Yesterday I boarded a flight to Tanzania, by way of Ethiopia. I was a bit nervous to travel alone, but my nerves led to excitement for the adventure ahead.

But we are never really alone. There are so many who helped me get here.

My husband, who always encourages me to live my adventures. I am so grateful for his love and acceptance of who I am, what I need to do, and his understanding that life with me isn’t routine.

My friends and training partners. I have walked, hiked and talked for miles with a few different women whose friendship has entertained me through hours of training. We’ve also solved some parenting issues, laughed and shed tears, and I will carry their friendship with me (along with some of the gear they have lent me) to the summit.

My ND Trail Pilgrims. During the summer of 2017, 32 Pilgrims walked 320 miles on the ND Trail. Some of these Pilgrims will climb with me this week; but the rest will cheer us on, and pray for us, from afar. I know my entire Notre Dame family is with me.

My parents will hold down the fort while I am gone (and drive, cook and do laundry for my children). The boys are fairly independent, which makes this adventure easier to do; but I am grateful for my parents presence, which gives me peace of mind.

And my intentions. My stones. I am not alone because of the stones I will carry. It is a tradition on some pilgrimages to carry intention stones. These can be prayers, these can be stones from home, these can be to honor someone. Mine will do all three. And each day as I climb, I will share my stone of the day. And with any luck (and a lot of prayers, and support, and training), I will leave these stones at the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Please keep us in your prayers!