The health coach went over the mountain to see what she could see
On 9/3/2016 at 6:53 AM I successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. My Kilimanjaro trek was my most rugged experience to date (think dust covering all of my clothes and permeating several layers of my skin after no shower for 6 days and nausea inducing long-drop toilets with a malodorous pungency that alerts you to your arrival at the next campsite). What do bears and Kilimanjaro trekkers have in common? They both poop in the wilderness, or in my case, behind a rock.
While I arrived excited for, but intimated by all 5,895 meters, the trek, particularly the last push to the summit, was far more difficult than I could have imagined. The steep grade, terrain, temperature, altitude sickness (fortunately I only had mild symptoms), and the grueling 7 hour overnight preceded by 4 days of hiking all contributed to making my summit the most physically and mentally challenging endeavor I have undertaken thus far. Hiking by frozen piles of vomit and metal 'mountain friendly' stretchers and bypassing other climbers looking quite ill and defeated add to the mind games playing out in your head. It was painful.
When we finally reached the summit a surge of emotion warmed my chilled body and everyone in my group hugged and shed a few tears. The final steps to Uhuru peak (the highest point) took my breath away- both literally and figuratively! Standing on Africa's rooftop I admired the beauty surrounding me and felt empowered, albeit exhausted. I was reminded of what the human body and mind are capable of when challenged and properly nourished (by more than just food).
Over the last few years I have had many people commend my 'fearlessness' as I have signed myself up for an array of adventures. Well I am calling bullshit on fearlessness. I have heaps of fears, but I have made a conscious decision to face my fears one by one, often taking myself to uncomfortable, but transformative spaces. The final trek up Kili made my whole body tremble and I am straight up terrified that I am about to leave a super stable, moderately lucrative career at a world renowned cancer hospital to start my own business abroad. I am sure it will be messy and I will make heaps of mistakes along the way, but I am passionate about the business I am trying to build and stagnation is not an option. We are all more powerful than we think.
I have been procrastinating starting this blog and making it public because the thought of others reading my thoughts makes me squirm, but 3 days after my successful Kilimanjaro summit feels like the right time to get a move on it! Onward and upward.