Let’s Start At The Very Beginning…

… I guess that’s a very good place to start!

I have a crazy idea that I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s 5895m (19341 ft). I can’t quite recall where this ridiculous idea originated from but there it sits on my bucket list right up near the top at # 7.   I’ve always loved hiking, I’ve been doing it ever since I can remember.  My soul is set free high up on a mountain.  There’s something peaceful about being up in a mountain. No doubt this is where this crazy idea originated from one night while writing my bucket list years ago.

This trip has been in the making for almost three years.  It started off with a friend of mine discovering that I wanted to climb Kili. He screamed excitedly down the phone at my “Me Too!” That was where our plan was hatched. A few months down the line another good friend heard the two of us talking about Kili and before we knew it two became three. We dreamed of driving through Africa in a 4 x 4. We had about six countries on our list and somewhere in between we were going to climb Kili. Months of planning, researching, talking and sharing ideas, dates were set, dates were changed and then my friend was transported off to Angola for a 3 year work contract.  Three became two again. But this time we were just two girls and the probability of two girls driving through Africa on their own was not ideal. The dream could have died there but we were not going to let this one go.

More talking, changing plans and getting back on track. We were going to do this on our own! No more six countries, no more 4 x 4 but we were okay with this, Africa still calls.  We have narrowed it down to two countries, Tanzania and Kenya and we will travel with a tour group but first we will be summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. We hope to start this epic adventure at the end of June 2012.

In January this year I started getting back into shape. I wasn’t hugely out of shape but I realised if I was going to climb a mountain of almost 6000 metres, I needed to get moving! I started with walking, which I still do religiously. I walk just over 4km’s three time’s a week before work. My reward, I get to watch the sun rise and smell the fresh sea air while I walk. Donna, my travel buddy, and I have  also since started hiking as often as we can. We have already done the Fish River Canyon in Namibia (August 2010) and we just completed the amazing Otter Trail (February 2012), five amazing days walking along the spectacularly unspoilt  Tsitsikamma Coast Line and in-between all of that we do day hikes on weekends.

This blog is dedicated to my journey and to the best friend I ever had, Emma Walker. If magic could be bottled, she would be the cork strong enough to keep it contained. Her determination inspires me to soar and so in memory of her, I will be summiting Kilimanjaro and while I prepare to do this I will be raising fund for the South Africa Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

You see, Emma was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that particularly affects the lungs and digestive system and makes kids who have it more vulnerable to repeated lung infections.  Although she often fell ill, she was always laughing and game for anything. She never complained and she didn’t let her illness stand in her way of living. Emma, sadly passed away at the age of 22.  Now, thanks to high-tech medical advances in drug therapy and genetics, children born with CF can look forward to longer and more comfortable lives. In the last 10 years, research into all aspects of CF has helped doctors to understand the illness better and to develop new therapies. On-going research may someday lead to a cure.

I invite you to journey with me. Spread the word, make a donation and help me help them turn CF into Cure Found!

This is for you, Em.  I miss you every single day, still.

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