,

Henriette

When I was 30, my dream was to climb Kili the day I turned 40… unfortunately this still remains only a dream; this milestone has come & gone with no mountain (or hill) in-sight. There was no way I was even climbing off my couch, yet alone a mountain.

My day-to-day life has become so mundane and I kept blaming ‘other’ factors like work, being too busy, stress, the environment and place I was living for this. The excuses were never-ending and beyond boring.

 

One of the ‘crutches’ I used to never accomplish this dream was a memory of a ‘hike’ I attempted 3 years earlier, which left me wondering if this was really what hiking was all about. I guess I used this experience as an excuse to put it on the back-burner… but I still had the dream and would speak about it often but not doing anything to achieve it.

 

On that lovely Sunday morning, while the rest of the group were happily ‘running’ up the hill…. There was me; first time attempt hiker, huffing and puffing trying to keep up, barely managing to put my one foot in front of the other while trying my best not rolling down the slope. Minutes after reaching the summit in total exhaustion, off they went again with me in tow, this time down the hill, breaking, slipping and sliding to reach the pick-up in record time.

 

That was me done with hiking – been there, done that… got the t-shirt!! I still had the dream but that is all it was… a dream.

 

The big ‘mind shift’ happened early in December, when I relocated to Nairobi and took the firm decision that I will turn my life around and start Iiving again – re-discovering myself, giving back where due & be inspired by nature. Just as I set-out to do when I was 30.

 

I was inspired by this beautiful saying and knew there was no necessity to rush things: ‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’ – Lao Tzu

 

The search has started…finding ‘Mr/Ms Right Activity. I needed a group that had a soul with purpose, not just another group clocking land speed records running/cycling/walking /crawling/driving through valleys, without taking a minute to appreciate the beauty that nature offers and really taking it in. I wasn’t yet sure of the activity but I was sure of what I wanted out of the experience.

 

I was slowly but surely becoming an activity-club-stalker, trying to find the most compatible group, trawling through endless Facebook profiles. I just didn’t seem to have any luck and night after night I would be thinking that I am just asking for too much – my ‘wishlist’ unachievable.

 

Totally demotivated and almost reverting back to my stagnant existence with so many reasons why I failed, I stumbled across Woman Who Hike; I immediately knew this was IT. Their vision, goals & mantra for starting the group fitted the ‘profile’ and I immediately felt it was a ‘match’… I was however still a little skeptical about ‘hiking’.

 

I hesitantly sent Alia a mail and warned her upfront that I am a real beginner – too embarrassed to even mention my previous ‘hiking’ experience – her encouragement and motivation gave me hope, she suggested I joined the Ngong hike.

 

I tried to prepare as much as I could and joined a bike excursion the weekend before. I battled up and down hills (more pushing than riding) and even more huffing and puffing followed, trying my best to keep my feet on those peddles, chased by a dog and seeing the rest of the group disappearing on the horizon, barely managing to catch my breath. I eventually reverted to the safety of the ‘pick-up’ bus for the ‘injured’… yet again I was doing the walk-of-shame but I was adamant to still go out and give it my best shot @ Ngong!

 

I was extremely anxious for the hike and hardly slept the night before…It was like a blind date… all the butterflies and nervousness and not 100% sure of what I am letting myself in for after my last experience. I was so worried I just won’t be able to keep up with the group.

 

Then the day arrived… Ngong hills was an absolute revelation and I quickly realized this group of amazing woman don’t do this to tick off another hike on a long meaningless list or proof anything to anyone but rather do it for themselves, taking in nature, reconnect & support you every step of the way.

 

And finally, I heard these words: ‘pole-pole’ – I knew I was home.

 

I have now joined the Trailblazer challenge & committed to Mount Kenya in May. I can’t wait for the journey and challenging myself to something I never thought will become a reality.

 

Let’s see after Mount Kenya, Kili might still be in reach, we can only dream and have to start somewhere!! I started at Ngong!

 

‘A walk in nature, walks the soul back home’ Mary Davis

 

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