"Why on Earth Should I Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?"
Great question. I asked that very question when I got the invite to climb in April 2016. Well, my question was actually more like, "What the heck is this Heather Thomson-person up to, asking ordinary women to climb a mountain like that?!" The reason for my question was based on my own ignorance: I didn't realize Kilimanjaro was a "walk-up" (a loose term) and didn't require any real technical climbing skills. Basically anyone can do it. So if you don't consider yourself to be a climber, you can flush that worry right down the drain now. You can do it!
Having settled that issue, why should you climb Kilimanjaro? I can think of many reasons:
- To set a fitness goal for yourself and motivate you to prepare for something epic
- To conquer the Rooftop of Africa, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world
- To go on a bonding expedition with family, friends, and/or co-workers. Think of it as team-building on steroids.
- To see and climb one of the Seven Summits (perhaps Everest Base Camp will be next???)
- To work closely with citizens of another country in a concerted effort to do one thing: reach Uhuru Peak safely.
- To sing the Jambo song
- Meet new friends, including your climbing staff and other clients
- To build your self-confidence and love for your self
- Be at one with nature and WITHOUT your freaking cell phone. Well, you can and should use the camera function, but you're going to be unplugged, 'cause there ain't much cellular service on Kilimanjaro. Forget about wifi. Trust me: This could possibly be the best thing that ever happened to you!
- You will really learn what "hakuna matata" means. As well as other words in Swahili. I for one learned at least seven Swahili words on Day 1 from Machame Gate to Machame Camp. "Mambo!" "Poa!" "VP?" And of course, the standard "pole pole," which means "slowly."
- To see the beautiful flora and fauna indigenous to Kilimanjaro. And we are happy to let you know that the flora and fauna varies depending on which route you use and where you are on the mountain. So there's never a dull moment.
- Enjoying the distinct pleasure of using a portable toilet in the middle of nowhere!
- Being able to eat as many Snickers bars as you can stand without gaining weight.
- Tasting some of the best soups that you've ever had. Trust me: The guides and chefs are professionally trained. Your palate, though oxygen deprived, will appreciate the taste stimulation. You will literally fly into camp, anticipating which soup they are gonna feed you now: Pumpkin? Creamy potato? The Badger is drooling. GIMME!
- You will learn to feel strong and invincible--not just in physical activities, but in the non-physical as well--such as in your job back home. The sense of accomplishment will be intense.
- You might just get bitten by the wanderlust bug and want to do even more. Remember, there are Seven Summits. . . And many other wonderful places to visit in Tanzania. Did you know that Lake Victoria is here?
- Hopefully you will opt for a safari after the climb, in which your sacred experience in Africa will intensify while you chill and recuperate from the rigors of the climb.
What I love most about Kilimanjaro is that the experience isn't just the actual climb itself. Rather, your experience starts at the moment you sign up. And though the experience itself will end after summiting and returning to civilization, the effects of that experience will be an intrinsic part of your being for the rest of your life. You will be forever changed after Kilimanjaro. You will never look at life the same way. It is highly likely that something big will change in your life: You may decide to retire, leave or start a relationship, changes jobs, or move somewhere else. You might take up mountain climbing as a sport. You might want to get a pet lion or cheetah (okay, please don't do that!!! Highly illegal, my friends).
And that brings me to what I love most about this company. We are Dirty Freedom Adventures. The most basic of our goals is to prepare you mentally and physically for your adventure and then actually safely execute the plan, but more than that, we want YOU to find YOUR Dirty Freedom. Everyone's will look different, and I can't wait to see all the novels that could be written based on different climbers' experiences.
So with that, I only have one more question: What are you waiting for? We all know that life is short, and the bucket list long, but do yourself a favor and move Kilimanjaro to the fore. Do something BIG in your life. Get yourself here to Africa, and let Larick and Honey Badger show you a good time.
- Badger OUT Onward and Upward!