Kilimanjaro Uncovered started with a simple idea – to review a little known hiking route. It ended with a truly life-changing experience – written in real time while I was unconscious of being the subject of transformation.
I expected a difficult climb bringing me close to my physical limits; an uncomfortable week making me dream of my shower and bed; and an achievement that would make me feel proud for weeks to come.
None of that came true. Instead, I found what no book could have prepared me for: myself. Kilimanjaro challenged and changed my thinking so deeply that it would turn my life upside down. I do not believe in good or bad, yet I feel that my journey has made me a better person.
As per my initial idea, Kilimanjaro Uncovered remains the first book set on the so-called Northern Circuit route, a path away from mass tourism and truly in the wild. For readers interested in scaling the mountain themselves, it also attempts to provide helpful guidance to prepare for such an adventure. Clichés have been turned upside down, facts revealed in a concise easy-to-read format. However, Kilimanjaro Uncovered has become so much more than a practical review.
Asked at the outset what form this book would need to take to reach a broader audience beyond hiking aficionados, the answer was straightforward: A love story. Obsessed as I was with authentic storytelling, this was not an option. Little did I expect that my hike would actually turn out to be more about love than anything else. It would be about brotherly love of the people around me, about learning from them, appreciating their uniqueness and our diversity, and forming connections. As with everything in life, our perception of events is shaped by our interconnections with people around us. Hiking Kilimanjaro was no exception. I was fortunate to share my hiking experience with a wonderful group of fellow hikers and guides, each with their own unique character and strengths that contributed to make our adventure truly enjoyable.
Amongst our hiking group, I met a very special person – a proverbial soul mate. Throughout our nine days together, we would form a unique connection stronger than I would ever have thought possible. Despite our different backgrounds, we shared the same humor; the same enthusiasm about our adventure; the same desire to feel alive by making use of our every last bit of energy; the same joy of giving; and the same longing to feel connected and share our experience with each other. It so happened that this book also became a totally true love story.
Consequently, this book is as much about my individual encounters with each member of our group and this special person, as it is a practical review and investigation. It is as much an emotionally enriching exploration as it is a physically challenging adventure. What started with a group of strangers became a group of friends. What started with two group members became two soul mates. What started with me became us. Reaching the summit alone meant nothing to me, sharing my journey with others meant everything.
Finally, by tragic coincidence, my trip to Kilimanjaro made me aware of the Live Your Legend community. Their founder Scott Dinsmore fell victim to a lethal rockfall one week before I started my hike. He was only 33 years old – just like me, but left a wonderful legacy. Scott believed that the world would be a better place if we all did work that we truly cared about. He created the Live Your Legend community to help people find their own passion and purpose, and make a unique impact on the world.
While my Kilimanjaro journey is coming to its end, another one is just about to start. I have found my passion and a purpose. Hopefully, many of us will live our legends just as Scott wanted all of us to do. As Eva from our hiking group would say: “This year we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, next year anything is possible”.
How did you like my story? I can’t wait to hear from you. Please leave your comments or review below.