Saying goodbye was tough.
I’d been in tears all morning – excited about the adventure ahead and yet terrified about leaving Rosie. Suddenly the thought of being so far away from her without much, if any, contact was just all too much.
Iain was being supportive as ever, reminding me how many years I’ve been wanting to do this, the amount of time and energy its taken to get me to this point, all the money raised for charity and the fact that it would be a totally awesome trip that I was sure to enjoy once I was there – he was of course right, as always!
I kept the goodbye short. The amazing guys at Royal Chauffeurs had kindly offered to take me to the airport. They promptly arrived at 2pm and I literally said a quick goodbye to everyone, hopped in the car and waved frantically as we turned right out of my road. This was it.. the journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro had begun.
The M4 motorway was kind to me and I arrived at terminal 2 at 4pm – a few hours before I actually needed to be there. Luckily Imran, a guy I’d been chatting to in our private Facebook group in the weeks leading up to today had also arrived early. He very kindly took me under his wing and I joined him, his father, sister and two brothers for coffee.
Slowly and surely we started spotting bags sporting the ‘Global Adventure Challenges’ luggage tag. We waved people over, got chatting and within a short amount of time there was a small group of us all making friends and getting excited about the trip. Everyone was lovely and for the first time I felt happy that I was no longer alone and from this point onwards we were all in it together.
A lovely lady called Emma soon joined us and I knew I’d met someone on my own wavelength. From the moment we met we literally spent the next 10 days together as it turned out she was to be my tent buddy. I was so happy and grateful to have been paired with her.
Our plane left at 9pm for the seven and a half hour night flight to Ethiopia.
The flight was pretty good and I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep, watch Going in Style with Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine and listen to London Grammar on repeat for about 4 hours.
We had a five hour wait at Ethiopia airport before our connecting flight to Tanzania and we had the opportunity to get to know other members in the group. It was here for the first time we were all together, all 27 of us about to embark on the challenge of a lifetime.
The time passed quickly and we were soon boarding the next plane to Tanzania.
As we approached Tanzania the captain announced that if we looked to our left we could see Mount Kilimanjaro. It was absolutely surreal – it was the first time I’d seen it in its glory and as it peaked above the clouds I had that moment of OMG…I cannot believe I’ll be standing on the top of 6 days from now. I started to question what on earth I was doing and if I could do it at all. It was a totally overwhelming yet glorious sight.
After a short two and a half hour flight we’d arrived in Tanzania.
From the ground you could just about make out Mount Kilimanjaro towering above the land in the middle of this picture. WOWSERS – what a sight!
Tanzania is only two hours ahead of BST so we weren’t weirded out too much. We arrived around lunchtime, went through security, got on the bus and headed off to our lodge in Moshi.
Weru Weru Lodge (below)
We enjoyed a little relax by the pool…
… before meeting in the bar for drinks and dinner.
We all got an early night ahead of the alarm going off at 6am ready for day one of the five day trek.
Read the next blog post: Part 2 – Machame Gate > Shira Cave Camp