The Path of the Gods

The Path of the Gods

Back in October, I visited family in Piano Di Sorrento, Italy, the city from which my great-grandfather had immigrated. Before I left, I did the requisite research on everything I could possibly see and do there, and the one thing that kept popping up was this hiking path through the mountains of Amalfi. It was called “The Path of the Gods.” Naturally, I was intrigued.

I had never really hiked mountains before, but if you’re gonna do it – “The Path of the Gods” seems like a great place to start. It was named by Giustino Fortunato, who said the hiking trail took you right into the sky.

I originally planned on hiking it solo, but on a train to Sorrento, I befriended a delightful group of British girls on their way to the same place.  5 of them to be exact.  I am normally a shy dude, but the ratio was heavily in my favor on this one, so I approached them. We chatted for a bit about Naples and Pompeii, and I told them my plans to hike “The Path of the Gods” (said in a Charlton Heston voice). We exchanged information before going our separate ways, and 2 days later, we set out on the five-hour hike together. God bless the internet.

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The views were unreal. Right on the trail were giant rock formations, vineyards of grapes still wet with morning dew, and abandoned houses that looked older than my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather. There were moments I was sure I would be plunged to my death by an aggressive herd of goats winding its way down the path.

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We found a bench balanced precipitously at the edge of a long drop-off and snacked there on the lunch I had made for us (total Romeo move, I know). We chatted about English food (a lot of talk about “crisps”) and our mutual love of Breaking Bad (what culture barriers?). They told me I had a good fake British accent, and I listened in awe to two of them speaking Gaelic.

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After our picnic, we started the descent – 1000 steps down to the street level of Positano, aka the greatest stair work-out of my life.

Looking up to where we’d just come from, it was hard to believe what we had accomplished. We had conquered “The Path of the Gods.”

When I returned to the United States, I was energized with a new impulse to explore. I went to places in my hometown that I’d never visited before, and then I decided on the ultimate adventure – I would move to New York City. As much as I love my native Florida beaches, I needed a bigger “hiking ground.”

People always tell you to get out of your comfort zone. And, sure, it can be difficult when you have to consider financial limitations and busy schedules.  But I guarantee there’s something outside of your comfort zone just minutes from wherever you live.  See it.  Do it.  Go there.

It’s not the place that’s the path of the gods – it’s the journey.

Ryan is a native Florida beach bum who watches way too much television. He likes walking aimlessly, the Ninja Turtles, and anything Italian. Trying not to appear hipster at all costs (but failing). You can follow him on Twitter at @RyanTreacy!

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