Climbing Kili is magical. For many people it's also life-changing. If you already live in Africa, especially at high altitude in Johannesburg, you'd do yourself a disservice if you didn't give the highest free-standing mountain in the world at least serious consideration. You don't need to be a mountain-climber. All you need is a spirit of adventure, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of humor.
Today's milestone will be my first live interview. No, not on the Daily Show, I'm afraid. Jon Stewart managed to be leaving just before I got famous enough for him to come knocking at my door. All the same, I'm very excited about this interview where I'll be sharing everything there is to know about Kilimanjaro Diaries.
I may have managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but one thing I didn't manage to do was use my climb to raise money and awareness for a good cause. If you've read my book, Kilimanjaro Diaries, you'll know that I made light of the fact that all Kili climbs seem to attract people yearning to do good, and that I seemed to be the lone exception. Here is someone who does support a cause.
Whew! I'm glad that's done and dusted. Kilimanjaro Diaries has been translated into German. I did learn a lot about the German language in the process. That, for instance, just because a comma might be in a certain place in an English sentence, it has no bearing on whether or when it will appear in a German one. Although it is extremely likely it will appear often.
Lots of stuff happens when you're an expat. You see new places, you meet new people, and you have plenty to write about. Then you move back home, and that year is kind of busy too. You pack and unpack household goods until they come out your ears, you get settled in new schools and places of work, and once again you have plenty to write about.
You don't have to have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to be able to answer a bit of trivia about it. You don't even have to have read Kilimanjaro Diaries, though it does help a great deal. You will be an instant teacher's pet if you have. For instance, do you know how many attempts the first man to summit Kili undertook? What the record for its fastest ascent is? Who Johannes Rebmann was?
Just like climbing Kili, being involved with a sports team in one of the most impoverished townships in South Africa is incredibly difficult and rewarding at the same time. In both cases progress is very slow. You take one step at a time. Often the route is not direct and you find yourself circling the summit instead. I'm thrilled to bring two passions of mine together in one great cause.
I have written and published my first book, and it has nothing to do with being an expat or living in Johannesburg, seeing as its main action takes you to almost 4,000 kilometers from there. And somehow this makes me feel like I've betrayed my readers in some way. So why choose Kilimanjaro over Joburg?
I know you're just dying to find out which might be the most important item to pack in your Kilimanjaro bag - the wet wipes or the hiking poles (hint: It's a close one!). Or how many Tanzanian shillings you should bring to cover all the alcohol you need to get senselessly drunk at your hotel bar afterwards. And whether zip-off pants are really such a fashion faux-pas after all.
After months of wading knee-deep in paragraph styles, margins, and those devilish Word section breaks I'll soon tell you more about, it feels almost anticlimactic. It feels more like I want to take a long rest, especially from all things keyboard and word processor. And yet I do want to celebrate this milestone, because that's what it is. I published my first Paperback!