A Review: "Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life Changing Journey" by Barry Finlay with Chris Finlay
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A Review: "Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life Changing Journey" by Barry Finlay with Chris Finlay

"Kilimanjaro and Beyond" is an inspirational story of a father and son team who decide to climb the highest mountain in Africa to fulfill personal goals and raise money for African schools. The details of their excursion and the aftermath will inspire and challenge others to go after their life dreams.

“Kilimanjaro and Beyond” is not just the story of a father and son who decide to climb a mountain in Tanzania, Africa, it is an illustration of what it takes to reach for and attain your lifelong dreams and goals. All the elements are present - goal setting, preparation, perseverance, risk taking, teamwork, follow up and giving back.  One of the most important points made in the story was the effectiveness of setting small goals and taking small steps as stepping stones to reaching your one main dream.

Sixty-year old Barry and his son Chris decide to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, for both their own personal satisfaction and to raise money for poverty-stricken African schools. They constantly run into obstacles as they begin plans for their trip but are able to overcome all of them, or at least diminish them, to make the treacherous climb.  Barry realized that his upbringing as the son of a farmer did much to prepare him for his trek.  He also embarked on a quest of learning to eat more healthy foods and became more fit and toned through a stringent exercise regime.  Barry and his son are joined on their expedition by a third man, Peter, who had grown up in the area and had returned to fulfill one of his own lifelong dreams.  

The descriptions of the everyday routines of their ascent and the natural elements they come in contact with during their journey make the reading fascinating and very visual. Their relationships with the porters and other members of the touring company, the men hired to assist them in their climb, can be described as appreciative and warm and some of the most interesting readings were of the wonderful and nutritious foods these men were able to prepare and feed the three men in spite of the weather and other climatic conditions.  These dedicated men assisting them with their climb constantly monitored their oxygen levels, breathing and mental states just as individuals need to continuously monitor their goals and use the right tools and mindset to accomplish their visions.   

After their successful climb to the top of the mountain and the treacherous ascent, the two men decide to visit the schools that their donated funds are slated for.  They are both shocked and saddened at the conditions the children are educated in and do all they can to assist the poverty-stricken areas with their fundraising.  

This story was not just an account of a treacherous but fulfilling climb, it was a framework for all who have their own personal goals to achieve. Despite Barry’s age, he did not let this stop him from doing what he felt had had to do. His son Chris had also had several knee injuries which might have deterred the average person but he did not let it hold him back. Even their companion Peter had foot problems but was right next to them all the way to the top even though he was often in extreme pain.

Barry Finlay included several photos of their expedition in the book. They give even more clarity to the trials and tribulations it took to achieve their goal of scaling the mountain and raising money for the African children’s education. Not only did Barry and his son raise thousands of dollars for new classrooms and water facilities, they returned to Africa later to visit the children and see what progress had been down with the contributions they had sent. The mountain stood before them as a reminder of how far they had come and future goals that could be attained with dedication, perseverance and tenacity.

In his laid-back casual tone, Finlay writes this inspirational piece to make it clear that anyone can achieve their dreams despite age restrictions, health problems or serious doubts. At first inspection, this book may land on a shelf of travel books or biographies but with the underlying messages that becomes so clear as the reader finishes the book, this story definitely belongs in the motivational section of any bookstore or online source.      


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Comments (1)

This is the kind of stuff I like to read.  Thanks!