“You know what the funny thing is? I had never thought about climbing when I was a kid, let alone taking a climbing photo. ”
Yun was born and raised in Guangzhou, one of the biggest cities in southern China. Growing up, even the word “snow” sounded alien to him. It was not until he moved to Boston, United States, that he was finally exposed to snow and mountains .
“I was 23, never owned a camera, never climbed before. So you might ask, what happened?”
The first two years after college were rough. Yun struggled. “I didn’t enjoy my job at all, and I would ask myself these questions: what are the next ten years going to look like? What about the rest of my life? What does life even mean to me?”
“I was immature and largely confused; I didn’t know who I was, or how to define myself.”
Yun knew he had to do something; something needed to be changed in a dramatic way. “So first I had a complete career change. But even more importantly, I began searching for the answers to those questions.”
It was 2009, possibly the most important year in Yun’s life, although he had no idea what a profound impact it would have at that time. “What is life?” It really is an open-ended question: there is no right or wrong answer.
“I had no clue what the answer might be. But I thought there was a way to find out.”
Then, when Yun finally read men struggling uphill on these magnificent peaks, battling deadly elements from the book Annapurna, for the very first time, he was emotionally triggered.
“These people just kept going and going without hesitation. Almost as if they all signed a death treaty.”
Surprisingly, at the end, they emerge victorious, with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. That was when Yun gradually realized that their struggle is the struggle of life itself: upward and onward forever.
“Life should not be about solving problems every day. I want to be able to wake up excited about the future. On the other hand, it is also about being absolutely honest with yourself. To me, it means ‘I only get to live once.’ That knowledge is what creates the focus that I bring to being alive in the first place. The urgency of accomplishment, and the need to express passion and love, now, not later.”
That was it. Yun now sees no better way to express his inspirations than through mountaineering and photography. “I have never imagine I could live life with such passion, motivation, and satisfaction.”
It might not make a whole lot of sense at first, but from now on and forward, it should be about how you want to define yourself. Not only because it is you who look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day, but also it is you who truly know how to find peace. Is it not?
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go and discover not only the outside landscape, but also the truth inside.