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Advisory Board

Meet the Kilimanjaro Advisory Board members! These enthusiastic past travelers help us fine-tune our trips to make your Kilimanjaro experience even more unforgettable. They also help us spread the word about Thomson’s life-changing treks. We’re so grateful for their input, and we’re proud to have them as part of the Thomson family!

Advisory board member - LENA BENT

LENA BENT

My dream trek: Kili – there’s just something about Africa that made this extremely special. Another: Aconcagua in Argentina!

Most memorable moment on Kili: In the kitchen tent with my group and guides, laughing until I had tears in my eyes.

Most memorable meal: Delicious homemade chocolate chip granola bars saved from the day before. The best I’ve ever had and I was so happy to find one in my pocket! It gave me the energy to make it to Uhuru Peak.

Something unexpected: I volunteered in South Africa for three months after college and moved there for work after! I loved it and met many people who trekked Kilimanjaro, inspiring me to do it!

Advisory board member - RICK BISCHOFF

RICK BISCHOFF

My dream trek: Nepal with my son and daughter and at least to Base Camp at Everest.

Most memorable moment on Kili: The night of the summit. Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro with my son and daughter was such a special moment. It is one that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

Most memorable meal: Guinea pig in Cusco, Peru.

Something unexpected: I have run 25 marathons.

Advisory board member - STEPHEN CHRISS

STEPHEN CHRISS

My dream trek: Kilimanjaro! My list also includes Macchu Pichu, Patagonia, New Zealand, Iceland and Morocco.

Most memorable moment on Kili: It is the entire experience of Kili that culminates in it being a once in a lifetime experience… from the Thomson airport greeting to lunch after the Mountain and the spectacular journey in between. Truly amazing!

Most memorable meal: Snorkeling in a deserted Cay of Exhuma, Bahamas:the fresh conch meat salad just captured from our dive. Sea to Beach to Mouth – Yum!

Something unexpected: I continue to surprise myself and others about who I am. At 52 years old, I’m still learning much about life and living it to the fullest.

Advisory board member - MIRIAM CHUNG

MIRIAM CHUNG

My dream trek: Upper Mustang/Dolpo region or Gokyo Lakes in Nepal. 

Most memorable moment on Kili: Reaching the summit and hugging my husband.

Most memorable meal: Eating warm soup near Stella Point after trekking for over 6 hours in the cold and wind. So grateful for the staff (cooks, porters, guides) who surprised us with the best soup ever.

Two words to describe my trek: Empowering and humbling

Advisory board member - BEN CURRAN

BEN CURRAN

My dream trek: Either a lengthy part of the Appalachian Trail or to hike Ras Dashen (14,930 ft) in the Simien Mountains of northern Ethiopia.

Most memorable moment on Kili: Singing the Tanzanian anthem, Mungu Ibariki Tanzania (God Bless Tanzania) at the summit or listening to reggae music with porters at 16,000 feet.

Something unexpected: After having lived in Tanzania for four years as a child and going to boarding school in the Usambara Mountains not too far from Kilimanjaro, I plan on returning to work there in the relief and development arena.

Two words to describe my trek: Mambo Poa or Sawa sawa  — variations of pretty cool.

Advisory board member - MICHAEL GREEN

MICHAEL GREEN

My dream trek: Patagonia. Beautiful mountain ranges, glaciers and lagoons – what more could an adventurous family want?

Most memorable moment on Kili: Meeting the guides and the others who would be joking with my brother and I on the trek! I was excited but overwhelmed.

Most memorable meal: Rome, Italy with my wife and mother-in-law. We took her there for her 80th birthday!

Something unexpected: I love hiking at elevation but have lived my entire life at sea-level.

 

Advisory board member - STEPHANIE HENRY

STEPHANIE HENRY

My dream trek: Nepal

Most memorable moment on Kili: Summit day! Besides reaching Uhuru, I watched the almost full moon go down over Uhuru peak and the sunrise over Meru! Stunning!

Most memorable meal: I am definitely not a foodie and I truly only remember meals that I didn’t like. That said, all of the meals on our trek were fantastic with plenty of options. The soups every day were especially tasty.

Something unexpected: I am new to trekking. Kili was my first big trek!

Two words to describe my trek: Inspiring and Spiritual

Advisory board member - MICHAEL JACOBS

MICHAEL JACOBS

My dream trek: Patagonia/Machu Picchu/Andes

Most memorable moment on Kili: The greeting receptions from our guides and porters at the end of the first day and on the last night. “Priceless”

Something unexpected: My age, nearly 69 when I embarked on this trip. My fellow trekkers were surprised. I don’t accept age as an excuse for not pursuing a dream.

Two words to describe my trek: “Numinous” – that magical feeling you get when you see something awe-inspiring in front of you. “Humbled” – I came away humbled by the friendliness and generosity of everyone in Tanzania. I fell in love with the country and the people. I’ll never forget them.

Advisory board member - ONA JONAITYE

ONA JONAITYE

My dream trek: The Snowman Trek in Bhutan

Most memorable moment on Kili: PEOPLE! The people we were with including our guides, porters and cook made my Kili trek a most wonderful experience.

Most memorable meal: The bowl of soup and sweet rolled up bread with honey halfway up to Uhuru peak. It lifted the spirit and helped the body summit Kili that day.

Something unexpected: I am a professional musician and of course, I brought a flute all the way to the summit of Kili! I played Mozart Flute Concerto in my tent in Karanga camp looking over the mountain ridge and the clouds below. It was a special moment.

 

Advisory board member - EVA KARL

EVA KARL

My dream trek: I am not much of a trekker but I would choose Hawaii or Mount Meru because I love Africa!

Most memorable moment on Kili: Reaching Shira 2 camp and being above the clouds for the first time and seeing the sun shine through.

Most memorable meal: Coleman’s corn fritters and pumpkin soup after the long trek to Lava tower. I crave those almost every day.

Something unexpected: I have never climbed a mountain and Kili has been by far my greatest and most unexpected achievement. I am not an outdoorsy girl!

Two words to describe my trek: Epic and Magical

Advisory board member - EDITH KIRKLAND

EDITH KIRKLAND

My dream trek: This is hard because I want to go everywhere. New Zealand. My husband is an avid fly fisherman and there are incredible hikes, beaches, mountains, views, countryside and towns. A wonderful place to spend a few weeks.

Most memorable moment on Kili: Waking up at Shira 1 camp in the middle of the night and walking outside my tent to see Uruhu Peak completely lit up by the almost full moon.

Something unexpected: I’m a certified health coach but my favorite thing in the world is dessert!!

Two words to describe my trek: Surprising and Sensational

Advisory board member - DOUG MADER

DOUG MADER

My dream trek: South Pole

Most memorable moment on Kili: Reaching the summit was an unforgettable, incredible experience.

Something unexpected: After a terrible auto accident years ago, I’ve had over 20 surgeries, including 5 spinal surgeries. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would be able to climb Kili. Although I trained hard for 6 months, I still had doubts. Polite Moboma, our guide, and Thomson made it possible.

Two words to describe my trek: Bucket List

Advisory board member - ROBERT MEDEARIS

ROBERT MEDEARIS

My dream trek: Among the Himalayas in Nepal to Everest Base Camp

Most memorable moment on Kili: My wife and I are comfortable in mountain terrain including the Barranco Wall. As we started up we hooted and hollered with excitement, which quickly caught on among all. As we ascended a direct route we surprised many of the porters and guides with our enthusiasm.

Most memorable meal: Traveling on business to Urumqi within the Xinjaian province of China I attended a formal banquet where the chief carted out a whole and fully cooked goat with horns and all. What a presentation!

Something unexpected: I fear heights.

 

Advisory board member - MICHAEL MORSE

MICHAEL MORSE

My dream trek: Machu Picchu

Most memorable moment on Kili: Gazing at the golden sunlit hill at the end of summit day…when I knew we had made it.

Most memorable meal: The Mexican omelet while trekking Kili.

Something unexpected: I build Djembes and teach African drumming.

Two words to describe my trek: Ultimate Satisfaction

Advisory board member - HENRY SMITH

HENRY SMITH

My dream trek: South America’s classic treks: Machu Picchu or Patagonia, and the K2 Base Camp trek in the Karakoram Himalaya.

Most memorable moment on Kili: Reaching the summit with my family and enjoying the guides and porters singing on the mountain.

Most memorable meal: My son Daniel’s surprise birthday dinner and cake at Barafu camp high on Kilimanjaro and the wonderful picnic lunch waiting for us half way down the summit route.

Something unexpected: I play drums and bass guitar in a rock band.

Two words to describe my trek: Incredible and Amazing

Advisory board member - VILMA TAFAWA

VILMA TAFAWA

My dream trek: My dream trip will be to witness the wildebeests crossing the Masaai Mara River.

Most memorable moment on Kili: Climbing the Barranco wall, experiencing the sunrise and reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Something unexpected: My husband and I have lived and worked in every continent of the world, except Antarctica, accompanied by our children.

Two words to describe my trek: Stunning and Compelling