The Divergent Hike

Hiking with me is not for the faint of heart.  I require some special handling.  I frequently stop to take pictures, peel off layers of clothing I never should have worn in the first place, and start in the front and end up in the back because I stopped in the middle to dry heave.  I've never actually vomited in case you're curious.

Today was no exception.  I knew it was going to be hard.  I was warned. I hydrated. Took a vitamin B, avoided coffee and yogurt (proven enemies of hiking), and poached a KIND bar from the guests (thank you).  None of it actually helped.

The first twenty minutes were fine. A lazy uphill climb. Sure.  Then we came to the steps. When the Swiss put in hillside steps it's because it's very, very steep.  I climbed and climbed. No end in sight.   I decided it was noble to bring up the rear.  I climbed on.  No step class on earth could equal this.  I stretched my bitty legs to hurdle my body up. Step by miserable step.  I get to the top. Where I spend 10 minutes covertly dry heaving wishing for a flash flood of biblical proportions that would justify climbing this hellish set of steps.  No flash flood and the group who waited patiently for the last of us, now moves on.

 The treat at the top of all those steps-it's always worth it.

I walk.  It's bearable. I get my groove back. I make small talk with two women from other places; fellow expats in various stages of grief as it relates to an international move.  One is stuck somewhere between bargaining and acceptance. The other is at acceptance.  Me? I think I moved from depression to acceptance sometime in October.

I started reading Divergent last night. The book is all about a dystopian society divided in five factions according to your inherent virtues.  Lots of hoopla around the book.  Initially, I was a bit disappointed in the writing. I don't think it's as well written as the Hunger Games but it's a decent read (however, neither are nearly as good as Life As We Knew It , in my opinion, if you are interested in books about dystopian societies and want to be scared silly with 'what ifs').  And as I was chatting with the women about international moves and what the ramifications were for families, I thought about which factions the Swiss and the US might belong.  I think the US would go straight for Dauntless but the Swiss are harder to peg...maybe like Beatrice they are also Divergent (somewhere between the Amity and Candor factions). My end thought is, an one woman put it, once you rip up that tap root and relocate, you may never quite fit anywhere again. You are now Divergent or worse, Factionless. 

The hike started it's downward slope. A long winding trail through the woods and adjacent to farmers fields. 


Two women and I stop as we reconsider taking a fairly steep slope down.  We decide to follow a different path giving our knees a break. We wind up at the car park fairly quickly.

I brought a friend so I settled to wait as she finished the proper route. As I sat on a rock sunning myself, I sent her a text telling her where I was and that I would wait.  Here is the exchange.  I think it made my whole day.

Who said hiking was boring?


  1. Ha! You would not have enjoyed Kilimanjaro is all I can say!

  2. By the way, great comparison between expats/divergents. There is definitely something to that!

  3. I shall never summit Kilimanjaro. True enough. I'm okay with that. Your book will be the closest I get. :-)

  4. Jen - not sure if you've seen it and I couldn't find you on Facebook to share there, but I finished On Writing and wrote a book review, so I thought I'd share with you since you were the one recommending it to me: I wonder if you think I hit the main themes:-)


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