A strong mind

A strong mind

A strong mind
Fashion and lifestyle photographer

On my 21st birthday I was sat in a plane with a nervousness in my stomach flying out to Africa on an adventure. I was headed for Tanzania and I wasn’t quite prepared for how much this adventure would shape me in to the person I am today.

I was going to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

I was nervous but At 20 I was also nieve. I don’t think the true servarity of what I was going to do had sunk in. I had spent last 6 months “training” which mainly consisted of signing up to a gym and popping in every now and then to walk on the treadmill on a high incline for a bit until I had got bored and the lure of housemates sitting in front of the TV sounded more appealing. As a group we had gone on one long wet and rainy walk around the peak district a couple of weeks before and that was about it on the training side of things.

Before we started our climb, we got the visit the school that the money we had raised over the last 6 months, and the reason we were doing the climb was going too. As we walked up to the school the road was lined with children, all singing and clapping, I suddenly felt overcome with emotion. We joined in as the children surrounded us and we began to walk as a crowd up to the school. The headmaster showed us around and how our money and hard work would help them. It was so special to see that we were able to help. The children were generally amazing, the happiest, bubblest, playful children I’ve ever met, they deserved the best of what we could offer. We got to spend the afternoon singing and dancing with them before we had to return to our hostel and prepare for our climb.

Not everything comes easily but if you really want to do it, you set your mind to it and work as hard as you can to get there, it will happen.

The track started off very fun, we were walking through jungles and taking it at a nice pace but after day 1 when the track really started it was tougher then I had ever expected. I remember at one point there is a very steep part of the walk. It felt like you were rock climbing vertically rather than walking on a trek. The lack of sleep, the tiredness and the altitude making you breathless, it felt like we should have been about to reach the summit when we actually still had days left until we did. It’s such an odd feeling when you know you want you body to do something but at the same time you feel out of breath and its not letting you do what your mind is telling it. We kept spirits up by singing songs together- I think a lot of it was Disney songs if I remember correctly. The views and scenery before your eyes are truly remarkable. Sometimes I wondered how some flower or bushes even survived that high and then around the corner it would look like your standing on what I imagine the moon’s surface to look like.

I remember every morning, brushing my hair and putting on some mascara. I adopted the phase look good feel good. Which basically meant get up every day and set your purpose, pretend like it was a new day and forget your cold, damp, achy and about to put your blistered feet back into your boots for another day of walking. I know there were a lot of days when it looked like we weren’t going to make it. People were being stuck down with really bad altitude sickness to the point we weren’t sure if we could carry on, but as a team everyone helped out and after 5 days we made it to the top, as a team, all together.

Climbing the tallest free standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro, standing at the summit looking out, made me believe in myself. That I could achieve anything I wanted to once I put my mind to it. The experience of feeling such huge achievement that I couldn’t have done without going through the struggle, feeling absolutely exhausted, achey, tired, altitude sick and working hard and as a team set me up with the skill set and work ethic I use to shape my career now.

Not everything comes easily but if you really want to do it, you set your mind to it and work as hard as you can to get there, it will happen.

The necklaces remind me of this time because they are delicate and beautiful. The country and experience was so grounding that I want to be reminded of it when I wear them. I chose the Shiny necklace because it reminds me of the sunrise we saw when we reached the summit. The Love necklace because it reminds me of those small flowers we saw on our way up and the Snow necklace as I want the multiple pearls to remind me that you can’t do it by yourself and to always surround yourself with a good team.

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