Trust, something a sexual abuse survivor (sas) constantly unconsciously struggled with. Here in Longji (龍脊) I would rather walk on my own in an unknown steep mountain with a very heavy rucksack, than to follow any of those Zhuang women (壯族阿姨) who offers to provide accommodation, or show me the way and carry my rucksack to where I need to go for 30 yuan.

At first, I thought I was just stingy. Yet as I walked up the very steep stairs of an unknown route, I realised, I was more comfortable with being on an unknown route completely on my own, than to be taken by a woman who knew exactly where she was going. Somehow, constantly having to pay attention to every single step I took seemed safer than following a random Zhuang woman wherever they go. Being an sas, I instinctively want to be in control, to trust myself and only myself. Others might be experts but no, I would rather trust my ignorance than anyone else’s wisdom.

This often leaves me in lonely despair. A lonely despair I am so used to. A lonely despair that on a good day drives me to overcome whatever challenges ahead (be it meaningful or not); a lonely despair that on a bad day drives me to breakdown that I only have myself to blame.

Anyway, after about an hour and a half, a Yangzhou fried rice and a cup of lemon juice, I arrived at the hostel, having made a friend, a roommate, a companion to catch the sunrise the next day, a travel buddy for life. I am proud of myself for overcoming the challenge of making my way in an unknown mountain. See, I even gain the perks of nice food and a travel companion. Does that make the independent hike a meaningful challenge?