Hi Mark here,
I’ve always liked adventure stories. I’ve immersed myself in the wonder of adventurers and their epic journeys; normally whilst sipping a beer on a Mediterranean beach! I’ve always wanted to do something more exciting such as climb Kilimanjaro or walk the Inca trail; but never seemed to have the money or the time to get around to it. I had managed to travel to Kenya on Safari and whilst there, my guide pointed out the faint outline of Kilimanjaro in the distance. This had left me with a longing to return to Africa and climb this mountain one day….. I just needed to get around to organising it!
A well earned break on the coastal path!
As is often the case, my story starts after a few drinks! In late 2014 a friend came to lodge with me for a few months and after sampling a few of his Polish Vodka’s we got onto the topic of travel. ‘I’ve always wanted to climb mount Kilimanjaro’ were the first words out of his mouth. I was stunned, I’d found a kindred spirit, we talked about this for hours, and on many occasions before deciding that if we didn’t book a trip now, we never would. So it was that in January 2015 we paid our £100 deposit and booked a trek on Kilimanjaro for June 2016.
It was January 2016 when it finally started to sink in that I was actually going back to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. It really was going to be a proper adventure, there was a serious chance that we wouldn’t make the peak and on top of that we were expected to get fit before arriving! After reading everything I could get my hands on, I bought some boots and headed out on to the local Quantock hills. One of the joys of booking this climb has been getting back outside and enjoying the walking that is available on the door step.
Exploring the Quantocks with my nephew Ryan
During these preparatory walks I had plenty of time to think about the challenge ahead and whether I could use this experience to help others? I already supported a friend’s children through school in Kenya, but they wanted to move on to secondary school and the fees were beyond my means. I also have a friend, Kali, whose daughter Tayen has had to endure so much in her life already at the tender age of 4. It was whilst reading about Tayens daily exploits and the joy she was getting from the support of the charity ‘Living Paintings’ that I decided to put some effort into doing some fundraising. At first I was a little unsure about asking people to support me, but I included a write up on my two chosen causes with my sponsorship forms and have been overwhelmed with the support so far. It always amazes me how generous people can be!
So now after a few months of preparation, I am 2 whole stone lighter, feel a little fitter, and have enjoyed re-discovering the local area. Wish us luck!