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The Road Not Taken

Updated: May 17, 2020

Reading through Lita's story reminded me of my favourite poem, which I first read at around the age of 9 or 10. The title of which I have used for this story and the poem is included in the pictures. I hope Lita's story is as much a blessing to you as it was to me.

My initial reaction after adding Lita on Facebook and seeing her posts was one of very deep admiration and emotion. Maybe because I'm naturally, unbelievably emotional and everything and anything moves me, but also because I realise just how much it takes, for us women, to get into the habit of doing the things we love. Things which build us up and fills us with joy. Things we should be doing unapologetically, but find ourselves constantly putting off, to make everyone else around us happy. As a result, we often become a shell of what we once were. Life tends to become cumbersome and we go through the motions each day because love and obligation drives us. However through all this, we will cross paths with certain women who will be a beautiful, constant reminder that "LIFE IS FOR LIVING" and your life is no exception.

Lita is one such woman. A powerhouse. A force to be reckoned with. She has mastered the art of doing something which undoubtedly fills her cup and brings her joy. Walking/Trekking or hiking, whatever you like to call it, Lita does them all. I found myself living vicariously watching videos and pictures from her walks. The beauty and serenity of being one with nature in misty conditions, watching a blanket of green or seeing the vastness of the ocean has to be one of the most priceless gifts you could give yourself. On top of this, just the sheer endurance, mental and physical strength Lita possesses, to reach some of the places she's walked, is astounding . Lita is originally from Rotuma, but born and raised in Suva. Lita is the eldest of 3. She is married with 5 children. The eldest who is 24 and the youngest, 17. Read Litas story, in her own words, below. A beautiful story from a beautiful woman.

"I’ve always loved the outdoors. From a young child who loved climbing and playing in trees, to a teenager who didn’t mind walking up and down the hill to Wailoku for a waterfall swim or just “strolling” late at night to be at places, or back home from places...and climbing trees..So basically I cant keep still. Being a mum and wife I got into the role of exactly that! When the kids were old enough, we took them camping and nature walks a lot.

In 2012 I really neeeded some “me time”. So I went on a solo trip for a week to Lochness in Scotland, caught the national express coach, stayed in a hostel by the Loch and went exploring and hiking. What really lit the fire within me was when I went off the normal track to seek the waterfall, I found it in a place where there was no trail. I was hanging off the side of a forest hill, holding on to a broken tree. Trying to get a glimpse of it and all I could hear in the dark woods was the waterfall and weird animal noises. That was it! Hooked for life! Since then, I have been to loads! However, the well known ones are:

  1. Pen Y Fan , South Wales- I went on my own the first time in 2013 and then 3 times after because who wouldn’t! I’d go again and again

  2. Snowdon, North Wales-first with my family and second time with my son and husband and always on the Pyg Track which is quite a hard one BUT all the views are from that side of the mountain.

  3. Ben Nevis, Scotland - first time with my sinalei Leonora and than second time with my family. I tell you it was very hard the first time but I still went back for more.

  4. Scafell Pike, England- I’d like to say twice but first time we didn’t reach the summit because of bad weather and had to turn back. The second attempt the following year was a success with my husband and sons.

  5. Walked some of the Black Mountain range in South, Southwest Wales and most of the Black Mountains range east of Wales.

  6. Lots of National Trust trails and hills in UK and Ireland with Temah.

  7. Great Wall of China- awesome trek of the wall from village to town to village with Leonora. It was a lot of kilometres about 70ish km in 7 days I think. Ask Leonora. She has a better memory than me.

  8. The most challenging of these feats would have to be the 100km Jurassic coast challenge. Climbing steep cliff after cliff (about 5) after walking 30km, and then walking in the night on your own. All you can see are lights from head torches up ahead. Moving upwards and looking behind, you see loads behind but not close enough to you. Realising you have 8km left to get to rest point after already walking 50kms is just a killer! However I shut my mind and just focused on getting in my sleeping bag and sleeping.

My walks has definitely taken me far enough for me to realise I'm bonkers! My passion for it drives me. Its hard to do something when you don't have the passion for it. I don’t necessarily do it to get fit. I’m the most unfit hiker you’ll see walking out there! Huffing, puffing, nearly dying but smiling to get to where I want to get to. So I’d say it’s my soul food. It keeps me sane. It is also important for people to have something like this. Nature and walking is free therapy for everyone. Even if it’s just 20 mins walk outside, you always always feel better after. If you don’t like running (like me) just walk not race..waaaallllk!

So to that end, if there is something you want to do and you’re really passionate about doing, just do it! Whatever it may be. Everyone should try something new once or twice in their life. Those close to me had doubts about me finishing the 100km walk and even climbing Ben Nevis but because I had that burning desire in me, I just did it! “Leave no room for doubt”. It is what holds people back from doing something or trying something out. I am a very spontaneous person. I don’t plan.I just do but first things first, make sure your family is also taken care of."

(Originally posted on Women's Talanoa group on Facebook on 29 July, 2019 by Suli Tuiteci Lotawa)

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