Destination Anywhere

Once in a while, it’s important to stop, catch your breath, and look at your accomplishments before you move on to the next thing — to put a stake in the ground that says, “I made it this far!”

Life has a habit of chewing you up and spitting you back out especially when it’s the one thing you are trying to avoid!

I’ve been back in South Africa a week now and it’s been a busy and amazing but at times, an almost unforgiving week.  My first day back was amazing. Donna and I had managed to change our Johannesburg flights back to Cape Town to a day earlier, meaning it would afford me a whole day off before I was due back at work.  I caught up with my family, saw my gorgeous baby nieces and did 4 loads of washing!

Going back to work was two days full of hugs and words of congratulations and people telling me how proud they were of me.  To be honest, at times it became a bit overwhelming. It was and still is sinking in that I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro. I still have moments where it all feels so surreal. My holiday was so incredibly amazing, all of it, from climbing Kilimanjaro, to going on safari in the Serengeti and just travelling around Tanzania. We met the most beautiful souls, we walked with angels and were blessed in so many ways as we journeyed. I want to hold onto it all for as long as I can, let it all sink in fully and completely before I let life and the world suck me back in completely so I have been taking baby steps back out into the “real” world, which is hard and fast trying to suck me back in!

So slowly getting back into the swing of things and that includes getting back to my blog, which I have now been seriously neglecting! Intentions were good to update it while I travelled but in the end I only managed to get onto my blog once while I was away. A few have asked me what I am going to do with this blog after I reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, after all this blog was started to chronicle my journey to Kilimanjaro. I never really thought too much about this, I just took it one day at a time, but I think I have always known that this blog will continue and it will always be a blog in memory of my best friend. I might change a few things around, update some of the info when I find the time but this will always be a blog started in memory of Emma and in memory of her life. I have many more adventures left on my bucket list, more mountains to climb, and so many more places to travel and most of all, if I can still raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, this is exactly what I am going to do.

So I trust you will continue to follow my journey through life, I can’t promise a theme this blog will now take but all I know is that it will be a journey and you are welcome to join me for the ride…

Donna and I in Arusha, supposedly standing at the “centre” of Africa ~ the midpoint between Cairo and Cape Town.

So many stories are already tumbling around in my head that I want to share and soon I will begin to look at the notes I scribbled in a note-book while on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and while on my travels through the beautiful country of Tanzania and I will begin chronicle my seven days on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and then I will share stories from my travels around Tanzania ~ I am hoping to start this within the next week.

But before I do that, I have one more thing that I need to do.

This was a journey that started a long time ago. Years ago I put climbing Kili on my bucket list, sitting right up there at #7. I remember the conversation I had with a friend on the phone so clearly when I mentioned to him I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro. He said “no ways, me too” and so this dream began to unfold.  I always knew that I would do something tied into my climb in memory of my friend. It was never concrete, just there, sitting in the back of my mind each time I talked of Kilimanjaro and as most of you know on the 11th March 2012, this blog was born. I had no idea what I was doing but as I started to create my page and I started putting information on it and adding pics and telling people what I was doing, my excitement grew. I had a goal in mind, to raise funds and to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and the only way I knew how to do this was to share myself.

On the 19th March 2012, just 8 days after the launch of my blog, I launched my fundraising page with a target of R19 341.00. Friends, family and strangers came to support me and my small army of supporters continued to grow…

I need to go back to my scribbled notes to check the exact date and times I got the news, but while on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, I think it was the night of our summit, we had just had dinner and Donna and I retreated to our tent to attempt to get a couple of hours sleep before our summit bid.  It must have been around 7pm I got the sms from my best friend who was back in South Africa, confirming my donations for CF had made it over R20 000!  I don’t know if it was the altitude, the gratitude or the fact that I was about to leave for the summit in just 3 hours but the tears flowed freely in my tent as I read the news.

In total, in 135 days ~ 3 240 hours, 11, 664, 000 seconds ~ you helped me raised an amazing R20 191.00 for those living with Cystic Fibrosis!!!!  I never doubted I would reach my target and often I was left speechless by many of you, by your gifts of generosity and your kind words. You bowled me over with your caring and sharing and by going out of your way to let people know what I was doing.

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.

Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Pamela Vaull Starr

 I have no words (again) to really even begin to say how grateful I am. I could never have done this without your help and all I can really say is thank you for helping someone out there with Cystic Fibrosis breathe a little easier. May each and every one of you have the blessings you gave returned ten-fold!

I’ve posted a pic before of our summit but I wanted to post this again ~ I carried each and every one of you that donated towards this cause up Kilimanjaro with me. The banner was neatly folded up with all your names written on it and each day it was close by, neatly packed in my day pack and finally on summit morning it came out. As new donations came in and I got word of it, it was added to the banner. The amount is just below R20 000 but at the late stage of summit night when I got the news, I no longer had time to add the last donations on. There really are no words and it really is just a huge gratitude explosion!

To Carol Furlonger and her team in 496 at Johannesburg Hospital Adult CF Unit, your support right from the start has been incredible and thank you just doesn’t seem enough. You have followed my journey from the start and it’s really me who should be saying thank you to you and your team for all you do for CF patients ~ Angels sure do walk amongst us here on earth and I hope one day I get to meet you and your team in person!

I climbed to 5895m (19341feet).

You helped me raise R20 191.00.

In Memory of Emma Walker ~ My best friend ~ I will never forget.

Thank You to each and every one of you who have shared this part of my journey!

Stay tuned, it’s not over yet….


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. margii73
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 22:13:13

    Amazing storey Lar, your an inspiration!!!


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