So here it is…

… is the day to stand up and be counted. Armegeddon, D Day, the time of reckoning. I leave for the airport in about four hours time.

It feels almost surreal. I wish I had time in the midst of my headless-chicken dances to properly tell you what is going through my head, but it feels sort of like every emotion you have ever had all at once.

I feel radically and terribly underprepared, and yet raring to go. I feel nervous, but ruthlessly determined. I feel happy and sad. I feel scared and excited. I feel anxious. I feel outrageously emotional. The last six months have been such a voyage for me – in practically every single aspect of my life. This trip today feels like the zenith, the peak of all that in so many ways.

Why do people climb mountains? The ubiquitous answer to this seems to be “because it is there”. I can relate to the answer, but it is not necessarily the one I would give. The mountain is bigger in every sense than I can ever be. Even if I get to the top, I won’t conquer it. It will beat me every time. I can however respect it, appreciate it, and all that it gives to nature, to humanity, to civilisation, to culture. It is sacred in every sense of the word. This is Kilimanjaro!

I have been asked along the way so many times why I am personally doing this, and there is no straight answer. When I set out to do it there was never any thought of doing it for love, for money, for glory, for any particular person. There still isn’t. I am undoubtedly however now utterly focussed and inspired by my mam’s memory, and that will get me through the bad moments, of which I am sure there will be some. I very much intend to lift my head up and enjoy the good ones too.

I have also been floored (in a massively great way) by certain things that have happened en route, which will remain private for now. I have to take some of those things up the mountain with me and decide what to do with them. I have not yet decided upon any of them. I will be carrying a few things with me however to leave there. One of those is a picture of my mam and me. Kilimanjaro can do what it wants to the picture – I will have the memory of it being there for however long that may be.

Thanks to anyone who has followed this blog, to the well wishers, the incredibly generous people who have so far donated almost £1,000 to Bowel Cancer UK. Keep the donations coming please whilst I am away right here –

I am very much looking forward to coming out the other side in whatever shape and filling you in on my real adventures, for it is only about to start today.

So to those people who inspire me the most in life, this one is for you. For my Dad, and mostly for Dan and Becca, who both make me ridiculously proud in equal measure, I love you, love you, love you, with every grain of emotion that I have in me.

To Kilimanjaro, and Beyond!

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