I’m so ready to be in Tanzania. I wish I could go today. Not just because I am anxious to start my climb or go on safari and see amazing creatures. I’m ready to go because I am so burned out on the United States of America. American life is wearing my down. I’m so sick of it here. I hate the rat race. I desperately long for a more simple way of living. Unfortunately, it’s hard to live that way in this country. Everyone is racing to get ahead at work, to upgrade their lifestyle, to have a better car, a bigger house, a prettier spouse, overachieving children. It’s a place where value is placed on commodities, not on character. It’s an idiocracy. A place where we numb our discontent with sports, movies/television, video games, shopping, and of course, the ultimate opiate of them all…Facebook. And so, I’m tired of it. I am tired of the artifice of it all. Like Neo, I am ready to unplug myself from the Matrix.
I’ve been reading a lot about the porters who help climbers up Kilimanjaro. They work for scraps, really. I think I read they make approximately $20 bucks a climb. Imagine that: 8 days of hard labor, slugging up equipment in a dangerous, low oxygen environment, without the proper clothing just to earn $20. But here in America we complain about the cost of our Netflix subscription. I’m not suggesting that as Americans we are bad people. We’re not. But I do think we are clueless. I remember living in Albania and seeing poverty, true poverty, for the first time and feeling sick to my stomach about the excesses in which I indulge. In Albania my dog lived a better life than the children across the street from me. I think that’s why it angers me so much in this country when I see the level of entitlement that some people have. We have an entire generation of people who think life owes them something. That their existence, their
survival comfort, depends on someone else. I’m not suggesting that there are not poor, hurting people in this nation. There are…but it’s nothing compared to the abject poverty that exists in other places around the world. The bottomline is this: we are a nation of spoiled, petulant children. This statement includes myself.
Maybe it’s the winter of my discontent or just a mid life crisis but I yearn for something more than this routine, self absorbed life I live. Climbing this mountain is so much more than just an opportunity to post cool Facebook photos. It’s more than just a chance to grab a t-shirt that says “I Climbed Kili”. I’m desperately hoping for a spiritual experience on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. I want to be changed by it. I want it to mean something. Something important, something life altering. Something bigger than me.
One of the best feelings to experience, for me, is to stand underneath a star filled sky and grasp the enormity of the universe. I love feeling tiny and insignificant in comparison to God’s creation. Excuse me for a moment while I talk about my faith….but I love knowing that I’m nothing more than a speck of dust in this universe, a creature so tiny that I could be lost at sea and never found, yet God knows me. He knows me by name, he knew me before I was in the womb. So given that fact, surely he has big plans for me, right? I definitely feel like this trip, this journey, this magnificent adventure to Africa is a part of it. I feel like it’s the beginning of something. It has to be because I don’t want it to just be another stamp in my passport.
So far I’ve raised $1050 for the orphans in Africa. That’s a good amount of money and more than I originally expected to raise. But now it seems it’s not enough. I desperately want to get to $2,000.I want to be able to say that , collectively, a group of friends and I made a small drop of change in a sea of suffering that exists in this world. There are such good people out there, doing such wonderful things. Sadly, I am not one of them…but I want to be. Until then I really want to support and build up those who are fighting the good fight…battling to make a difference in the world, even if that difference is to one small child in Zambia or Tanzania.
So yes, I wish I could click my heels and leave today. I’m desperate to find my place, my purpose and I am hoping that standing on the world’s tallest freestanding mountain will allow me a better view of what that is.