I had always had it in my mind that I wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m not sure why, it might have been triggered by listening to Toto’s Africa when I was young or by spectacular images of the mountain that I would see from time to time over the years.
Whatever it was, it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to climb it. I never researched it, never looked into it. In fact, if you had asked me a year ago, I would have guess that it took a day or two to climb it, that you followed a winding dirt road up the side of it and that it was relatively easy to do. That’s what I would have said a year ago.
Last fall I emailed my cousin and asked him if he felt like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with me in the spring. He said yes and the planning began. That’s when I found out how high it is and that, consequently, altitude is a factor. I also discovered that it’s not one or two days and that I would best benefit from an eight day climb.
I planned, organized and booked the trip. Then my cousin, Hugh, and I were committed. Things came up – Hugh had to change his outgoing flight so I ended up arriving in Africa a day before he did. It was a little disappointing to have to head over by myself, but it worked out fine and was a good experience for me.
My parents were worried and something my dad said to me kept playing over and over again in my head “you haven’t researched enough.” Anytime something came up, I would jokingly bring up this phrase. Luckily it remained as a joke and not prophetic
But it happened. I hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro in March and I am so proud of myself. I have accomplished something I had always dreamed about – and the accomplishment is not just the climb itself. It was making the decision, planning it and doing something unlike anything I’d done before.