Sam-1Meet Sam, a Thomson staffer and hiker extraordinaire! She’s headed to Kilimanjaro later this year, and is sharing the training tips that will increase her chance of summiting the Roof of Africa. She’s also letting us in on what motivates her to travel, and keeps her going when training is hard. We hope you are as inspired as we are.

Why is travel important to you?
My mother was a travel agent for over 20 years and she definitely gave me the travel bug! We visited friends in Bermuda, family in Italy, and even skipped a day of kindergarten to explore Montreal! Sadly my mother is no longer with us, but she remains my inspiration to travel, encounter new cultures, and see the world.

What’s your relationship to the outdoors?
I got my taste for the great outdoors from my Dad, with whom I spent many hours rambling in the beautiful woods near my town, crossing over cool streams and throwing rocks into the woods, pretending we could hear gnomes catching them. This lead to bigger hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, including South Kinsman, which I hiked when I was 11. My love of the outdoors later drove me to Yellowstone National Park, where I worked for a summer in the Employee Recreation Program. I did a lot of hiking and backpacking, making it one of the best experiences of my life.


yellowstone-guideSam leading a group of Yellowstone employees in Teton National Park

yellowstone-snowSam hiking Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone National Park

What is your first impression of Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is definitely going to be the experience of a lifetime. After studying it extensively, it’s really starting to sink in as I realize what a great physical challenge this will be. I’ve never really been an athlete, and only discovered the rewards of pushing myself and working out in my 20s. This is going to take it to a whole new level.

Even though I spend all day speaking with guests about Kilimanjaro, I’m still in awe of the mountain. I recently re-watched the David Breashears film, Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa, and the challenge I’m undertaking really hit me. Like everyone else who summited before me, I’ll need to take it one step at a time! I think this will be like nothing I’ve ever done before, and I hope soon to taste the accomplishment of reaching the summit and living to tell the tale. I think when you accomplish something that you never thought you could, it changes how you feel about yourself, and empowers you to make your life dreams a reality.

Let’s talk Kili training
With the help of Marcus Shapiro of Fit for Trips, I’ve started with exercises like stair workouts, squats, lunges, and treadmill routines. I’m grateful to have Marcus who’s helping me train smart – doing the right exercises to help me succeed. I’m a little nervous because I know I need to put in the work, even with a busy schedule, but I know it will be worth it.


How do you spend your time outside of work and training?
These days I’m living in the city, following the axiom of work hard, play hard. I spend my time after work swimming, and singing with my rock band, Radium Girls. As the singer, I write the lyrics and the melodies for our songs which are inspired by revenge, nonsense, and magic markers. We’ve just started playing live gigs and it’s been a blast!

Follow along with weekly updates from Sam over at our Facebook and Twitter pages.