On our epic trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, we took the Western Approach route, which led us to traverse 43 miles in 9 days. We trekked through 5 different climates: rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and the arctic.

The hardest part of our journey was overcoming the mind and the limitations it tries to impose. We lived outside of our comfort zone for 9 days, sleeping in the freezing cold, “bathing” in an inch of water, plummeting into heartbreakingly steep valleys only to have to ascend again, living in the most beautiful of mirages where camp was always just beyond the “next ridge.”

The day we summited was the hardest and most rewarding day of my life. The air all but disappeared at 18,000ft, and I wondered more than once how I was going to make it all the way to Uhuru Peak at 19,341ft. I share my success with my team and my mom, and can say that the easiest way to get up a mountain is to help someone else. Words will never be able to explain how beautiful the Roof of Africa is. It is like being in another world altogether–a collision of the moon, the arctic, and a land I’d never known. If Mt. Kilimanjaro isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. We laughed, we cried, we wondered what the he!! we were doing, and walked away from that strangely beautiful mountain somehow different.

Immense thanks to you and your PHENOMENAL team in Tanzania! I cannot praise everyone enough: James, Nestory, Prosper, Lucas, Sistus, Ignus, Ezekiel, Buta and so many more. I am unexpectedly homesick for the mountain. There was something healing in the simple rhythm of the day, silently reminding me of the false complexity we have attributed to life and, perhaps, how removed we have become from our purpose. Truth and freedom are all around us, and I have never tasted it quite as purely as I did on Mt. Kilimanjaro.