Updated: May 16, 2021
Dear Africana Woman,
Sis I just got back from the hike and I could not wait to tell you what happened. It was an amazing experience. Here’s the thing, hiking is an art. I did not know this. I mean I see my friends like Kanya and Annie do it and they make it look so effortless, but Darling don’t do it if you are not ready. What I am going to do here on, is walk you through step by step the art of hiking and what I learned.
Right at the beginning, our tour guide, Mwaba, pulled us into a circle for a brief, and he said to us, “I want you to explore three things: yourself, your fellow hikers and your environment” I was like okay. Explore yourself.
When you decide to go on a hike, it is a full commitment. I know I jest a lot, but I was fully aware that no one could do the hike for me. I had to do this on my own. Just like no one can lose weight for you, or no one can get you out of debt. Nope you have to make a decision to follow through with behavioural changes and actions to achieving whatever task that has been set before you. However, before you set out to do any big project or make a major shift in your life, I want you to ask yourself this question:
Are you interested or are you committed? Patrice Washington
Babe when we arrived at the starting point and stood around for the brief, you could immediately tell who were the new kids on the block. We were so inappropriately dressed It was border line embarrassing. Everybody had long pants, long socks, and then some chose to wear long sleeved shirts, They sprayed themselves with insect repellent, applied sunscreen and took either antihistamine or allergy medication.
Gurl the only thing I got right was the hiking boots. But both AKS and I were in shorts like we were headed to the beach. I did not have any medication in case of any emergency. Like we looked crazy. To be honest my one and only hat, I bought from a beach town. Oh and the best part I took a carrier bag. LOL
But it got me thinking about two things:
Doing your due diligence to find out more about where you are going. Listen, I practically work in a place where there is a hiking/camping culture. There was no shortage of people to ask. But I did not and I honestly don’t have a good enough excuse.
Showing up anyway. The problem is that some of you get stuck in the research and over thinking of things. Then over information paralyses you. I could have done research and learned about all the handy tools and gadgets but then decided that I could not go for the hike until I had bought all the shiny objects. (Which, by the way are freaking expensive). Then, by the time I actually raised the money, years could have passed or even worse I could have given up and not gone at all. Instead, we showed up anyway, and learned from the Proximity Principle (Ken Coleman). Sure I got scratched along the way, but I sure didn’t die and next time I will know for sure what to bring. To sum up, I want you to ask yourself:
Are you willing to show up anyway and do it scared?
Sweety, this was literally a Battle of the Hills. Chulu vs. Bululwe Hill. (If you missed it my name means Hill. Check out this video I did explaining the meaning of my names). Can I just stop to give a shout out to Mwaba Mwila Adventures. Not only are they guiding you on where to walk but they are also coaching you mentally.
What people don’t tell you is that the 80% of the reason you successfully complete the hike hinges on your mindset. Are you strong mentally? Are you persistent? Are you resilient? Are you consistently putting one foot in front of the other? And is your mind stronger than your body when they eventually will get into a fight.
There were several moments when Bululwe almost broke me. What I mean by that is that it almost broke my spirit, my will to go on. I almost gave up several times, and I am not ashamed to say it. Mhm
You see everyone focuses on getting to the top but no one talks about coming back down. The mission was NEVER to get to the top and stay there. The mission was to complete the journey, which includes going up and DOWN. And if you are like me, you know that when God put you on this earth He gave you a mission. It was never His intention that you stay at the top. And don’t get me wrong He wants you to reach the top BUT only for a season. The reason is, He wants you to learn, how to come down from your glory with ease and grace. But it doesn’t stop there. Your knowledge is not for you alone. It’s meant to be shared. Don’t hold onto your story, your gifts and your talents. In fact, there is a message in your mess. Somebody needs what you have to share. And remember just because you came down does not mean you lost it all. No honey, it means you gained so much more, including but certainly not limited to Experience, Confidence, and a Community.
Back to the story. So the first point when I almost gave up was on the climb up, which was divided into three stages. The first stage was okay. Partly flat ground and partly a soft gradient. So we eased into the first indication of success. However, the second stage was Steep. I was panting and heaving. My legs were sore. I kept stopping. I said out loud, “I need to find it in myself to keep going” I looked back and was blown away by how far I had come already. There really was no going back, so I grabbed everything from grass to twigs to pull myself to the next level of success. Oh the reward was even more stunning but it still was not the top. Funny enough the third stage was not as steep, therefore, not as hard, but I still put in my sweat to get to the top.
Can I be honest with you? When I got to the top, all I wanted to do was sit down. I was tired. Exhausted. I could not even take in my surroundings. If this is you. You reached the top but it doesn’t feel like a win and you can’t take it in, I want you to know that what you are feeling is normal. It’s okay to take a break, catch your breath and then take in the view. Take ALL of it in. You did that. You deserve to celebrate.
Alas we could not stay at the top so we had to start our descent. And hence moment #2 that almost broke me. After it finally sunk in that the point of the hike was not to reach the top, I quickly realised that coming down was just as hard, if not harder than coming up. It was a rude shock. At some point the path was so degraded that it was not level enough to stand straight on your two feet. Therefore, our guides instructed us to do a crab like walk along the mountain to get to a level path. By this point my knees were shaking, not because of fear, but because I had put a lot of pressure on them on the way up that they had not had time to recuperate. SHAKING.
Have you ever felt like your body betrayed you?
Well I then became terrified that my knees would buckle as I tried to navigate this pathless section and I would then fall over the side of the mountain. But two things happened.
My fellow hikers cheered me on. I cannot say enough about finding a supportive community.
Two of my Guides stopped everything else to focus on me. They coached me through it, the held my hand at times, they recognised that I was too loaded with gear and they took off my load for a period. They were patient, they were kind, they would not let me give up. Now that I am thinking about it, I am actually crying.
I know you are hesitating about hiring a coach or joining a mastermind or a community or whatever support you need right now. But there are times when you just cannot do it alone. You need someone there to root for you, who wants the best for you and who will not give up on you. That’s what a coach does. That’s what a therapist does. That’s what a mentor does. Stop hesitating. Get the Help Now. You will be a 1000 times better for it.
The final moment that almost broke me was in the last 2 to 1.5 kms of the hike. To be honest, I was angry. There is nothing worse than knowing the end is in site, but it just does not seem to be showing itself. What also grated my nerves is that we were supposed to be coming down from the hill but it was not a straight shot down. No Babe. It kept going up and down, up and down and I was like I already worked so hard to climb up, so why am I being made to climb up again multiple times on my journey down. Let me tell you, the very last section was a mini hill. I am pretty sure I stopped 6 times. Just thinking, I will lie here on the floor and let someone bring their car to pick me up, because this is nonsense.
I’m going to share something honest, open and transparent with you at great cost to my ego. #TCNation. You see I have a persistent habit of starting something but not actually finishing it. There are many a project that I start but do not actually follow through to the end as I easily move on to the shiny new object. In those last dying moments of the hike, I felt in my spirit a simple instruction,
“Finish the journey. Because I want you to know that you are capable of finishing the path that I set you on. How you do it is not relevant. What is important is that you do finish.”
Wobbly knees and aching ankles, I pushed myself one last time and walked past the finish line.
One may ask who won the Battle of the Hills. I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that this Hill beat Bululwe hill. Do catch me on socials @ChuluByDesign where I will be sharing more pictures of the hike. Listen Zambia is beautiful. Also catch the amazing episodes on Africana Woman podcast. And I was honoured to be interviewed on She's the Boss. Do watch the interview here. Finally, my heart for you my darling is that you love yourself flaws and all, and attract the life that you truly desire.