19 hours ago I sat in Kilimanjaro International Airport at the end of my 8th successful expedition on Kilimanjaro about to begin the long journey home. I have now spent over 56 days of my life on this incredible mountain & for the first time really feel like I have began to understand Tanzania & its people – and be accepted in the communities I travel in. I’m not 100% sure how things work here, or who really does, but it does and I love it all the same.
My journey is halted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I pass the hours finalising the expedition accounts, writing an article and chatting with Becky and Paula before boarding in the early hours of the morning. Trying briefly to blag our way into Business Class we retire to our seats, tired and weary – the post expedition comedown beginning to kick in. Success can be measured in summits – and all 12 members of my team summited. But really success is measured in experiences gained – its is impossible for me to express in words the experience these 12 folk just had, as only they will know over the coming days.
From London we split ways and the National Express blissfully cruises the smooth motorways & the newly green fields of english countryside flash past, autumn has arrived. I always love coming home, there is simply nothing like it. On the bus there is a lady I recognise who was just climbed Kilimanjaro so I change seats & we get chatting. The enthusiasm & excitement in her recount of her expedition to the summit was contagious and I listen like it was my first time. I love to hear people speak so passionately about adventures I have taken other people on.
The local bus takes me a further 45 minutes closer to home, and finally turns the corner to my stop. Loaded with 35KG of kit on my back and shoulders, head stooped, hands in pockets I begin a path I know so well. This was my route home every day from school for 7 years, the most familiar route I know. It takes 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes where I say no words, my brain is alive with thoughts, plans, ideas and the future, but conversation is silent.
The final 50m to my house is always the best, I can see the finish line in the long journey home…its almost over. Nothing feels like home, the smells, the reassurance & the familiarity all provide security. I turn the key and walk in.
The washing is in the machine.
I’m home again