You make it look easy. You’re a rock star in your career, well on your way to the very top, if not already there. You’re an Olympic level spouse, who would be awarded a gold medal on the podium for all you do. And forget about saving up for your children’s future therapy bills; you are their idol, perfect parent and professed best friend in the world. You are admired, slightly envied but generally beloved by all. Scratch the surface though beyond the beautifully curated Instagram posts and there was, is, and will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears in that picture perfect life. And to keep up this utopian existence? It’s a hustle. The pressure can be immense, along with the strife that living long enough brings with your colleagues, significant other and those adorable kids. Even without all of the above in your life, you’ve got a story, and something to work out. You’re one tough cookie, but there comes a time, when it’s your turn to summit a mountain. We’re here to welcome you to Tanzania and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 feet.What to know ! If you can, arrange for a stand up tent for your trek. It’s a necessity if you’re sharing a tent with another person, as the standard tents are impossibly small for two people to share. Make sure to bring a good sun hat, lots of sunblock and digestive medicines. Altitude brings you both closer to the strong sun’s rays even when it’s cloudy, and we’ll leave you to research the latter part of our recommendation. Set expectations that you will be uncomfortable, and by the 4thnight you will wonder how you will survive another four more. For a lot of people, it’s not the ascent that is the issue, it’s the descent that is very challenging. Make sure your boots are very broken in prior to the trek and that you have good gel pads for your feet in case you need them. You’re also more than ready to get off the mountain after the summit, as there’s no glory in the descent.Even with knowing all this, summiting Kilimanjaro is a lifetime experience. It puts a lot about life in perspective. For many, it gives you a chance to work out whatever it is you need to on your life on the mountain. There is luxury, and there is the luxury of experience, which is Kilimanjaro.Good for: Couples who are strongly in sync, singles, (especially solo travelers) or groups of friends looking for a bucket list experience. This is the ultimate guy or girl’s trip. Surprisingly, (or not) a number women we interviewed make this journey to signify a milestone in their lives, and to prove to themselves how bada– they really are. The faint of heart need not apply; while not a technical climb, will power and the ability to rough it are key.Suggested Climb: At least 5 nights/6 days, and preferably 8 nights/9 days if you want to increase your chances of reaching the summit. The longer your trek, the more time you have to acclimate to the altitude, which can be the greatest challenge, besides your own mental barriers.Time of Year: End of December/January to March, and June to October are the best times given Mother Nature and the rainy season. Rain increases the difficulty and stability of the trails. Over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays is ideal given the time it will take for the climb itself and the much needed recovery after your trek.Reaching the summit. In all of the life lessons and time to think that you will have on your trek, it all comes back to reaching the top. You can either do a night approach, where you wake at midnight and climb for 6 hours in the dark to reach the summit around sunrise, or another route is to do a day summit, where you arrive right after lunchtime. Either way it’s an extraordinary experience to stand on top of the world at Uhuru Peak, all 19,341 feet.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
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