I’m Off To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro This Weekend

This Sunday I will be on an airplane on my way to Amsterdam to make a connecting flight on another plane that will bring me into Tanzania, Africa. By Tuesday, I will be hiking up one of the tallest mountains in the world—Mount Kilimanjaro.
My friend John Schirrippa (who works at the Pentagon and who I lovingly call “Pentagon John”) and I decided to take a trip for our 30th birthdays, and we decided that we wanted to do something that is really cool, really exciting, really unique and slightly dangerous. So I came up with the idea to climb Mount Kilamanjaro.
Now I say slightly dangerous because personally I don’t think climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is really all that dangerous. It is amazing to me how many people think that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the craziest things in the world to do.
Let me set the record straight—Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a nine-day hike up the mountain by following a trail. I won’t be hanging off the mountain with ropes, I won’t be climbing vertically with my arms. I will literally be on a really long walk. Now this in itself really sucks because there are going to be no showers and it is going to get extremely cold as you get closer to the top. The other thing to worry about when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness, which terrifies me, as well as a number of different types of diseases that you can get but thankfully get vaccinated for before you are even allowed to enter into Tanzania.
I recently got vaccinated for all of these diseases, but one disease that I did not get vaccinated for that Pentagon John did get vaccinated for is yellow fever, which is apparently caused by mosquitoes. If you don’t have a vaccination and catch yellow fever there is a good chance that you can die. So you might be asking why in the hell did I not get vaccinated for yellow fever? My doctor told me that I did not need to get a yellow fever vaccination because the CDC does not require it in Tanzania. However all of the countries surrounding Tanzania require yellow fever vaccination.
My doctor just said “Trust me, you don’t need it,” and I sat there very angry and frustrated, because I just felt like it wasn’t a big deal to get the shot. Better to have it then not, I figure. So yes, I’m a little worried about it.
Recently I took a walk through the woods in Sag Harbor for no more than half an hour, and when I got home I had an array of bites across my ankles that hurt so bad I seriously was worried I contracted some sort of flesh eating virus. I later found out that what was causing these marks were chiggers, which are these tiny awful creatures that burrow into your skin. I have never had this happen to me before in my life, but I do know that mosquitoes are for some reason in love with my skin.
And so, as I walk up Mount Kilimanjaro, instead of worrying about falling off the mountain getting kidnapped or murdered by unlawful thugs, I am going to worry about catching a disease from mosquitoes.
I figure that since I walked in the woods and I didn’t think at all about having any trouble with mosquitoes and had bites all over me after getting back home, worrying about mosquitos heavily will do me some good.
If I focus all my worry on getting bit by a mosquito in Africa then that most likely will not happen, I like to call this reverse worry psychology and it’s a very smart thing to do if you are one of those people who always seems to find themselves in situations that they never thought to worry about.
I’ll send you all a picture from the top of the mountain when I get back, but until then, wish me luck. And please, worry about mosquitoes for me.

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