Friday, 16 March 2012

Adventurous? Me??

One more night and I am going to stare at the stars, sitting in front of a mountain hut. How comes?
My follow-up project after the Filipinas in Vienna is a project on mountain rescue-teams. I will join a team this weekend and they invited me to stay over night, at 1500m in a tiny hut. (right here I would need an emoticon clenching the teeth and grinning in an insane way). No water, we will melt the snow in front of the hut. No buffet, no privacy, definitely no shower.
Mr Paula smiles and says "Great! Think of it as an adventure! "
I shrug my shoulders and say "I don't fancy adventures."

Wednesday I got the news that I won't return to the inn at the foot of the mountain in the evening but stay up on the mountain over night. Since then I've been reflecting on my approach, the so-not-adventurous approach. My new skis resting in the middle of the living room did nothing to calm my nerves. Cats would love it around here tonight, I am going to calm myself with valerian. (makes cats crazy!)

What is it?
I mean 1500m is not really a scary altitude. I have spent weeks at 1800m not long ago.

The tour is less stressful than all the tours we did over the past two years.

I will be in best company: the mountain rescue team is at my side.

It will be sunny, blue skies, warm and stay like that until sunday evening. No winter storms to fear.

What is it that makes me nervous?

First and foremost, I go on this trip on my own. No Mr Paula included. After 12 years of twosomeness, it feels uncomfortable to do this trip on my own, even when someone will pick me up tomorrow morning and be my company until we arrive at the hut.

Second, my absolutely irrational fear to starve overnight. It has always been like that. I remember New Year's Eve-Parties with food that would have lasted for 3 parties times 2. My mother used to say "You won't starve at New Year's Eve!"
I will have to carry all the food I will need for 30 hours up that mountain. Plus gifts (I don't want to arrive without a gift, chocolate and cookies should please everyone up there), toothbrush, one shirt for the next day, slippers for the hut and the whole recording equipment.
The equipment for a 4 day skiing-trip: left and right: Mrs Paula, middle: Mr. Paula.
Not pictured: the backbag with all the foods, drinks and rescue-avalanche-set.
All these suitcases and bags are going to stay here, I will leave with nothing but a mere backbag.

Which leads to third: this isn't just a trip but also work. I am usually quite nervous before leaving the city for interviews, because a lot depends on those interviews. I mean, I am doing a whole trip just to do some interviews. (which is not exactly true this time)

Which leads to forth: the whole new experience.
The last time I've slept in a mountain hut with no privacy in a communal room was in 1988, on a field trip with my schoolmates. Since then inns, hotels and hostels with private rooms have been our favourite places to sleep.

A nice place to wake up, the room comes with a view - Grand Hotel Panhans at the Semmering

Mr Paula and I decided to repeat the ski-mountaineering course earlier this year, just because the advanced course comes with a night at a mountain hut instead of the inn.

I feel like entering a new level, the next level. And at the same time I am aware that this is something thousands of people do in Austria and all over the world: weekend after weekend: sleeping in mountain huts. Well, I must take into consideration that I am the Princess and the Pea and you know that the Princess needs. A good night's rest.
This is the reason we sticked with the beginners course
(the advanced course stays at mountain huts over night)
Inside the building, you find a private hot shower, a soft and cozy bed and continental breakfast.

What a life! Without adventures. Because the lack of sleep might cause a migraine. Because the company might get on my nerves. Because, because ... Yes, I am not even 40 and I wish my life to be more boring than the life of an average inhabitant of a nursing home.

Time for a change!
This is where I am going to sleep. (summer view)
In winter it looks like this:
I had the feeling, that 2012 would be the year where ideas were to be transformed into realities. I have no idea where this comes from (ok, it was me who suggested to do the portrait of the rescue team at their work-place, up in the mountain). One thing I realised while reflecting upon the challenge ahead is how the course (the one Mr Paula and I repeated earlier this year, the one that had exerted my last year) really had extended my boundaries. Last year I still felt overexerted after some weekends. This year it feels as if I can bear the exertion much better than last year. A 3 hour hike on a saturday afternoon used to wear me out. Last weekend I felt so fresh after the 3 hour hike up and around the Kahlenberg, I was actually surprised.

The Schneeberg is my Mount Fuji so to say. It stands close to Vienna, surrounded by plains and it's mountain top is covered with snow from lets say late September - late April. It is beautiful! I always love the sight when we drive past this mountain on the highway, heading south. And tomorrow, I am actually going to walk up that mountain. Not on the top, but still. I have tons of respect for that mountain. The mountain is also very dangerous, that's why the rescue team is there - because accidents happen on a regular basis. I might just stay at the hut and see what happens, I might go for a small tour, after having recorded all the interviews.

I guess I wanted to write this down to give you the picture, because the picture you might have had before, the one of a woman keen on adventures, is not me. I am the queen of routines, the Princess and the Pea! I love to visit the same places over and over again, Carinthia, Attersee (Macs, you are going to love that link!), Frein.

I am aware I must sound silly, having hiked up so many mountains in the past, me behaving as if I were to jump from a capsule from the stratosphere or to do a similar adventurous project. I can assure you, I am as surprised as you, how a small adventure like this can actually frighten me.

This was supposed to be the weekend for ironing (one week from today I will already be in Sicily!). Now it is going to be the weekend of the unexpected. I must say, living in a relationship for over a decade and working at the same workplaces for years does NOT enhance spontaneity.

Realising how this small adventure already stresses me, I can only tell you, there is no more time to waste! Time for adventures. If I don't start moving today, I am never going to start moving and that's it, forever. And by moving I am not talking about my legs, but my spirit! (However, it is comforting to know the legs have been prepared to support the rest.) Could this all be the backlash of a year under the sign of Staycation?

In case you wonder why I am going if I don't want to: I want to be the person that wants to go. Because I know it is going to be an adventure I will never forget and that I can do it.
Time to pack my backbag, unload the pictures from the cam and throw in some valerian.

See you next monday!

PS: Tracy, this is inside the church:


PPS: looking at the first photo, Schneeberg somehow reminds me of Mount Fuji!

PPPS: to admit fifth: I want to go to bed when I want and not when everybody else goes to bed. Yes, speaking of the Princess ...Link


  1. Paula
    You could be describing m! I am adventurous but like my own space particularly in the evening . Good luck for the weekend & I look forward to hearing about your adventures


  2. It is certainly an adventure and an amazing opportunitiy but I also love how openly you spoke about your fears and reservations regarding solitude, being away from Mr. P and the complete lack of privacy. All valid reasons for feeling uncomfortable.
    Despite that, I wish you a great weekend and may the interviewing go fantastic!

  3. Ah! I completely got you wrong!

    Hmmm... I suppose I overlooked the fact that this isn't a vacation and that you are working at the same time as "surviving in the mountains" which makes things a little complicated :) In university, I loved the geology field trips except when it was part of a graded exercise. I get so nervous and tense, because what if I miss an important rock feature or incorrectly interpret one or drawing my map incorrectly.

    Anyway, good luck! Bring extra batteries if you're using a voice recorder!

  4. Lucky us. You have all the danger, we just get great good pictures after!

  5. Jo, thank you for commenting. I like it, when I make myself clear and meet other people who can relate to what I write here. So, thank you!

    coffeeaddict, Mr Paula (as you noticed, who plays a huge part) could name all the reasons, that would cause stress for me (people snoring, no sanitary fittings at all (which means you melted snow - actually quite dirty snow, since it is a week old) and even drink it and many reasons more, the constant company including the noise level but he forgot one reason: himself. How stressful it can be to go through uncertain events on your own. In the end he is sure, that being alone, by myself among foreigners, played a huge role why it all turned out to be a success, also because I had noone at my side to complain to. :-D

    Lisa, the pictures are on their way. It seems I am lucky, too. It was no bad experience at all! (ok, lets see how my body will cope with the unsanitary-sanitary fittings over the next days)

  6. Tracy, it went fine! I tried to capture as many moments as possible and of course it is a pitty I could not just sit there and enjoy everthing per se but listen to what they had to say when they talked to each other "through the ears of the (radio)editor". In the end they saw me as the nerd and I behaved like one (whoever approached the hut, whenever something happend, I was there, pointing my recording device in their direction and - which is really akward - did not say a word. Because everyone who knows me knows I like to talk. But not when I am recording sounds or other people talking. :-)

  7. >>This was supposed to be the weekend for ironing (one week from today I will already be in Sicily!). Now it is going to be the weekend of the unexpected. I must say, living in a relationship for over a decade and working at the same workplaces for years does NOT enhance spontaneity.

    You slay me. And I hear you! Trust me when I say you are a lot more adventurous than you give yourself credit for being. [I like thinking of it that way vs, "If she thinks she's boring, I must be comatose."

  8. Vix, I have to pass this back to you: all the renovation and DIY you did in and around your house outdos all kinds of activities around here. :-)
    No wonder you feel comatose, after all the painting etc I would probably fall into coma.
    I was so proud of having carried my skis and shoes down into the basement on my own since Mr Paula was away when I returned back home yesterday. He uses to carry the equipment when we arrive. The adventure has many facettes and I like all of them.