Life for nine days on Mount Kilimanjaro, the 4th highest mountaintop in the world, made me discover myself again and realize my resilience. It's not easy to put yourself against elements that challenge you mentally and physically, such as freezing cold, scorching sun, altitude, and bumpy roads because we've gotten so used to being spoiled by the nature and environments around us.
It's hard to wake up in the morning to snow covering your small tent, put on cold clothes, not shower or bathe for the entirety of the trip, drink hot juice, and learn the real meaning of fluctuating temperatures. It's hard to give up the luxuries of life and wake up with a swollen face or a huge boiling water bag while you sleep. But all those sacrifices become infinitely worth it when you're standing at the top looking at everything from a bird's eye view; it clicks that although the mountain is a powerful feat, it respects those who attempt to connect to it.
On a tough day, headed to Lava Tower Camp, I asked the Sherpa (guide) if Kilimanjaro had a God. He immediately said yes, and I assumed that he must not like visitors then. He said, "no, he waits for you all and welcomes those who reach him because it isn't easy." That sentiment made it easier to bear the difficulty in breathing that I felt.
The national and local songs of Kilimanjaro are beautiful, fun, and upbeat. They help uplift and motivate the climbers to keep going, especially Hakuna Matata. Every member of the company was helpful in every way, no matter what we were going through. Whether it was sickness, exhaustion, or frustration, it was as if they were our across-the-board therapists.
Adventures like these don't only require physical strength but also mental ones. It's what made me realize why some people love extreme sports. Not only do you have to have a solid mentality to endure such activities, but the feeling of achieving such big goals is a rush that pushes you to better yourself and continue to work hard on making the best out of life.