Small steps taken every day lead to great heights

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I hated it.

It was the last mountain I wanted to conquer.

I didn’t sleep the second night, and I had nausea and a terrible headache.

Why am I here? What is my WHY? What is the purpose of this trip?

During that night, I convinced myself to go back down. Yes, I felt like a failure, but I would stay alive and healthy.

When I woke up on the third day of the hike, I said, “I am going back.”

The backstory:

Back in early February of 2022, we had an executive conference at our company, which we held in Staten Island, NY. During that event, we invited everybody from the team or anybody who used to work for us to meet us for any dinner we have. My friend and co-worker Vira joined one of our dinners with her husband.

Not sure how the conversation started, but Vira said that she plans to go to Kilimanjaro one day. Later I found out that I missed the part “one day.” When she said Kilimanjaro, I said, “Can I join it?” since it was on my bucket list for some time.

13 months later, we met in Tanzania.

The illusion:

The first day was the easiest, but at the same time, the first challenges came to play.

Now, I understand that those challenges were an illusion.

We started our hike at Umbwe Gate (1,800 meters elevation).

After close to six hours of walking, and the majority of the walk under the rain, we got to our first stop, where we had to sleep.

The first shock was that 11 of us, 31 people, were serving. The number of those 31 people were porters, cooks, waiters, and guides. So the entire group was 42 people. Just the number was shocking.

Another surprise was that we had a special tent with a table and chairs for eating. They cooked for us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, they served coffee and tea each morning when we woke up typically around 6:30 am. This is crazy cool and unimaginable service. I thought we would eat those MREs (meals ready to eat) where you just add hot water, and the meal is ready.

We slept at the elevation of 2800 meters. My highest mountain, which I hiked, was a mountain in Ukraine, Hoverla, which has 2062 meters. So this was the highest I ever been, and I had to sleep here.

The illusion was that I did not have enough air to breathe.

Was it true?


It was a mental illusion since I was thinking about it my entire trip before it.

The coolest and worst night:

At 6:30 am, two servers walked to my tent and asked what I would like to have, coffee or tea. I picked tea. I am a coffee person, but I was afraid to drink coffee during this hike, so my pressure went up even higher.

It was a sunny day, and we entered the new elevation, where the plants around us changed as we went higher and higher. We started to see the snowy top. It was not our top yet, but it looked so close.

We reached our second camp by lunchtime.

We had a three-course meal. The food looked delicious, but then I lost my appetite.

I just could not eat. They told me to force myself.

I did, but the experience was not fun at all.



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