My Kilimanjaro Journey with Scoliosis

For years I haven’t had the fear of my scoliosis overtaking my physical endurance – until I booked my Kilimanjaro trek.

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What most people don’t know about me is that I’ve struggled with scoliosis for 15 years.

For anyone who doesn’t know, scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.

For 5 years, I needed to see a chiropractor every 2 weeks to adjust my spine alignment. If I missed a session, my body would be in so much pain it would become difficult to stand.

Growing up with a family restaurant, I had the opportunity to work as a waitress for many years. However, the constant stress of being on my feet and lifting multiple heavy plates was not always the physical demand my body could keep up with due to my physical condition.

When I started traveling, my initial fear was what would happen to me when I missed that first two-week session to re-align my spine. I had booked a 35-day trip throughout Southern Africa where I would be camping whilst traveling on rough overland roads and there would certainly be no chance to see a chiropractor.

Sure enough, exactly two weeks from my last session and the pain hit me. Luckily I was traveling with my now-boyfriend and had enough to keep me preoccupied to ignore the pain.

Overtime, my condition got better and I stopped going to my chiropractor appointments.

For years, I haven’t had the fear of my scoliosis overtaking my physical endurance until I booked my Kilimanjaro trek. I knew that I would be on my feet for 5-8 hours each day, carrying a backpack of minimum 5lbs. (That may not seem like much, but to me it sounded terrifying.)

At 14 years old, I had to stop wearing backpacks due to the stress weighing down on my shoulders and ultimately the scoliosis in my lower back. For the past 10 years I’ve only worn purses or side-bags to reduce the stress and so I can shift the weight from one shoulder to the other if I started to feel pain.

In my heart, the climb of Africa’s highest mountain was not the most difficult part, but carrying my own backpack for the entire way up.

Overall, I thankfully had no pain with my scoliosis throughout the entire trek – which I credit to having a great backpack with the proper weight support.

Although I didn’t reach the peak of Kilimanjaro, the journey of overcoming my physical disability and truly feeling that from this experience I can achieve anything means more to me than anyone can know. ❤️

Love J.J.

Home

A home is meant to be a place of familiarity, but it is wander and exploration which define a home when you walk through the doors after a glorious adventure.

How else do you come home, if you have not traveled?

How else would you return, if you’ve never left.

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A home is meant to be a place of familiarity, but it is wander and exploration which define a home when you walk through the doors after a glorious adventure.

Home is not a prison. Home is meant to be a nest you return to after you’ve flown off to different parts of the world. ✈️

Love J.J.

[Photos taken at Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan]

LOVE is Always the Answer

If there’s ever a time in your life which you feel stuck, down, confused, disoriented, or at a lost for words – think about “love” and how you can respond to your situation in that one simple act.

Like most people, I often face many questions in life which I feel I cannot answer.

What college should I go?

What restaurant should I eat?

How should I respond to this person?

Why is this happening to me?

Questions that leave us speechless and incomprehensible can sometimes be the greatest gifts we receive – it’s through these questions which we truly find ourselves through one simple word: “LOVE”.

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If you’re ever faced with a situation where you simply cannot find the answer, always remember that the answer is “LOVE”.

What college do I go to? The one which I genuinely love the most.

What restaurant should I eat? The one whose food I love the most.

How should I respond to this person? With love and compassion as how I would like to be treated.

Why is this happening to me? Although I cannot control certain things in life, I will respond to the world with love and focus my attention on the positive and good things that come towards me.

The answer is simple my friends, LOVE.

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If there’s ever a time in your life which you feel stuck, down, confused, disoriented, or at a lost for words – think about “love” and how you can respond to your situation in that one simple act.

Love J.J.

[Photos taken at Asakusa Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan.]

Sunrise Walks in Tokyo

Choosing to explore the city before the town wakes is one of the most delightful experiences a traveler can obtain.

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There’s a reason why birds sing in the morning.

It’s not just because the air is cooler and sound travels further.

It’s because there’s a glorious essence that comes with rising with the sun.

As someone who’s not an early riser, this is a little unbelievable to say…

Choosing to explore the city before the town wakes is one of the most delightful experiences a traveler can obtain.

The tranquility of sunrise and freshness of morning air is a sensation one can simply not explain.

Start your day before the sun rises, and I assure you, you’ll have the world to yourself.

Love J.J.

Adventures Don’t Always Go According to Plan

Sometimes when we lose sight of what path we’re suppose to keep, we find new paths to venture on.

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Adventures don’t always go according to plan.

Day 2 in Tokyo, Japan and our tracks are already rearing off course.

In my mind, that’s how it should be.

Sometimes when we lose sight of what path we’re suppose to keep, we find new paths to venture on.

A failure to enter a 3AM fish market only led to dining in a famous sushi shop for breakfast, getting lost in a sea of stationary, shopping till I dropped (literally) in Ginza, and discovering a local brewed coffee house who’s artistry of caffeine has completely changed by view of coffee culture.

Sometimes when adventures don’t go according to plan, you find better ones along the way.

That’s fine by me. ♥

Love J.J.

The Start of a Journey

The start of a journey can sometimes be fearful, and the path treacherous, however choosing to shift my mind from fear to excitement has made all the difference.

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It’s always so incredibly exciting to start a new journey.

Whether far or near, it’s never hard for me to take off my boots and run with the wind.

The start of a journey can sometimes be fearful, and the path treacherous, however choosing to shift my mind from fear to excitement has made all the difference.

Choose to be excited for life, not fearful. ♥

Love J.J.