This was hard. Very hard.
My first thought was to take this question, set by the fabulous guys at Holiday Gems, literally. Which picture would I choose to represent me at a photography competition? Which photo is the best one I have ever taken in terms of quality of the photography etc? Going down this route would have made this question nearly impossible to answer, so instead I approached this slightly differently. Instead I decided to go for a picture that had a story behind it, a picture that was so much more than just the image and the moment t that it captured.
So, without further a do…let me introduce you to my ‘best’ holiday photo…
Ok, so on first glance, this may not look like much but let me tell you the story that led to this photo being able to be taken in the first place.
Throwback to December 2013. I was exploring the Riviera Maya area of Mexico on my first long haul holiday with my boyfriend. Me being me, I had planned everything to make sure we got to see everything we could possibly see in the time we had, as well as scheduling in plenty of relax time, Yes, you heard that right, I scheduled relax time. I’m a compulsive planner, ok?
On one of the day trips to explore some of the Incan/Mayan ruins, we came across the pyramid of Ek Balam. This is one of the very few ruins that you can actually climb in Mexico. So, in 30 plus degree heat and insane humidity, I came face to face with the great Ek Balam pyramid. A huge, ancient structure that I was about to attempt to climb. Our our guide gave us a brief safety briefing before we commenced the climb which basically consisted of, this is dangerous, it is steep, the steps are uneven and there are no hand rails. The climb up will be tough but the climb down will be something else. He basically told us to only attempt the climb if we knew we could get back down. Basically once you take that first step, you are on your own.
Armed with my full bottle of water, sun hat and sturdy trainers, I began to take the first few steps. The first thing I noticed was how huge the gap was between each step, it was like a test of your flexibility each time! I could feel my breath quicken, not just from the hard climb but also from the ever increasing anxiety as I moved further from the ground, with nothing around me to grab onto to keep my balance/prevent me from falling.
Eventually I made it to a slight ledge a quarter of the way up, where you could take a moment to rest and catch your breath before carrying on. This seemed like a good idea to begin with, but once I had caught my breath, attempting to get down from the ledge, whilst part way up the pyramid, was rather tricky!
I took each step one at a time, trying to focus on the whole mind over matter mentality, which is very hard when you know there is a huge drop below you! Eventually I made it to the top and I was able to finally take a few deep breathes and enjoy the incredible view above the treetops. I could see for miles, with the odd ancient ruins poking through gaps in the trees. It was simply stunning and I could have stayed here for ages, had it not been for creeping anxiety that was taking over as I realised the decent was ahead.
I have to say, getting down the pyramid was 100 times worse than climbing it. Without a doubt. I was shaking as I took each step at a time, going straight down was soon found to not be an option, the individual steps were too steep to take like that, especially without a hand rail or anything to balance you. I saw a few other people seem to take a zigzag approach down, and so I followed suit and between zig zagging down and alternating between walking down and taking each step sitting down, I eventually found myself on firm ground once again.
Super proud of making it up and down, this huge, ancient pyramid in one piece.
This is why this picture, although not much on first glance, is my best holiday picture of all time.
Have you ever thought about what your picture would be? Let me know in the comments below!
*This post was a collaboration with Holiday Gems.