The climb

Eight years ago I was living in Australia. I had a job that I was very passionate about, and I was living in a comfortable, spacious house in sunny Brisbane with my boyfriend and our two cats. Life was good... ish!

It came as a shock when my boyfriend told me he wanted to leave. I was heartbroken; it made it harder that he couldn’t really tell me why he wanted to leave. He said it just didn’t feel right for him to stay.

Couldn’t have been better timing, then, to receive an eviction notice from our landlord! They wanted to sell the house, and wanted to sell it empty.

Between packing boxes and crying about being dumped, I decided to take a stroll up a mountain. The Glasshouse Mountains are one of my favourite places in this world — sacred, safe, and familiar.

For something a little bit different, I chose to make the climb naked. I love the feeling of fresh air and sunshine on my bare skin, and I thought it would be a divine way to connect with the earth.

Mt Beerwah is the most special to me. At the time, the paths were officially closed — there had been massive storms in recent months, which had done a lot of damage to the trails. But, I felt it was nevertheless the right mountain for this climb, and the fence wasn’t hard to jump...

It was a wonderful experience.

It was afterwards that things got weird...

I put a photo from the climb on Facebook. A journalist friend asked me if he could do a story about it. I said sure, if there was nothing better to report on!

A week or so later, I got a call. A heads-up that my story was coming out on Friday, and it would be on the front page. (!!)

There are a few things that have been said to me over the years, that I’ve filed away as lines to remember. One of those was uttered on Friday morning, when I brought a couple of copies of the paper into work. My boss had thought my climb was great, but was not pleased to see that it was published. We worked together for a couple of hours in awkward silence, until he turns around and says:

“You just don’t think, do you Jessie!”

I was sent home early to consider my actions and how they could potentially affect my employer. On Monday I was asked to bring in all my work stuff, and I was let go.

March 2011 was a challenging time for me: dumped, evicted and fired.

All my plans had evaporated.

I was 24 and had no idea what to do next.

I thought I’d take a break from Australia, and go see what was happening in the northern hemisphere. Sweden was cool, I thought. I liked that place and knew people there.

I arrived in June, ready for 3 months of solo adventure. On the first day, I met my future husband. “You should come check out Helsinki,” he said casually. “I could show you around.”

Eight years ago today my mountain climbing story was published. I look back on that photo, and I’m proud that I did what I wanted and needed to do for myself.

Now it’s March 2019, and tomorrow I’m catching a ferry back to Sweden. I’ve spent 7 years in Helsinki. It’s been hard, and it’s been beautiful, and it’s changed me for the better. (I hope I’ve changed it a little bit too.) It may have come as a shock when I told my husband I wanted to leave. I think it makes it harder that I can’t really explain why I’m leaving. It just doesn’t feel right for me to stay.

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Jessie JaneComment