Here we go then. An idea that hatched over 8 months ago was about to become a reality.
I had been seriously nervous in the past few days,questioning myself, and what I was doing. At the same time though I was very excited. I was heading for an experience like no other I had been through in my life. More so I was doing it to help Greyhound Rescue West of England, and the hounds that they look after.
I was about to take myself way out of my comfort zone. Only good things could come from this, I knew that, but the nerves were still there.
I had received so many good luck messages from not only my friends,family and GRWE volunteers. But also from people who could see what I was attempting in order to help these wonderful dogs. It filled me with so much pride, and I knew that thinking of all the positive messages would spur me on throughout my adventure.
I had somehow managed a good nights sleep and woke around 8am. No rush today, so I went back to sleep till 9 then got up. I spent the morning rechecking my kit bags and then listened to music to try and relax.
At 1pm I left for the airport. My father kindly gave me a lift to Heathrow. It was a 2 hour journey. We didn't really talk much about the trip. I think my father could sense I was nervous and so we dodged the whole subject.
I said my goodbyes to my father at the drop off point at terminal 4. I made my way very slowly to the terminal entrance. I have travelled by myself before,so I wasn't nervous about that. Something, oh about nineteen thousand feet high was giving me the jitters.
As I walked in to the terminal I was looking for a coffee bar. I was around 2 hours early for the time I was supposed to meet the Action Challenge team and my fellow climbers. To my surprise someone walked past me enquiring 'Action Challenge?' pointing at my big red and black holdall with Action Challenge emblazoned on the side. Taken aback I looked at the man, and replied 'yes' The man shook my hand and introduced himself as Dean, the leader of my trip.
We walked together to the Kenya Airways check in zone and talked. I felt much less nervous now and more relaxed. Dean went for some food so I guarded his bag and my own until he returned. In the meantime more of the group arrived and we introduced ourselves and chatted briefly. Excitement and apprehension summed all of us up well I think.
Dean arranged to meet us at our gate 30 minutes prior to our boarding time. So we checked in and went through security and all did our own things. I went and found a cafe and enjoyed a latte and a breakfast ciabatta .It was possibly then, that I really got into the adventure spirit. I'm here because I want to be here. I've trained hard for this,and I'm ready for it. I'm going to enjoy as much of it as I can, and gut it out when I need to, to realise my dream of standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
I got to the departure gate around 5pm and was talking to Dave,Grady,Alice and Jack. We seemed to have had the same issues packing and the same mix of nerves and excitement. Dave and I had also trained very similarly.
Dean gathered our group of 25 and introduced us to our trip doctor,Amanda. Dean explained we would get a full brief when we got to our hotel in Tanzania, but today was just a case of actually getting there. I boarded the 2000 Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi and found my seat in the middle row. I had an aisle seat,an empty seat to my right, and a fellow group member Andy had the other seat in the row.
Andy and I hit it off straight away, we share a passion for football and beer. We talked for a while and then tried unsuccessfully to get much sleep before landing in Nairobi.