Recently a young boy turned 21, and like any young boy or girl he holds the potential to his own dreams. I know of him but I have never met him. I know his parents very well. His mother had the idea of asking all her friends, who know him and have met him, to write a message for him, telling him something about life in general and sharing with him one place that they would like him to visit one day. His mother asked me too, to write to him a birthday message. This is what I wrote...
We haven’t met yet though knowing the rest of your family and having heard so much about you from your parents, I do feel I know you well enough to send you this birthday message. You are turning 21, an entire world of possibilities is opening up for you and you can be anyone you choose to be, but above all I suggest you become the best of ‘you’, because there is no one like you, never before, never again. Dream big, dream impossible and believe in them, take risks, explore your horizons and then go beyond them. If you are ever scared, face your fears and overcome them. If life ever throws you challenges, accept them as stepping stones to your summit and just step on them; therefore bigger the challenge bigger the step and faster you climb. And you are tall so this should be easy for you. Don’t ever aspire for an easy life since it is only through difficulties and adversities that we can become stronger and better.
I started climbing big mountains at 10 and wanted to climb all over the world and that quest has now taken me to 168 countries so far, to the top of the world many times and to all the highest peaks in all the continents. There is beauty and happiness everywhere since you got to discover them first within yourself and then you would find them wherever you go. If you explore the world through eyes full of curiosity and courage then the world is truly spectacular and amazing. It’s impossible for me to come up with one place that I would want you to visit one day since there are so many. Among countries my top favourites are New Zealand, Iceland and Peru. And Latin America is my most coveted continent on Earth, yet my heart and home are in the Himalaya, my climbing ground, my pilgrimage and my life.
One day I would wish you to step on the literal top of the world, summit of Mt Everest. At 8850m it is a small summit no larger than half a tennis court, yet it holds the mystery and secret to what you can achieve if you set your mind to it. Nothing is truly impossible. And perhaps I would be your companion on that day and we would do a jive there. So here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday and 21 years of exciting existence on Earth with many, many more to come. Go boldly my young friend where no one dares to go.