“I have realized that the most challenging mountains are the ones inside… Pride, doubt, grief – these mountains are more formidable than any physical mountain I could ever scale. No, I am not expecting to get to the top any time soon – some mountains take a lifetime to climb.”
These words are as true now as they were when I first wrote them in our Kilimanjaro memoir back in 2014. You see, the first draft of the German translation was ready in 2015, but it took me a further two years to have the guts to officially publish it.
For a long time I put the delay down to translation issues, but I now realize that the real problem were identity issues. I found it hard to truly own my part of the story. I did not like to acknowledge that I hold my treasure in a fragile, broken clay jar and would have preferred a container of precious metal – scratch-proof, shiny and unbreakable.
No matter how much positive feedback we got, I still wished I had a different story to tell, but recently it finally dawned on me that my story gives others permission to share about their pain and disappointments.
I would not dare to claim that I have reached the mountain top yet, but I am heading in the right direction.
The German book has an updated cover – what may appear to be a cosmetic change represents a big step forward in the journey.
For the first time, the paperback has a photo of us on the back, and I am also using my real name, which is much rarer than my pen name. I have decided to come out of hiding and stay out of hiding because vulnerability ultimately is a gift rather than a liability.
About the author: Sue Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity. The German translation Wie man einen Berg bezwingt: Was der Kilimanjaro uns gelehrt hat was published in June 2017.