I am back from Tanzania now, and this might sound a bit lame…but despite being away for just a short time, this was really a life altering experience for me. Living in a way completely different from what I ever have before, and encountering people who live with very little and deal with struggles that I’ve never had to was really eye opening for me.
One of the guys I randomly met at a bar a couple nights before leaving,who had done some volunteer work in Uganda said several times “I’m blessed” I understood conceptually what he meant, but conceptually and empathetically are different, and I can now say I get it in an empathetic way. This is the first time I’ve returned from being away and feel differently….the typical has always been, go away, booze, beach and shop, see some sights, come home unchanged. I came home this time looking around my neighbourhood, and home thinking to myself “I really do have more than everything….a lot more than I actually need”
I thought about all the recreational shopping that I do, often ending up with stuff hanging in my closet that I wear once, or twice then get rid of to make room for more. I realized that I’ve never been any happier than I already was after going shopping….even when I bought my BMW, it didn’t give me any sort of emotional fulfillment. At the end of the day, it’s just a car that gets me from point A to point B and is of much less value than life experiences of meeting interesting people and learning new things. With this realization I have decided to do a challenge of one year with no shopping for things I don’t need….so no new clothes, shoes, jewelry etc, so the only shopping will be for food!
I don’t remember if I wrote about this or not, cause when you spend a week on a mountain your brain loses a bit of oxygen and you forget some things lol, but I’ve decided, and actually firmly decided now that I’m going to do a masters degree in public health. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a little while, but I’ve had doubts about it….like wondering what if I invest all that time and money and don’t gain anything from it. I’m not worried about that anymore, because I was reminded by several people and several occurrences around the trip I was just on that if you do something you really care about, things have a way of working out….I also saw that even if I end up in what most over privileged westerners would consider a deep dark hole….I’m still better off than the majority of the world. I’m not sure yet where I will be doing the degree, but there is a strong chance I’m going to do it internationally somewhere for a year 🙂
Now getting to what happened on Kilimanjaro…This clumsy goat is exactly as I was! LOL
I did the climb with only myself and my guides…..I started very optimistically, and was doing well for the most part. It was very tough, and being an inexperienced hiker I was very tired…..The weather was unfortunately terrible. It rained a lot except for early mornings when the sky was clear and I had incredible views. Since it was so slippery on the steep rocks I did fall on my ass a few times, but I didn’t have any major injuries 🙂 I basically had the whole mountain to myself…..my guide told me that this was the first time he hadn’t encountered any other hikers on the trail.
I will admit that I got a bit lonely being up there by myself for almost a week, on the 5th day when I was supposed to summit, I couldn’t do it. I got my period and it’s a lot worse at high altitudes I also noticed my breathing was becoming harder as I got higher even though I was on diamox for altitude sickness….Also, since the third day of my hike I had started thinking that conquering the mountain with friends would have been so much cooler, and it really did feel like a special experience that should be shared with others….I even thought to myself “I would like to do this with my future husband…..” LOL, but I’m sure with all I’ve got going on, and want to do….husband won’t be for quite a few years, not until I feel I can contently sit still in one place. So I will likely go back and do it with friends sometime in the next couple years 🙂
Even though I didn’t make it to the top and the weather was bad I still feel the climb was well worth it. I made friends with the mice and ravens around the camp sites lol, and I got to see a few water falls that are only there in the rainy season.
Now back to adjusting to regular life…..it’s been so flattering to have so many people doting over me since I’ve been back, hehe, I feel so loved, and thanks to everyone who’s sent me e-mails while I was away to check up on me, or to comment about my blog, I really appreciate it! 🙂
I have no idea what I’m going to blog about next, but I know I’m going to do this as a weekly thing, every Tuesday. If anyone has suggestions on what I should write about, let me know!