Why did you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
A couple of friends had climbed prior and shared with me their experiences and how it changed them. The seed was planted 3 years ago. Then a friend asked me to go with her, and I contemplated it. My grandma at that time had also begun the process of dying. Her body was becoming weak and she no longer recognized her body. At that time, I decided that I should climb as my body is strong and physically capable of doing it. I should not take my health for granted.
Any interesting stories or incidents from your climb?
I was very impressed with the hard work and strength of the porters as they prepare our environment to create a space for us to be empowered and able to experience the mountain. We would not have been able to have the mental and emotional connections with those on our team if we were worried about setting up and preparing our food daily. Another thing that affected me was a discussion I had with a recent widower (Bruce). He has an interesting view on life since his wife’s death. We discuss the fact life if short we have limited time. We have to choose things in life that make us happy. Despite the fact if you were to make a list of why something should make you happy yet you find it doesn’t. It is time to let it go as the list doesn’t matter if the simple thing is it just doesn’t make you happy.
What were some of the challenges you faced during the climb, and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was the day of the summit. I had chosen to bring my grandma’s ashes to the top of the mountain. It was a very sad thing, and as we got closer to the top, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was trying to pressure breathe, but it had become difficult. I had begun to sob at certain times, and it was hard to control my emotions. My head was beginning to hurt, and I was trying to distinguish if it was the beginning of altitude sickness or if it was my mind playing tricks on my mind.
Bjorn: I was one of the last ones to reach the summit (yeah, I was super slow!), and in the thumbnail of the video underneath you can see Misty (on the left) on her way down from the summit, Uhuru Peak.
How has your perspective on life been different since you were in Tanzania and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro?
I have simplified many things in my life since then. I want for less material things and more connections with people. I also feel I have a better perspective when dealing with stressful events. They seem to no longer hold as much weight as they used to.
Any life lessons you learned from the climb that has affected the way you lead at your work?
I am a facilitation trainer for a team of people. I am a stronger facilitator as I am more present and authentic as a presenter. My level of gratitude has expanded and I am more verbal about sharing it with others. My team complemented me many times after I had climbed. They had stated that I had a glow and looked much happier.
What is the most useful product or item you would recommend others to bring to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
I feel my boots were amazing. My feet never hurt or were uncomfortable. I didn’t have any blisters or raw spots. Secondly, petroleum jelly was great and so glad someone had it. My hands were dry from the hand sanitizers, the inside of my nose, and lips were peeling. The jelly stopped this. The one thing to not live without was the baby wipes to clean the body. It helped to feel fresh every day.
I enjoy helping people find their passion in life. For someone not sure what area they want to work in or what they are passionate about, any advice you would give them?
I recommended this for my team. But not everyone wants to or will be able to climb a mountain. The mountain is a metaphor anyway. I recommend that everyone should find something that challenges them, scares them, and something they think they might not be able to accomplish. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you could accomplish it or not, because it’s about the journey. You will learn more about who you are and what you want from life. The confidence gain will be worth the fear and hard work.