

3. Beware of outside influences. There is some advice that will build you and some that will take you backwards. Because of the complaints from the group, I started thinking the trip was a bad idea when in fact it would be a great and rewarding experience for everyone. We almost turned around because of the “negative” voices. At the same time, my mom who was initially opposed to the idea was the one that cheered us on at the end telling us to continue because of course, she wanted to get to the beach.

4. Knowing the reward you are working towards and it’s importance to you is key to achieving it. We knew we wanted to get to the beach. Who doesn’t love the beach? If we were walking for the sake of walking, we might have turned around. If you know what you want and why you want it, passion and commitment are envoked and magic happens.

5. Take a leap of faith. If you fail, pick yourself up and try again. You don’t want to look back on your life and have regrets. When we reached the crossroad at the Nature Reserve, we took a leap of faith. Fortunately we chose the right path but if we had chosen the wrong one, well we would have found our way back to the starting point somehow. Life is too short to play it safe.

Traveling can teach you so many life lessons. You just have to sit back and reflect on what you have learnt about the situation and about yourself.

I hope next time you travel and experience something new, you take time to reflect on what you have learnt or how you have grown.



Fury friends welcoming us to the reserve
Birds nest at the entrance of the nature reserve

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