Im Ryan Mazure! I am an electrician usually, but for the last 8 years I’ve taken 3-6 months off each year to do what is really important to me. I love to be in the mountains and live quite simply for the most part i.e I don’t have too much stuff.
My most recent adventure was climbing 7 of Javas 3000m plus volcanoes solo and in 9 days.
In 2011, after finishing my apprenticeship, my friend Scott and I went to Sumatra, Indonesia to climb volcanoes. After that trip I had this dream to buy a car in Banda Aceh, furthest major city in the west of Indonesia and head east to Papua, climbing all the 3000m volcanoes along the way. As many of us know, life gets in the way of these dreams. We grow older and they seem more out of the reach. I needed to prove that at 31, there is no way that you should give up on your dreams. Being married for 3 years I may not be able to say “ seeya later sweetheart I’m off for 5 months to go climb mountains” but instead I can take short chunks of 10 days or 2 weeks and that way it can happen.
When I started this adventure I knew I would be outside the comfort zone. I hadn’t been on any expedition like this since 2014 so it felt kind of odd. The first night I remember being cold alone in my tent and thinking what am I doing? I felt down and like this wasn’t the right thing to be doing. It wasn’t until I reached the first summit as the sun rose that it all made sense.
I learnt that you need to give things a chance. I could have quit those first days but after day 4 my body wasn’t sore any more. I was used to getting up at 1am and I knew how many metres per hour my body could climb so I could make it for sunrise in time for every mountain.
I also learnt to trust my body. The whole goal of this trip was pretty much to not get sick. If I could do that then I knew id make it. I walked very slowly, never let myself ever get out of breath and just made sure to eat a huge meal soon as I was in camp and back down the mountain.
I’m gonna be honest and say this wasn’t all a happy experience. It’s not like an easy one hour walk in the forest. It was hard! Early starts, being alone, being tired, being hungry, dehydrated but without these things I could never have accomplished the goal. They say the best things in life are difficult and that’s totally true.
The other great thing was that on every mountain there was absolutely no phone signal. I just had the GPS tracker and that was it. It’s a good experience to be away from your phone for extended periods of time and hiking alone, it lets your mind run wild with ideas and things that you may want to do.
Being in nature is magical. There is nothing like the sound of nothing, no cars just the wind in the trees. You’re away from all distractions and you have no outside stimuli so you can think without being influenced. This is hugely important to figuring out what you want in life and why you want it. Sometimes, if not most times we do things from external motivation not internal.
The hardest thing certainly wasn’t the climbing. It was figuring out how to get to the next destination, what to bring for food, where to sleep that night. There was a lot of organising to be done and in the end the only thing I regret was taking those terrible buses. Never take buses in Indonesia, spend the extra money for a flight or train!
I’m usually very positive and everything is freaking awesome, but this trip knocked me. Travelling in a culture that you can’t get used to it is hard. I’ve spent a lot of time in Indonesia and muslim Indonesia is just overwhelming. Almost to the point where I’ve wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. To travel 100kms may take you 5 or more hours. You may have to hold on before the toilet for hours, the AC might break and no one cares, they just carry on as if nothing has happened. I’ve certainly gotten better at just letting things go but frustration of travelling this country is real.
I was comfortable in the months before. This trip was hard for me but I know that to reach the most beautiful volcano summits you have to accept everything. I saw 3 foreigners in 10 days, spoke only Indonesian and being in a muslim area the culture shock never goes away, even after spending more than 6 months in muslim Indonesia. It was huge ups and downs. When I reached almost all the summits I was leaping with joy and had the biggest smile because I really couldn’t believe where I was. Then 5 hours later id be on a bus, crammed. It would stop every 15 minutes to pick up people and I was on there for 7 hours. I was thinking Im going mental here. What am I doing. Then the cycle would start again, huge highs in the mountains and depressive mood between.
MY ADVENTURE ESSENTIALS ARE
For gear a GPS with an altimeter. Good clothes for the type of trip. Maps.me app so you don’t get lost. A positive attitude even in the darkest times.
I WANT TO GIFT YOU THIS PIECE OF ADVICE
Adventuring is best as a shared experience with friends but sometimes it isn’t possible. In my case not many friends would want to take off 10 days and go climb volcanoes so sometimes you have to go alone. The biggest thing is that when you really want something don’t be afraid to go alone. I’ve met SO many people who have always wanted to do something. I then ask why they haven’t done it and they say, I cant find anyone to come with me. Don’t let it hold you back from pursuing the things that light that internal fire.