AFRICA. Kilimanjaro. Names that make an adventurous heart skip and jump.
Names found in a cocktail of old adventure tales, the origins of mankind, brutal wars and some of the most magnificent animals merge with the more modern take of the continent of Didier Drogba, the Toure brothers and of course, diamonds.
Here I am on Kilimanjaro, the cold late afternoon wind in my face, the second day of my attempted trek up "Kili" (no, not that dwarf friend of Bilbo Baggins).
I have prepared meticulously as is my nature, meaning: many hours spent with a cold beverage in my hand, a monthly frolic in the Gasing Hills of Petaling Jaya and a steely resolve to carbo load on nasi lemak, banana leaf lunches and Hokkien noodles.
In other words, my fitness has left the building many times over.
I am standing at Shira Hut looking over the Shira Plateau before me. Behind me, Kilimanjaro in its glacier-crowned glory lords over us under the brilliant evening sunshine. This is when it hits me.
I'm the furthest out of my comfort zone.
Further than when I crossed the Thronglar Pass in Nepal, further than pushing past the breaking point of my physical boundaries when trekking across the highlands of Borneo and definitely even further past the fear factor of spending a night in an unofficial morgue on top of a mountain that will not be named.