The crushing of gravel by feet, the whispering of the trees. The caressing of the sun on your cheeks, the warm hug of semi-humid air. The ambient laughing of a kookaburra, the cheerful exhilaration of pleasant company. A 60-degree incline loomed ahead of me, in which each foot rhythmically planted into each crevice of the rocky wall, accompanied by regular panting. As I turned back, the scintillating landscape of Melbourne lay before my eyes. Despite physically being out of breath, it was emotionally breathtaking. A luscious carpet of greenery rolled into the horizon. Skyscrapers of the Central Business District seemed to grab at the sky, accompanied by the vastness of the adjacent Port Phillip bay. Captured in this view, lay the bustling livelihoods of 5 million people. The heartbeat of Melbourne portrayed in a snapshot of time.

Yet, it was not the picturesque scene that seemed most significant. As I looked above to the rocky incline as well as below, I was surrounded by the figures of friends I hold dear. The fact that we struggled with the 60-degree incline together seemed to make things more bearable, more pleasurable even.

Hiking, in and of itself is a great activity. Marvelling in God’s creation in a solitary manner can be certainly awe-inspiring. Yet for me, it is the icing of the cake when one can enjoy God’s creation in the company of those one cherishes. It is hard to beat in terms of finding an activity to get to know one another organically. It isn’t called the peripatetic school, or “walking school” by Aristotle for nothing.

In getting to know others, one discovers different philosophies, values, and thoughts of life, as well as the many experiences that the other person has gone through in constituting how they think and what is of value to them. In many regards, I enjoy talking to others who have experienced an entirely different culture to mine. By default, having vast differences in experience naturally results in different ways of thinking, and hence different ways of navigating through life. When exploring one’s differences in conversation often brings to question our own modes and models of viewing the world, providing us with the opportunity to potentially revise and/or refine them.

Having migrated to Australia about 10 years ago, roughly half of my life has been spent in Malaysia and half my life here in Australia. To a degree, I have experienced a fair share of eastern, as well as western modes of thinking. In this ‘tipping point’ in my life, with a foot in each door, I feel I do not belong in Malaysia, nor Australia. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as I have the unique opportunity of being able to draw the best of both worlds. In this regard, it is important to continue to explore other cultures and to deepen one’s roots in one’s own culture – such that one may have broader horizons to think differently. To have a horizon that is not limited to the city of Melbourne, but horizons that extend to the ends of the earth.