Location: Dominica

As skipper of the day, you are responsible for getting people up, moving and ready to go – a difficult task when our schedule began over an hour earlier than our usual, reasonably early start time. This put me in a not so great mood, right off the bat today. But I maintained my “perma-grin” as we set off to go on an all day long hike – sandwiches were packed, hiking shoes were on, and we were shuttled off with Pancho (our guide) and his drivers. As we approached the hiking spot, I joked with Pancho that, as a Florida girl, I was probably going to be struggling – and I did. For several hours I stayed with the back of the pack and tried to complete the basic task of putting one foot in front of the other. We seemed to go up and up and up forever, on a never ending series of stairs. There was chattering ahead and behind my hiking buddy and I, but neither of us being particularly into hiking, we didn’t chat much, but when we did, it was fairly negative. The talking stopped, but as I had a more and more difficult time, the negative thoughts just kept coming. A series of diversions, such as eating eggs, boiled in the waters we passed and hot mud facials, direct from the source, broke up the arduous trip. Upon reaching the end point – the Boiling Lake – my sense of relief was quickly overwhelmed with a sense of dread – I was going to have to climb each and everyone of those stairs and cross each and every one of those rivers. But a funny thing happened during that hike back. Suddenly I was looking at those stairs that had caused me so much anguish as they lead up and up and up, and from my new perspective, they were leading down. The thought crossed my mind – isn’t it weird how just by changing my position, I’ve changed the whole situation? This got me thinking about my earlier grumblings and complaints, and how I could change my position on those. My thoughts shifted from “I don’t like this, this is upsetting me, grumble, grumble grumble” to “how do I fix this?”, “how do I start a conversation about this?”, all of which led to a much happier me and a much more pleasant end to the day. (Of course it helped that we had a birthday on board and consequently, Funfetti – Happy Birthday Melissa!)