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My incredible Journey

"Jambo my kili campers..."

At 5,895 metres (or 19,341 feet) above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, the great thing about the climb is that it is non-technical.  It is suitable for any fit and able bodied person, and you can choose to climb with tour groups of varying fitness levels.

IMG 3610002It’s more of a walk than a climb really – you’re moving at a snail’s pace which allows you to preserve energy, appreciate your surroundings and become acclimatised to the high altitudes.  The guides emphasise walking “pole pole”, which translates from Swahili into “slowly, slowly”. However while anyone can do the climb, you shouldn’t underestimate it. The climb is hard.  It requires a lot of stamina and a lot of hard work; however I firmly believe that it wasn’t fitness which got me to the top!  Even though it’s a definite bonus to be physically fit before the climb – it was willpower and pride which saw me reach the summit. 

Willpower and endurance are the two most important qualities you must possess to be successful in reaching the summit.  You need to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you might be extremely deprived of oxygen and energy.  You need to be able to convince yourself that you CAN do this even as others around you might be failing.  You need to believe in yourself, and you’ll be halfway there!  If you can do that – persevere in both physically and emotionally demanding conditions – I guarantee you will reach the top, and some of the most spectacular views you have seen in your life will be waiting for you.  As they say, the hardest journeys are the most worthwhile!

Summiting Kilimanjaro was the hardest thing I have done in my life, and it’s my most proud moment.  The climb was the most physically and emotionally challenging venture I have ever undertaken.  While I wanted to jump off the mountain and just die during the more difficult parts of the climb, it was the most worthwhile experience I have had in my life, and by far my greatest accomplishment.

All of us in our group got to the top of the mountain.

I cried my eyes out when I got to the final plateau.  I collapsed into a heap and cried my heart out.  Not because I was physically wrecked and frozen I hasten to add – which I was – and not because I was an emotional wreck – which I was – but because I had achieved something so amazing, and persevered through hell to get there.  My tears were those which came with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment which I will never forget.  It’s amazing to know that you’ve achieved something which so many people are intimidated to even try, and amazing to know that you really worked hard to finally be at the top.  And you really are at the top!  Nothing and no-one can ever take that feeling away from you. I am one lucky lady to have been able to experience something so amazing!

Life since being home

Life back home has been... odd. After the initial joy and excitement of being reunited with my family and my pets finally wore off I've been left feeling mildly depressed. If I'm honest, I've been using this blog as an excuse to extend the experience for as long as possible. When I hit the 'post' button in a few minutes time, it'll finally all be over... Climbing Kilimanjaro was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but it was also the most rewarding. People told me that it would change my life and they've been proved right. All I want to do now is have adventures, climb mountains and make new friends. Real life feels mundane in comparison and I want to push myself even further next time. I miss the sense of adventure, I miss the comradeship and I even miss the thermarest! I don't want Kilimanjaro to be "a once in a lifetime experience", I want it to be the start of many more life-changing experiences to come. So, just to warn you, I intend to sign up for another adventure shortly. It's currently a toss-up between Everest Base Camp and Aconcagua in the Andes. I need another goal and Soon………. and besides, what the heck am I going to do with all of this equipment?

Watch this space…

Kuaga!!!! xx

 

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