I just relished a Halloween movie date with my life partner and husband. Thing is we just saw Everest, based on the true story of the 1996 disaster. The film referenced Japanese climber, Yasuko Namba, second Japanese woman to complete all the seven summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. I just realized that
Kilimanjaro is one of these summits. Holy s^%$! I am going to climb one of these! After the film, in which Namba perishes on descent, I decided to have a glass of wine and reflect. Namba was not a mountaineer, in fact, she was a Fedex employee. In her spare time she climbed. She fought till the very end. I wonder what her inspiration was to climb. Was it the accomplishment, the feat of it? The pain and struggle on the body and mind? Whatever her reasons, now I am taking a look back at my 29 years and 10 months.
In this time, I am proud to say that I have moved a lot, studied, traveled, worked, loved, cried and laughed. Just in my last passport, it has an extension filled with student, tourist, and work visas. Nine (9) countries in 10 years, not including Morocco (different passport). Now starting a brand new one.
Eighteen years of my life have been dedicated to education, with two bachelor's degrees, a master’s degree, and a crap ton of debt in my name. I’ve read many good books. Two years spent in the Peace Corps living and learning in rural Morocco. I am proud to say my body is in okay shape, after the many miles I have run to maintain physical and mental health. I am a marathoner. I have been poor, and while I am not rich by American standards, my needs and some wants are met. I have hiked the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. I have watched the stars in a Masai village in Kenya with my best friend. I have some pretty amazing friends. I fell in love and married, when I didn’t think that was in the cards. I have lived and worked in East Africa. I’ve been on a cross-country trip. I can drive in a snowstorm. I have lost all of my grandparents, and many more people close to my heart, sadly a few living. So many people have inspired, housed and fed me.
In looking back I realize that the accomplishments are not as important as the process that achieving them was. I have been through so much; the good, bad and the ugly. You know what, I have no regrets, and while I have no idea what lies ahead, love will be there. I will have to continue to fight through the hardships that life throws my way. Character-building as my late grandmother used to say. I am feeling scared of Kilimanjaro today. This 19,341 foot mountain intimidates me, and I am crazy for doing this. I truly am. For some reason my fear isn’t stopping me. Difficult paths ahead aren’t stopping me. Of all my accomplishments and failures, this is what I am most proud of, my fight.