Any trip like this leaves you with incredible memories but also some real “take aways” that you learn for the future.
So the old saying “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” does NOT apply when you undertake something like this!
The key learnings for me were:
Teamwork – although in my working life teamwork has always been, and still is, vital, having a team of 10 people working with us to get just two of us to the summit really brings home the reality of what teamwork means. On our own we simply could not have achieved this (or at least I certainly could not!) and it is the strength of people working together that gets you there!
Worth mentioning that this, of course, includes the teamwork between father and son! We both supported one another when needed and, needless to say, neither of us was going to be outdone by the other! But this helped us to get there…
Humility – when confronted by what seem at the time like almost impossible challenges you simply have to become humbled by the experience. At the time you simply “grit your teeth” and get on and do it but looking back you realise that simply not being over confident or “cocky” about it was actually what allowed you to make it to the top. Listening to the guides and learning from them is essential for success and this means you put your own ego on hold and understand that humility and respect for the conditions you are facing is vital. When oxygen levels are 50% of those at sea level you simply have to go at the pace set for you by the guides and you must respect the dangers that you are actually in.
Slowly, Slowly – in Swahili “Pole, Pole” – life today is always “in the fast lane” and one of the real lessons from this trip was that if you want to get to the top there is no short cut or “fast track” no matter who you are! We are used to paying to get there faster or being a VIP means you get special treatment but not climbing Kilimanjaro! Everyone is equal and going slowly actually gives you a much better chance of success than rushing. I remember talking to our guides about the fable of the hare and the tortoise and this was very relevant! see http://childhoodreading.com/?p=3 if you want a quick summary of the story. “More haste, less speed” is another relevant proverb and I have certainly come away from the experience taking a little more time to do things than before.
I am sure I will think of more to add here but this is a good start…