Bellingham Writer Finds Inspiration in Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

By Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer

Jeff Belanger’s new book, The Connect with of Kilimanjaro: Locating Hope Over the Clouds, is a small unique from his other endeavors—it’s a memoir based on his encounters climbing the mountain. You may possibly know Jeff from his textbooks about the paranormal, legends, record, and folklore. A Bellingham resident, Belanger is the author of 16 publications (all but 2 about the paranormal), host, author and producer of the Emmy-nominated podcast “New England Legends,” and author/researcher for the Vacation Channel’s Ghost Adventures. His most recent e book, The Simply call of Kilimanjaro, was published in March through Charlesbridge Publishing. Jeff has offered many times at the Bellingham library and designed a devoted following in this place.

“An genuine and engaging account of just one novice hiker’s journey to spiritual transformation as he climbs to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro,” reads the reserve description. Just after his brother-in-law Chris passed away, Belanger designed the choice to take the journey of a life time, both in honor of Chris and in pursuit of clarity about his very own lifetime and objectives. The Call of Kilimanjaro is a day-by-day history of Belanger’s ascent to the peak of Africa’s highest mountain.

By turns contemplative and irreverent, joyful and thoughtful, boyish and sensible, this is a e-book for all ages—from 10 to 100—and a memoir for armchair vacationers with an interest in spirituality. By illustration, Belanger teaches us to choose stock of our accomplishments, eye the lofty ambitions we have placed in front of ourselves, and force larger than we’ve at any time dared, turning an genuine eye toward previous, existing, and upcoming, by means of the end of lifetime and outside of.

Even though the memoir about Jeff’s eight-day hike may appear to be pretty distinct from his former guides, Jeff sees a organic transition. “When you deal with [paranormal] topics, you delve into all varieties of points like journey and spiritual subject areas. You just cannot comprehensively investigate ghosts and legends without the need of permitting it seep inside of of you and questioning your personal feeling of spirituality and location in the universe,” he stated.

While he believes his core viewers will understand the religious knowledge that arrived with his journey, he’s hoping to obtain a new focus on audience as effectively, in people today who relate to currently being in their mid-everyday living and continue to building and reaching aims.

“The hope is that people come across some inspiration in it,” Jeff claimed. “Even if you really do not want to climb Kilimanjaro, we all have some mountain we want to climb, metaphorically talking.” Even though any intention can be regarded as a mountain, Jeff believed it was fun that his mountain was a literal mountain, with all the bodily problems that entailed.

It is challenging for Jeff to pinpoint when his journey began, because the mountain had been contacting his full lifetime. “I took Swahili in college or university,” he laughs, and he’s been a lifelong hiker. Shedding his brother-in-legislation to cancer experienced a profound result on his everyday living. Chris was only forty-four when identified, and Jeff turned shut to him in the two many years that Chris fought the ailment.

“He and I received a good deal nearer as he was heading through this method,” Jeff defined, “and we talked a lot about death and dying.” 7 months just after his loss of life, when the possibility presented alone to climb Kilimanjaro for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), Jeff jumped on it.

“Yes, I’m in,” he mentioned, with no hesitation. He further spelled out: “Sometimes the universe lays a thing out for you on a platter. When you glimpse at all the indications, you simply cannot quite possibly say no.” From there, he turned singularly concentrated on fundraising, acquiring into condition, and mountaineering. He was related by way of the LLS with the group they set collectively. His coach, Sherpa Tom Calderiso (who is also from Bellingham), helped the group educate and get ready. Although Sherpa Tom did not get to go with them, Jeff is complete of praise for his direction.

Right after committing, Jeff dived correct into fundraising, reaching just around $17,000 of his $19,341 objective (just one greenback for every foot of altitude to Kilimanjaro’s peak), and he’s hoping to make up the distinction with ebook sales. Over 3 hundred donors sponsored him, and he printed their names and carried them in his backpack alongside the way as inspiration. The journey resonated with people, he explained, and he experienced exciting with the fundraising.

“That was actually inspiring. I would glimpse at that record just about every night in my tent.” A tent, by the way, that he hadn’t accurately seemed ahead to. Though he’s a natural hiker, Jeff is not a camper. 8 days without showers or beds or Wi-Fi was complicated, but it was all component of the working experience.

“It was just you and the mountain, and there was no other way,” he claimed. He also remembers how chilly it was on the mountain, and he credits Sherpa Tom with helping him find out how to layer and get the correct equipment.

As a objective-oriented particular person, Jeff pressured himself to slow down and enjoy the practical experience. He experienced brought a new digital camera and took over 1,600 photos, several showcased in his e-book. Following a few of days, he ultimately began to settle in to staying disconnected from the planet, and rather reconnected with that broad-eyed kid inside of himself that seems at the earth in surprise. A single of the ideal takeaways was just to be unplugged for around a 7 days and experience a thing profound.

Jeff’s tips for individuals with their own mountains is that you just cannot climb a mountain it is far too significant. “But you can just take a phase,” he reported, “and then one more action. And these techniques will get started to add up.” Mountains, like ambitions, can be overwhelming, he stated, using the case in point of composing a reserve. When a full ebook may possibly be also a great deal, you can publish a sentence, and a sentence can develop into a paragraph, which results in being a page, which, with other web pages, adds up to chapters, “and suddenly you recognize you can do this.”

He advises that the summit is not always the greatest intention, which was just one of his most significant takeaways of the practical experience. The moment you are at the top, which, in his circumstance was only a 15-minute end, you are only halfway there. “If you can’t arrive down and get back again dwelling all over again, it is a waste. You have to be in a position to get back dwelling.”

“The summit is really hardly ever the objective. It [the climb] truly, certainly is more about the journey.” The lifestyle-modifying expertise didn’t occur when he achieved the best, but somewhere alongside the way, and such can be mentioned about a lot of objectives. “Somewhere in that forty-two miles of strolling, this transformation took place.”

While he has no programs to climb the mountain yet again, you just by no means know what the foreseeable future will deliver.

Jeff will current the book for the Bellingham Library by way of Zoom on Monday, May perhaps 3rd, at 7pm. Registration will start out April 1st at BellinghamLibrary.org. For an autographed copy of the book, ship an electronic mail to [email protected], which will e mail back again the first chapter of the ebook (a PDF file), with a backlink to purchase the autographed e-book for 10% off and cost-free shipping and delivery. Autographed copies can also be uncovered at “An Unlikely Story” bookstore and café in Plainville.
Inbound links to obtaining The Get in touch with of Kilimanjaro: Getting Hope Over the Clouds can also be found on Belanger’s web-site, JeffBelanger.com.