Failure is the mother of success

Plank at sunset on Kili

While I can’t say I’m not bothered by failure, I can at least recognize that very often I get some of my best stories out of failures or at least times when things didn’t go as expected.

Still, failing is hard.  It’s hard to accept.  It’s hard to admit.  It’s embarrassing.  When I failed to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro those were a mixture of the emotions I experienced—embarrassment, frustration, sadness, disappointment, but also understanding and acceptance.

The moment I realized I wasn’t going to reach the top I started crying.  I don’t cry that often so I’m not really used to it.  And, normally if I need to cry in public I try not to.  There was no holding back these tears.  They just came.  I’d exerted too much energy getting this far to utilize any effort holding back tears now.  I’d lost control of my body, physically and emotionally.  I basically cried myself down that mountain, doing the walk of shame as everyone heading up stepped aside to let me down.

They were letting me pass, but I had let myself down.

Failure is the mother of success 2018-02-14T16:12:52+00:00

Plank Story: Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

We are currently standing on Mt. Kili with the peak behind us. That’s how big the mountain is.

Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro was a spectacularly grand adventure and simultaneously self-inflicted torture.  On the first night I accidentally peed in my sleeping bag and broke my headlamp.  The sleeping bag and headlamp were both much needed tools on the mountain.

That’s me and Matt sitting on the right in the orange jacket. Photo from ready_freddy_123 on Instagram

Day Three

On Day three I wrote in my journal: When you look back on this trip as a positive experience, remember it is not.  You are miserable.  This is terrible.  You did this to yourself.  Vacation normally flies by but if you want vacation to pass slowly hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.

That was a breaking point for me.  I’d been up the first two nights shivering.  Lack of sleep and freezing nighttime temperatures forced me to figure out how I needed to get by on the mountain.  That night I put on nearly all my clothes and threw some heat warmers into my sleeping bag and finally slept.  […]

Plank Story: Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro 2018-02-14T16:29:26+00:00

Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

When I was planning my trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, I wish I could have found a list of tips for hiking Mt Kilimanjaro to help me prepare.  What’s out there is every tour organizations plug for why they are the best at getting people to the top, but not really helpful info from someone who had done it.  For the 35,000 people who hike the mountain each year, this lack of information is a gaping hole in the internet where you can usually find answers to everything.  Everyone has a different experience, and you may discover you have different needs than I did.  But after hiking, these are the things I wish I could have known earlier.  Each of these helped make my hike better and easier.  There is no particular order here.  I’d want them all.

Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

  • Balaclava: Bring a balaclava for the journey. A thin one like they wear in the television show Survivor works best.  This becomes a very versatile tool.  You can cover your face to protect from dust and sun.  You can cover your nose to help warm the cold air a little […]
Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro 2018-02-14T16:29:00+00:00

Vision Board Party

My vision board…front and back.

Stephanie Tishler of Tishler Coaching Services hosted a Vision Board Party.  Full disclosure:  Steph has been a client and friend for years, which is the reason I went.  I’m not anti-vision board per se, but it’s not something I would normally seek out on my own.

I didn’t know if I was going to know anyone else at the event (turns out I did), but I was a little concerned about creating a vision board with a group of people I didn’t know that well.  It seems sort of personal.  I had nothing to worry about.  The entire night was great—better than I expected.  In fact, I’m writing this post because I think it’s a great way for a group of friends, co-workers, or interesting strangers to spend a few hours together.

The Set Up:

We basically got together, mingled a bit over snacks and drinks and then went to a long table where Steph had everything we needed.  She provided note cards for us to jot down our visions.  What goals did we want to reach for?  What […]

Vision Board Party 2018-02-14T16:46:59+00:00

How Egypt Opened the World for Travel

A friend asked me recently how I decide where to go on vacation?  From the beginning, I’d always enjoyed social studies and history class in school, but my freshmen year of high school when I took Western Civilizations with Dr. Dan Kelly, I fell in love with history.  I knew then that I wanted to teach history at the college level and see the pyramids.  I’m a graduate school dropout so teaching history never came to fruition.  I left the PhD program in Early Modern European History with a focus in gender and sexuality almost as soon as I started.  But less than a year after leaving graduate school, I was in Egypt  at the pyramids with Matt.   Our time in Egypt opened the world up.

Living a dream of seeing the pyramids.It was two years after September 11th and our families were pretty worried about our safety.  I was concerned.  Egypt seemed like a scary, intimidating place from back home, but once there it wasn’t.  I was more afraid driving on the skinny, one lane, cliff-edge roads of the Dingle peninsula in Ireland than I was in Egypt.  That didn’t […]

How Egypt Opened the World for Travel 2018-02-14T16:49:38+00:00