Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Call of Kilimanjaro, Jeff Belanger

nonfiction, mountain climbing, Kilimanjaro, movement, life-changing
*all links to Amazon are affiliate links*

With pandemic living as it is and has been, you may have noticed that I haven't reviewed a book in a while. So when given an opportunity to do so for this book, I was hesitant, but excited. 

Hesitant, because I had no idea if I'd even be able to finish reading. January was FULL of books. I read seven titles. SEVEN. Now. Ask me how many books I completed in February. Go on. Ask. 

Zero. None, y'all. So committing to a book was a bit of a tricky thing. Except I knew I wanted to read this one. And I'm really glad I did. 

Let me offer you a disclaimer right at the start. And it goes beyond the "this book was provided to me by the author" typical blogger detail. Author and adventurer Jeff Belanger is a friend. And so I really hoped I would like his book. But opinions expressed have nothing to do with that. 

Because I really did like his book. 

The Call of Kilimanjaro: Finding Hope Above The Clouds was quite the journey. 

And if you know me? You know that I am not even remotely close to being a climber. 

So, it's no surprise that before reading The Call of Kilimanjaro, I could have never imagined the experience.

I could have never pictured what it meant to make your way up that high. What it would be like to be above the rest of the world, feeling as though you could practically touch the sky.

I could have never understood why someone would be courageous (foolish?) enough to find themselves in a place where they would be so extremely aware of their own ability [or lack thereof] to breathe in the thin air.

But not only did I learn why one would want to tackle such a literal mountain, I also learned that the mountain itself represented so much more. 

I'm the sum total of my scars and my triumphs. I don't want to change those things. 

- p. 7

You know how it is, when you're reading an ebook and you're able to highlight all the sentences that represent something to you? I read a hard copy of this book, and I do not tend to highlight at all when doing that. 

Which is a very slight detriment to my review - because there were so many highlights to this book that left me assessing and reassessing my own life, my own growth, my own mountains.

But don't worry, as you can see, I have a few to share. 

One important lesson Jeff learned in preparation for this journey jumped out at me early on.

That hike showed me how I sometimes move through life: focusing on the goal, the summit, the end of the project. And often missing a lot along the way. - p. 84

Oh. Hi. How many of us have been there? The destination is always more important than the journey. The focus direct. The need to achieve matters most. 

How much do we miss when we don't avert our eyes from where we're headed? When we don't pay attention to the path? 

Fortunately this revelation came early on in preparation for Kilimanjaro. And ensured that Belanger did not miss anything on that journey. Which, I'd wager, is why I'm able to share this book with you today. 

Along with great detail on how he prepared for this climb, the descriptions and photos throughout the book ensure that we feel as though we are right there with him. 

We meet the porters and guides. His fellow adventurers. 

We take each step along the way. Without the effort. Without the training. 

We feel the temperatures drop. The air thin. Hear the wind whisper. 

We feel the weight of it all. Not just what he carries with him. But of his own body and movements, every choice that he makes and has made up to this point. 

We feel and sense everything. 

Because he shares it with us. 

I know, you already know that. Or you think you do. 

But I promise you this book will give you more than you expected. 

Even if you never ever (not in a million years) plan on physically climbing an actual mountain - I mean, it's a VOLCANO, y'all. 

This would be where I'd insert the wide-eyed emoji. 

The journey goes beyond the physical. Jeff takes us to a place we can all relate to. 

He reminds us ...

With real beauty, you're imperfect, you're scarred, you're misshapen, you're weathered, but you still stand tall for all to see. - p. 154

I thank Jeff so very much for that. 

And I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself so you can join him and take your very own journey. 

Grab your copy of The Call of Kilimanjaro: Finding Hope Above The Clouds over on Amazon today.

Meet Jeff and learn more about his other adventures on his website: 

Jeff Belanger: Exploring the Unexplained

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