I just received my travel folder from the company that I am using for my Kilimanjaro trek and there were two questions in the paperwork I was completing that made me think; what was the main reason for the trek and what where my expectations. It occurred to me that these are really great questions. Somehow I have arrived at the decision to take this eleven-day or so trek to Africa’s roof. Where did it all start, how did I get to this place, and what did I really expect to get from this trip besides a brief break in Africa.
First, I think part of the goal for me is doing what is not typically done by others and going where most people do not go. Some might view this as silly but if you stop a second and think about it you will see the logic. It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you accomplish something that so few people have even ever set out to experience. I imagine that most of us remember our automobile license exam and yes this is a test of “who we are” and of what we are capable. I remember very clearly my first solo flight, my “Check ride” and of course my first flight as a licensed pilot. I remember stepping of the plane in Vilnius after the Soviets pulled out. Standing on the bow of the ship and seeing the continent of Antarctica for the first time, indescribable. Finally, it is remembering what it took to arrive at all of those locations or achievements. The sense of accomplishment is something that matters, as failure after failure can lead to memorable successes.
As a new pilot you are very cautious, you keep in mind your minimums. What weather you fly in or when you instead stay on the ground. After one hundred or more hours you test your minimums. Every hour you grow a bit more and you understand your own capabilities, the planes capabilities, and your minimums change. As a person the same is of course true. In every endeavor that we embark on we test ourselves a bit and whether we fail or succeed we learn about our capabilities and ourselves.
Ok so back to the questions:
What were my main reasons for this trek?
- A step, this is my last step before I try an Everest base camp trek via Tibet or Nepal next year.
- Challenge, this is a non-oxygen trek well above 10,000 feet
- Experience, I have learned that every experience makes me stronger and brings me closer to truth
- Exploration, of my world and the magic of the same
What are my expectations for the Kilimanjaro Trek?
- To succeed, I want to complete this; it is not automatic and will take 12 weeks of training to get to the shape that I expect to be in for the trek
- A summit photo, of course!
- To be amongst the small group of people that does this trek.
- To see the Kilimanjaro glaciers before they are gone.
- To learn more truths about my world and about my fellow inhabitants
- The impact of high altitude on a good scotch as I toast the success of the trek or toast the mountain for stopping me on the attempt (Not Likely)
- To have a story to share with my readers
- Discovery, of my world and the magic of the same
Too many times our UU politicians say we are all the same, we are all capable of the same things, and everyone needs to have the same opportunities. What is so distressing is that this is not true and we all know it. What we need to do is to embrace our differences and somehow work to bring out the best of individuals versus herding everyone to some life that we claim is predestined. When we say everyone has to go to University we do nothing more than to freeze the imagination of our youth. We need to show people that nothing is predetermined and anything is possible.
When I was sixteen, working as a dishwasher, hoping to finish high school, I always knew one thing; I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to and it was okay if I failed. If I failed it was my fault and no one else’s. I would learn from my failures and go forward and do better. With every failure comes an education and future attempts. My first time hiking up to Mt. Washington I failed. My second time I had the mountain and an experience no one could take away from me. When I failed because I was unprepared and did not give the mountain the respect it was due, I was not surrounded by doubt or naysayers. Instead, I was surrounded by friends and family that told me I could do it and the next time I did. The granite steps that I had called the giant steps became baby steps on my way to the top. Perception becomes our reality and I hope to have new truths, new realities and new minimums after the trek to the roof of Africa.
Well the problem is how do I put all of these words into the 2 lines they offered for each question?