I've never met anyone who says they don't want to have an extraordinary life, or great experiences or stories to tell. But few people actually aspire to make their lives extraordinary and memorable. These are individuals who relentlessly pursue a life of achievement and wonder. This is exactly what I did last winter, and encourage you to do.
A couple years ago my dad told me that for my 15th Birthday I was entitled to a special Father Son trip to "prove my manhood". It was a joke of course, and he offered the options of bird hunting in Texas, to deep sea fishing in the Caribbean. My ultimate decision put the joke on him however, as he was obligated to come with me. I decided to go to Tanzania, Africa, and climb the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
We flew in to Kilimanjaro airport a day after school break began. The jet lag was disorientating, and I would hardly remember the drive to the Impala Hotel in if it wasn’t for the adrenaline already coursing through my body. Three days after arriving in Tanzania, we met with our tour guide from Destination Africa Tours and embarked on our adventure. We began our climb following the Machame route up the mountain, the most scenic.
On day 1 we traversed through thick muddy vegetation, much of it in pouring rain. As the youngest person in our group, I had by far the most stamina and was often reminded to slow down and conserve energy for the days to come.
We awoke at on day 6, in pitch darkness, and began the final ascent. A task so physically demanding I saw other climbers break down in tears from the effort. It was in this perpetual darkness that I began to realize what the meaning of cold really was. Back home if I got cold I'd just go inside. Here there was no shelter from mother nature, no respite from the brutal conditions. It was a cold that penetrated to your very core, and then some.
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