As 2020 comes to a close the Share Your Story Series wraps up. This Sunday, we bring you Debra Adams. Debra is our second Share Your Story participant to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. How incredible is that?
Debra shows us that we can pursue our dreams at any age. That with determination, support, planning, and practice, we can accomplish anything we set our sights on. You can now find Debra exploring new career possibilities and entertaining the thought of moving back to Canada.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
DEBRA: I wanted to take the opportunity to share my experience of trekking and successfully summiting Mt Kilimanjaro at age 55. My trek, via the Lemosho Route, was an 8-day trek. Mt Kilimanjaro height is 19,341’ / 5,895 m.
At a high school reunion, one of my classmates, Patty, a consummate hiker, with her own hiking club, mentioned wanting to trek Mt Kilimanjaro. (Amazingly, I had Kili as #1 on the Bucket List I created at age 40. I’ve never hiked or trekked, but for some reason, wanted to do this. I guess reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro as a teenager put lofty dreams in my head!)
It took a few years for the plan to come together, but it did. Patty and her best friend, and fellow classmate, Robyn, selected Team Leader, TJ Hiker to lead our expedition up Mt Kilimanjaro. Soon, the date was set and friends of friends joined the group. In all, there were 10 of us to create “Team Kilimanjaro, Baby!” All 10 team members successfully summited Kili.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
“I struggled to get into shape”
DEBRA: Before I even left, I struggled to get into shape and was constantly fearful that I wasn’t going to make the summit. I was also living in the UAE, while most of our Team was in the U.S., so the distance was tough.
KUELLIFE: How did you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
DEBRA: Friends! So many friends motivated and encouraged me. I worked out at the gym with my husband and walked miles and miles with my friend Dessy. Another friend, Russell, who had trekked Kili, took me hiking up Jebel Hafeet, in Abu Dhabi, to prepare me for summit night. Consulting with Patty, Robyn and TJ on Facebook to help me acquire my equipment for the 8-day trek was also helpful and motivating. So many people were supporting me.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
DEBRA: You’re never too old to pursue your dreams, create a new hobby or expand on the ones you have. If you haven’t already done so, create a BUCKET LIST and begin crossing items off. I dedicated my trek to my father, who never lived to see 55 (he died at age 54) so trekking Kili at 55 in February (my Dad’s birthday was February 1st) meant so much to me.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
DEBRA: At some point on the trek, everyone became vulnerable. My advice is to admit your vulnerability and ask for help (a literal hand up, a prayer, a snack, an ear to listen). I could not have made it up without the help of my teammates and the Zara Tour guides.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
DEBRA: My paternal Grandparents, Paul and Ona Adams. Their stories of living through the Great Depression (leaving Oklahoma and migrating to California via Arizona) taught me perseverance.They also taught me gratitude.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
DEBRA: Be courageous: Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. You’ll be richer for it.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
DEBRA: There are two: Anna and Wendy. Anna is my biggest cheerleader and Wendy, who is fierce and fearless.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
DEBRA: Yes, but I’m a work-in-progress.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
DEBRA: I’m actually very bad at it – and have suffered from lack of it. That being said, I’m writing from a small loft in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I drove, by myself, from Northern California, which took three days and two nights and a ferry crossing, to reach my beloved Canada. I’m currently complying with a mandatory 14-day quarantine and loving it! Restorative Quarantine, I’m calling it.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list:
DEBRA: Paris, Christmas Market in Prague, Scotland