Adventure and new experiences have always been the “Siren Call” for me. Although I grew up in a small farming town, over the passing years I have been fortunate to travel extensively for work and pleasure. All the travel provided the opportunity for amazing adventures and I took advantage. At the end of each adventure came the feeling of accomplishment but also the inevitable question of “What is next?”
Early on the “What is next” question often left me unsatisfied with the accomplishment. It was not the lack of next things, as I have an ever-growing list but it was as if the completion somehow diminished the value of the accomplishment. The accomplishment did not feel like the reward I was expecting.
Studying this feeling over time, I realized completion is but one part of the reward for the journey. Each adventure has many parts from the initial interest, through the planning and preparation to the execution and accomplishment. Along the way the interesting occurrences in all those parts, not just the arrival at the endHike, delivers the reward for taking on the adventure.
In September 2012, I was able to hike Mount Kilimanjaro with my friend George. This adventure was over a yearlong journey from the initial idea to day we returned home. As I prepared a book about this adventure, I was drawn again to the thought that the journey was the real reward.
The goal of this adventure was to summit Kibo peak but many parts had to come together. Initially, I had a great deal to learn about Africa, Tanzania and Mount Kilimanjaro – to find where to fly into, where to stay and who to take us on the hike. Training for the hike became a daily event that included frustration, exhaustion and joy as I worked on my physical condition. Then upon arriving in Tanzania experiencing all the differences and similarities a new country provides. On the actual hike experiencing the beautiful scenery, the incredible effort a step takes at high altitude and successful completion reaching the Kibo summit then safely returning home. All of this was the journey.
Appreciating and realizing all the rewards, such as knowledge gained about Kilimanjaro and improved fitness, for each part of the journey made this a great adventure. The reward was not only the 10-15 minutes I spent on the Kibo summit but the whole journey with the many rewards along the way.
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