Mt. Kenya

I had an incredible trip to Mt. Kenya with my friend Steve. I thought the best way to describe my trip would be through pictures

Before the Trip

Before the trip with our guide Solomon

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Hiking across the Equator, pretty cool

Lord of the Rings-esque scenery on the way up. Just a casual stroll up to Mordor

Lord of the Rings-esque scenery on the way up

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Hanging out

Campsite Night 1

Campsite Night 1

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Campsite Night 2. It was freezing

Picnic on top of the world. Mt. Kenya in the background

Awesome picnic spot. Mt. Kenya in the background

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On top of the world at Point Lenana, 16,355 ft! It was freezing

Sunrise on Mt. Kenya

Sunrise on Mt. Kenya

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There is indeed snow in Africa

 

Overall it was a pretty awesome trip. I’m so glad I made the time to have an adventure and do something I will remember for the rest of my life! In two days I return to the US! Crazy to think that my time in Kenya has ended. I’m excited to see what’s next and stay involved in our project here 🙂

Life at a Quarter Century

Last month I turned 25, a quarter century. Since I probably only have two quarter centuries left (if I’m lucky), I wanted to write down a bucket list – a list of things to do before you “kick the bucket” so to speak. I’m sure I could think of a hundred – some of which I would do and some I wouldn’t get to. So here are my top 20 in no particular order. I also found an awesome website, www.bucketlist.org where you can write down and keep track of all your bucket list items.

1. Plant a Forest

I’ve wanted to do this for a while now. Something about the peace and calm of nature, the environmental benefits of reforestation and the lasting legacy of trees that will live much longer than I will. They don’t know it yet, but Eden Reforestation Projects is going to help me do this

 

2. Write a book

Donald Miller’s honest, quirky style is what I try to imitate when I write. Like my blog, I would write some type of reflection on life, faith and the story of my journey. There’s also a National Novel Writing Month every November, which I think would be cool to attempt.

3. Scuba Dive the World

I need to get a scuba diving license first, but I would love to scuba dive wherever I visit.

4. Round the World Ticket

12 stops. One direction. All the way around the world. Once I figure out a bigger purpose for the trip, all I have to figure out are the logistics, cost and timing.

5. Work at a French Vineyard for a Summer

French intrigues me. The best way to learn a language is immersion, and I might as well become a wine connoisseur in the process.

6. Cinque Terre

This 5-village walk along the Italian Riviera is only accessible by footpaths. The villages look unbelievable.

 

7. Have a Family

This goes without saying I guess. I would love to have a family someday.

8. Create an Endowment Fund

I love the idea of giving a university education to someone who otherwise would have limited opportunities. Endowment funds use interest off investments to fund scholarships, so once they are set up, they should run forever.

9. Cooking Classes

I am a wannabie foodie. It would be cool to really understand different cooking techniques, flavor combinations, etc. and be able to make amazing meals from scratch. Also, I never want to work in a restaurant if I can help it.

10. Grad School

Education provides opportunities. I want to complete an MBA program because I think it will challenge me in important ways and open doors that might have been closed otherwise.

11. Hike Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya

The highest two peaks in Africa, these are the only mountains on the equator with year-round snow.

12. Speak 5 Languages

I currently speak 3.5 (English, Japanese, Spanish & 1/2 Swahili in that order). I need to brush up on my Swahili and French intrigues me.

13. Attend a World Cup

Brazil 2014 would be sick but it’s not going to happen for me.

15. Speak at a TED event

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an awesome speaking format to share all kinds of information and ideas. I’m not sure what I would talk about yet, but while I figure that out, you should check out some of their free videos Here

16. Start a business that employs people.

Ultimately, helping people is what business is all about. I want to start a successful, responsible business that is used to enrich people’s lives (including mine)

17. Become a woodworker

I want to build cool stuff. I want to be able to take a piece of wood and carve it into something awesome that will last forever.

 

18. Trek Nepal

It doesn’t have to be Everest to be amazing

 

19. Learn to Dance… Well

Salsa, swing, tango. Dancing is fun when you’re good

20. Keep learning, keep adventuring.

“Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

 

What’s on your bucket list?

Sugadaira

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A few days ago I finished my ski instructor job in sugadaira. The experience was great. I became a better skier myself and I met some interesting people. I was also encouraged to find that everyone can ski. No matter how bad a kid was on the first day, by the third day they could zip down the slopes. Helping a kid learn a new skill was pretty cool.

I also realized that there is a certain type of abnormal Japanese person that becomes a ski instructor. These "mountain people" don't conform to society's norms and basically do what they want. I decided that I like these people and sort of fit in. Everyone has a unique story and everyone is accepted – we were all just mountain people who loved to ski.

After I finished teaching, my friend Greg and I snowboarded every day. The first day we hit the slopes early, went to a hot spring, ate a slow Italian lunch, took a nap then played chess by the fireplace in the evening. Pretty close to a perfect day if you ask me.

Then yesterday some Japanese ski instructor friends and I decided to climb Nekodake, a 2200 meter peak right behind sugadaira. We strapped on our snowboards and started walking from the top of the lift with snowshoes. Hiking in snow with a board strapped to you back is tough. We made it to the summit in a couple of hours though, saw a shrine, ate our food and decided to head back before we got too cold. Since it had snowed over 40cm over the weekend, the powder was amazing. Our 2 hour walk was depressingly short on a snowboard.

We got down and were just waiting for the last person – a lady in her 40s to finish up. We thought nothing of it and threw snowballs at each other for a while, until 15, 20, then 30 minutes passed. We called her cell phone and got through – she had taken a wrong turn, got stuck in deep powder and was slowly fighting to get back to the main slope. She didn't know how far she had gone down and the weather was rapidly deteriorating. She said she was still warm but at -10C we didn't want to let it get dark. After deliberating for almost an hour, alerting ski patrol and calling the police, another guy and I decided to go out on snow shoes and try to find her. We didn't think she was very far from the road and thought that if we yelled loud enough she might hear us, which is exactly what happened. She had gotten herself back on track and was skiing down when she heard us yelling. She was almost in tears when she saw us and sincerely said she felt lucky to be alive. It was a pretty intense and exhausting, but still a great day.

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