I'm not exactly sure why it has taken me almost 5 months to write about my Kilimanjaro experience. Maybe it's because it's impossible to put into words everything I saw, smelt and felt in my soul; as cliché as that sounds. Never had I done anything in my life quite like conquering a summit. Never had I stretched that much out of my comfort zone. And never had I truly understood the power of the mind until my journey to Uhuru Peak.
We've all heard it before, mind over matter. But what does it mean? It's basically defined as, ones ability to use will power to overcome physical limitations.
How you physically react in situations is really all up to the mind. Once you start thinking about the lack of oxygen at 4000m altitude, how much your shoulders ache from the weight of your backpack pushing you down towards the ground, how your knees will just give out in any second, how the days of constant unfamiliarity is never ending. That's when you are actually programming your mind to believe that you cannot make it to the top. That all of these pressures can end if you just stop.
But if you flip that switch in your mind to the positive, and believe in your inner power, your determination, your greatness, the reason that you embarked on this journey, that is when you are given this sudden boost of energy, this push from within that truly guides you to your destination.
I personally had to fight this ongoing battle in my mind, with each aching step in my heavy boots, walking 8 hours a day with the voice in my head repeatedly telling me to rest. Then steps later to stop. And right after to give up. The nausea, lack of appetite, and heaviness in my lungs did not help either. The night before summit was the worst. Sleeping in five layers of clothing, in a tent 4645m up in the clouds, in -10 degrees celsius, without any electricity or heating. The struggle of waking up in the middle of the night needing to pee. Contemplating for an hour if I should find my flashlight, unzip the broken tent that would take at least 10 minutes to zip back up, put on my heavy boots, tie the laces with the numbness in my fingertips, and bear the freezing gust of wind on my face. Only then to walk (what would feel like half a marathon) to the nearest bathroom (hole in the ground) in complete darkness, leaving me breathless, frozen and exhausted. This was surely a sign to stop, to give up and turn back down.
But that's where I had my brother for support. I honestly don't think I would have made it to the peak without him. Even though I was motivating him to keep pushing to the top, he may not know this, but in fact he was the one that gave me the energy and belief in myself to keep going. When I felt that I was giving up, he would support me with his words or just his hand on my shoulder. That would be enough to help flip that switch.
I cannot say this enough. Believe that you can do it and you will. It's that simple. When you set your mind to achieve something no matter how big or small. When you put in your complete attention, focus and positive energy into that one goal, there is no other route than up. And this was the case, for my brother and I. All 7 days, 70 kilometres, and reaching to an altitude of 5895m, was worth the immense struggle, blistering pain and tears.
I urge you to try something new. Something you wouldn't normally do. Get out of your comfort zone. Beautiful lessons will be learned once you flip that switch in your mind. More importantly, you will learn to gain trust in yourself, in your ability to adapt and cope with whatever situation you put your body & soul into.
"Change your thoughts, and you will change your world"
Click here to watch our Kilimanjaro video!