Those who know me well know I cultivated my love for the mountains with Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2001. After five days climbing as a complete novice I found myself on a midnight summit bid. Hours later as the sun rose I earned my reward. Standing 19,341ft above sea level on the Roof of Africa I saw with my own eyes that the world is round. Up till that moment I hadn’t experienced such a profound and immediate sense of being alive, aware and present. That feeling continues to positively impact me throughout my life.
After summiting the Mexican Volcanoes in 2009 I decided to pack my gear away in pursuit of the academic experiences that eluded me earlier in life. Unable to satisfy my wander lust while writing papers at NYU, yet still longing to be outdoors all day, I began (and continue) a profoundly meaningful journey of self-discovery through the game of golf. But that is another blog for another time!
When people ask me why I am drawn to go to such faraway places to be cold; to be uncomfortable; to be tired, my answer is always the same. Climbing is clarity. It is my center. It is how I maintain perspective on what I truly value. In the physical sense, what I value when climbing must be carried in and carried out so hard choices must be made. Then there are the philosophical values around a climb. These include the ability to be honest with myself, to know what I am capable of, what my limitations are, how to care for myself, how to be fully capable and self-sufficient so, ironically, I am strong enough to be part of a great team and care for others. What else is there?
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