Kilimanjaro Update/Teaser

As I’ve had time to really process everything, at least for the most part, I should probably say a few words about the trip before I start posting my pictures, videos and testimonials and definitely before any media comes out now that we’ve been back for a week. 


Despite best efforts, four out of five of us summited. I did not. On day 5, summit night, I made it about halfway to the summit before I couldn’t breathe at all; not altitude sickness but really couldn’t breathe, probably a combination of severe asthma, altitude and thin oxygen. You know that feeling when you get the wind knocked out of you and you’re gasping for breath? The higher I went to closer to that I got and my pulsox (taken once I was down at camp by another who failed to summit because my guide, although knowing the signs and symptoms could not get his puslox to work with my long nails) was bouncing around between 28 and 36. Normally it should be 100 at around sea level but at that altitude it’s usually around 60 because of the thin air (approximately 50% oxygen at that altitude). How I was still conscious and just passing out at that point is beyond me. So it got the point, me crying (and not breathing) in between waves of consciousness and arguing that I could go on, my guide told me that if I tried to continue I’d could quite possibly die because going on, there was very little if anything they could do should things go further south and that they needed to get me back to camp (and potentially down one more camp) and a lower altitude ASAP. Of all the things I have going on medically (knees, ankles, heels, MS, titanium spine, etc) it would be my lungs to crap out on me. Or as my dad said in his one line response, “you suck at breathing.” STUPID F’N ASTHMA!

But we all made it back down safely in the end, and lavished in beer, Kinyagi with Fanta, a shower and a bed. We all hurt immensely and could barely walk once we finally stopped moving. Pictures and stories and videos to come of course, along with many many more stories.

Don’t forget there’s still time to donate. I may not have made it to the top but I can still make it to the top of that goal. MY STUBBORN ASS ALMOST DIED FOR THIS PEOPLE! Please continue to share far and wide! And I’m thinking about trying again! Let’s go out with a bang (the you need a cigarette afterwards kind)!

It’s a Small World After All. It’s a Small World After All. It’s a Small Small World

I’ve always known it was a small world. I love playing the six degrees of separation game as I’ve met Kevin Bacon I live on an island with eight million people living on top of each other and yet still run into people I know regularly out of the blue in the most random of places. I find out another regular at my local bar in New York City knows all of the same music people as I grew up with in the Philadelphia area because he played in the bands and on their records. I walk through the Chicago airport and someone screams my name and it’s a random Clemson Tiger that I don’t remember but remembers me. It’s a small world and I very much pride myself on my networking skills and my matchmaking skills. If I don’t know someone who meets certain criteria, I know someone who does. And I love matchmaking people who I think should know each other for whatever reason: similar interests, business opportunities, etc.

Yet it gets smaller. When I started to planning this whole Kilimanjaro trip, I knew I wanted to use an in country tour company and not a foreign one for a multitude of reasons. It seemed only natural to ask a former coworker from my prior time in Tanzania for a recommendation. He referred me to a friend of his, Edward, with Pristine Trails. I will write a more glowing recommendation of them in an upcoming post because they were beyond exceptional and I couldn’t be happier with how the hike turned out sans actually getting to summit vs. hypoxia. But I digress.

As it turns out, Edward’s mother also worked for the same organization Peter and I worked together at, Cross Cultural Solutions, but at the Moshi site while we were based in the then new Bagamoyo site. Then it gets even smaller. Kim, Edward’s wife, went to grad school at Columbia in NYC in the Masters version of my very same Certificate program. We overlapped for a semester but did not know each other. Not only were we in the same school and program; they lived together less than 20 blocks from my own house in Manhattan. She is now working on and expanding programs and activities that I worked on more than a decade ago. I had no idea that they were still even active let alone grown so large.

So on the other side of the world, I find the circle is still so small. I tell you this as an anecdote of “wow, what are the odds,” but also as a warning. It’s a small world and how you treat and build your network is incredibly important. Make the impression you want to last over the decades. The most significant part of this particular story is that there is no social media connections or influence involved. Imagine how much larger that circle is when you toss in the social media aspect.

People remember you and at some point in the near future or decades down the line may be the one who is charged with keeping you alive (in this case literally) or who knows what other significant roles. 

Insomnia, drunks and snark OH MY

I have a raging issue with snark. My brain and mouth completely lack any sort of filter and I say basically whatever comes to mind.

For example, my memories on Facebook today reminded me of a scenario from two years ago. I'll quote the full post

Minding my own business browsing the produce at Westside (grocery)...
Little girl: MOMMY why does SHEEEE get to squeeze the Cuties before she buys them?
Me (not missing a beat): Now THAT is part of being a woman
Oh wait she was talking about oranges 😵 it’s a wonder I don’t get slapped sometimes

So given that little background, this happened last night...

I couldn't sleep again (big surprise) and was hungry so I ran to the bodega around 3am. I ordered my food at the counter and waited to the side bc that's usually around the time the cops come in for their break. Instead a bunch of drunk guys come in, obviously headed home from the bar or party and kinda pissed about going home without any ladies. They start hitting on me (pjs, fleece, glasses, big rats nest on top of my head) and then try to tell me they play football and are kind of a big deal.

My response: if you could take your eyes off my ass long enough to read my Clemson fleece you'd realize that no, when it comes to football, I'm the big deal. Goodnight gentlemen. 

Guy behind the deli counter nearly dies laughing bc he has told me many times how much money he made on our game 😂😂

My snark has no limits. Just don't split your pants laughing ;-)