I love climbing things. Despite falling out of a tree and breaking my arm when I was six years old, I still find myself gravitating towards anything and everything that looks climbable. Railay beach in Thailand is considered one of the best places in the world to rock climb. With it’s stunning cliffs of marbled limestone shooting up around tranquil bays of turquoise glass—of course Kaela and I had to make a special stop to try our hand at outdoor climbing. Unfortunately, we are traveling during rainy season, and true to form, we awoke on the morning of the anticipated climb to the sound of steady showers outside our beach bungalow. We figured the climb would be cancelled but the rain wasn’t stopping anyone—apparently, inverted cliffs shield the part of the wall we were about to climb from getting too wet. Although this was our first real climb, we exuded confidence, assuring the guide we’ve done indoor climbing so we are basically seasoned veterans.
We started on a relatively easy part of the wall, with plenty of large and foot holds, and quickly scampered up to the top. The second climb, however, was twice as high, with only tiny cracks and crevices paving large sections of the vertical path. I struggled to wedge my feet into the minute indentations in the rock, desperately searching for a grip for my fingers to cling to as I mustered the energy to pull my body up another foot from the ground. Embedded in the cliff was a cave—a perfectly placed, natural reprieve, 70 feet from the ground below. It was my oasis. I let out an audible cry as I expended the last ounce of energy my shaking limbs could manage to heave myself into the welcomed cradle of rock. I sat back in the shadows of the cold stone, catching my breath and losing it at the same time to the stunning view before me. I broke out in an ear-to-ear grin, knowing I had pushed myself to my physical and mental limits to conquer the cliff below. We did four climbs that day, and although we found ourselves in many seemingly impossible positions, resolute determination triumphed over moments of self-doubt as we made it to the top each time.