What I learned climbing Kilimanjaro…

It has taken me a while to write this post because how on earth do you put into words the experience of climbing 5895 meters to the top of the world’s highest freestanding mountain? It was at once the best and worst experience of my life. Horrendous altitude sickness, physical and mental exhaustion all faded away at the sheer exhilaration of reaching the summit and watching the sunrise on the world. It is something that I will never ever forget and it’s impact on me will be a permanent one. Here is what I discovered whilst climbing to the rooftop of Africa…

  1. The body is incredible, it can achieve things you never think it could. On summit night we set off at midnight on 2 hours sleep in -15C and we ascended over 1000 meters. 2 hours in and 5000 meters up I sat down and threw up. I had no energy I couldn’t even raise my arms to lift my water bottle to my mouth but somehow I dragged myself up the next 800 meters determined not to give up. And I survived. I may have come back down with a killer headache, numb legs and completely exhausted but my god my body is resilient. I now (and to those who know me this will come as a shock) go running for fun! Because after climbing a mountain a little run through the park is child’s play! 
  2. Running showers and working toliets are the best luxury and I will never ever take them for granted again. After 7 days of washing in a small bowl of lukewarm water and going to the toilet either behind a rock or in a toilet tent I cannot emphasise enough how much I love my shower and toilet!
  3. I am strong. This feeling comes and goes, but whenever I’m having a down moment I have to tell myself I climbed a giant ass mountain I can deal with a silly boy taking advantage of me or a horrible customer at work yelling at me that I ruined their day with cold food. I can achieve incredible things if I want and that’s what I need to hold on to. 
  4. The human spirit is incredible. Our group were climbing with charity challenge we all had stories, had all faced struggles in life and been broken, and we were all dragging ourselves up this mountain for a reason. We were all massively unprepared, a little undertrained and all hit with altitude sickness and other ailments along the way. But we never let it get us down we sang we danced and my god did we laugh. It turns out you can get through pretty much anything with a bit of laughter.  
  5. Never give up on your dreams. (The big one!) I’ve dreamt about climbing Kilimanjaro for so many years now and had the whole trip planned for a good 5 years before I took any steps to booking it, and whilst it may have been horribly tough and at times I wondered what the hell I was doing I cannot describe how happy I am that I did it. I am an expert at wanting to do something or wanting something and not having the courage to chase it, the biggest lesson I learnt is simply to be brave. Go after what you want, life is short and it might not work out but it might just and it could be amazing! 

Life is not quite as I thought it would be…

Last summer I thought I had everything figured out. I remember floating through the airport on my way to a weekend in Stockholm with my uni friends thinking my god life is good! I’d just signed a contract for a small flat in London with my boyfriend, I’d just been offered a promotion at work which meant my very first salaried job! Fine it wasn’t my dream job but being promoted to manager in the restaurant I’d worked at for almost 2 years (minus a couple of months where I disappeared to Australia) and had come to love was seriously exciting. 

Fast forward a year and the jobs lost some of its glitter, differences in the management team and a upcoming change of owner has put a dampener on everyone and everything. The boyfriend I broke up with and whilst is for the best it’s a little gutting to realise I’m back to the start all over again and with 30 inching closer and closer my dreams of a perfect wedding and babies seem to be slipping further and further away. And the flat well I’ve struggled on just about maintaining rent and bills on my own but with the contract ending soon and my financial situation I’ll soon have to move everything out of my perfect cosy little home and start again. 

In summary I have no boyfriend, no home, a job that’s rapidly losing its shine and an alarmingly low bank balance. Life at 26 is not all I believed it would be. 

Don’t get me wrong there are so many positives about my life I have great friends, some amazing colleagues, I’m healthy, relatively happy and I live in London (which is, in my opinion, the best city in the world)! 

I guess what I’m trying to say is life’s great but it’s not what I expected, one minute you’re on top of the world the next you’re crying into your cereal. So I’ve taken a step back, and I guess it’s time to start over again. And that’s what this blog is all about figuring out how to be a grownup in a weird weird world!