5 ways Kilimanjaro is like fatherhood

Mountains and fatherhood are both wonderful experiences I enjoy...but also make me a bit dizzy

Whenever I do a presentation about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro someone almost always asks me what mountain I plan to climb next.  And my response is always the same: "I have two young daughters right now and raising them is the mountain I'm climbing right now." That leaves some of my more hardcore adventure fans lacking.  Surely I can't equate traveling to the far reaches of the globe and trekking up the largest free standing mountain in the world with sitting in a folding chair watching a ballet recital?  Actually, that's exactly what I'm doing.  Hopefully one thing comes through loud and clear in both my book and my talks: it's not about conquering the mountain, it's about the personal experience.  And if I think about what really mattered to me on Kilimanjaro; getting to know my Tanzanian hosts, meeting people from around the world, discovering new experiences and learning more about myself, then climbing Kilimanjaro really isn't that much different from being a father. Here's 5 things I learned from both experiences:
  1. It's about the smiles you get vs. the miles you gain:  Years after my first Kilimanjaro climb I can still see the smiling faces of Mik, Juma and other porters.   I remember the sense of welcome I had just walking down the street being greeted by the smiles of the people of Tanzania.   I get that same feeling every time I see my daughters smile.
  2. It's about the people vs. the places:  On Kilimanjaro it was the support of Mohamed and Mndeme, the warmth of Patience and the help of Lawrence that made the trip special.  Each day I get to know my growing daughters even more and the experience just keeps getting better.
  1. It's the depth of feelings vs. the height of the adventure:  Kilimanjaro wasn't great because it was tall, but because it changed me deeply.  Being the father of two young children has taught me so much about myself and the world I live in.
  1. It's who you meet vs. where you go:  Tanzania wasn't special because of a temple or monument or landmark.  It was special because of the people.
  2. It's who you become vs. where you've been:  After climbing Kilimanjaro I can honestly say I was a better man.  Now, as a father, I'm constantly being challenged to be a better version of myself, to keep learning and overcoming my own limitations.
Maybe you've found your own personal experiences that more than measure up to a mountain.  If so, please share them with us here or on our Facebook page.
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One Comment

  1. Joe S
    December 14, 2012 | Permalink

    Amen Brother Dan!

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