|Standing on the roof of Africa at 5895m|
I returned home to New Zealand on October 23rd after three weeks in Tanzania and a week stopover in Hong Kong. I wasn't ready to come back, my heart remained in Africa.
It was a life changing journey and I'm struggling to find the words to express how the experience affected me. There was the fact that I successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro! I did it. I climbed the world's highest free standing mountain! I made it to the roof of Africa!
That experience alone was life changing. I came down from that mountain really KNOWING who I am. I felt invincible and a deep connection with myself at my core. I have never felt so strong or so centered.
Something powerful happened to me on the night of the summit. The climb leading up to Kibo was relatively smooth and easy. The final climb before Kibo was short (just 4 hours) but tough due to the altitude rising from 4000 to 4700 meters. The first 4000 meters were a piece of cake! The only evidence of altitude was a sense of giddiness and perhaps a mild headache, but nothing major. Going up to 4700 meters was where the true effects took place. Everything was an effort and irritability was setting in. Breathing was a struggle. I drew within myself to preserve any energy I had. I took this video on day 3 when I was feeling "normal" but which I now recognize as mild giddiness.
I traveled to Africa on my own to join up with a group of others to summit Kilimanjaro together. If you've read my previous posts (see "Fun in FUNdraising"), you'll know that my year has been consumed by fundraising and training. I let my business slide. I let my friendships slide (lucky for me my friends were incredibly supportive). I was totally focused on getting myself to Africa and getting to the top of that mountain!
|Article from 2002|
My friends and clients were my main supporters. Through them I managed to raise enough to pay for the flights and the expenses for the climb. Local Kiwi businesses donated clothing and gear and gave me discounts on whatever else I needed. I pretty much needed everything. My hard work was paying off. I also had to raise $2,500 for the charity I'd be climbing with but I told them I'd have to finish my fundraising when I returned to New Zealand. The diamond ring I had hoped would sell at auction didn't go. I have to come up with a Plan B.
A generous client (who shall remain anonymous) offered me an interest free loan to cover any additional costs while I was away. I was set and very blessed to have people put so much faith in me. I have never let money stop me from following a dream and they knew that.
And now here I was living another dream, climbing a mountain that just 9 months earlier I thought was impossible.
To be continued...