by | 6 Dec 2015

As soon as I’d swum the Channel I had several phonecalls and emails from people who know what happens next. After all that training and dreaming and training and dreaming when you finally do it, you slump. The people who knew this told me it was going to happen, that it was absolutely natural, and that WHATEVER I DID, I MUST NOT BOOK ANOTHER CHALLENGE OF ANY KIND BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A KNEE JERK REACTION. Before the month was out, I had booked to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at Christmas. THIS CHRISTMAS.

Of course they were right and for the past month I’ve been in denial. It’s not that I’m not excited about going to Africa but, really, after the year I’ve had a week lying on the beaches of Zanzibar rather than climbing the highest mountain on the continent would make for a more sensible trip to Tanzania.

People keep asking: what training are you doing?’

Eh, not a lot.

I confess I’ve also been guilty of answering the question with those fateful words: ‘I am a Channel Swimmer’. But I know it’s not really an answer to the question on any level. That was three months ago and from the little research I’ve done there’s no sea involved.

One of my loveliest friends bought me a book – Kilimanjaro Diaries – in order to focus my mind and help me prepare. I started reading it this week and what I love is the author describes it as an endeavour of ‘mid-magnitude’. I thought to myself: I can manage that, I can manage mid-magnitude. But if not, I’m about to have my comeuppance.

So this will be my last bi-weekly blog for a little while. In two Sundays from now hopefully I’ll be half way up a mountain and on Christmas day I’ll have reached the summit. All being well I’ll be down again by the Sunday after that and I’ll be able to write to you from a bath in a nice hotel where I’ll be bathing my feet. Escaping Christmas is something that childless people often do but my plans this year have really taken the biscuit. Or should I say the mince pie? In fact I had two mince pies for breakfast this morning just to make up for the fact I doubt they’re big in Africa. I had them hot with Mascarpone – I highly recommend it.

And finally, just to say, I’m not doing it for sponsorship. I’ll save that for challenges of major-magnitude. This is only mid-magnitude and it’s all my own damn fault.

Happy Christmas!


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  1. jnorland

    uhm…i hear the scenery is great! can’t wait for the war stories. you go, girl

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thanks Jo. War stories coming January for sure. See you then and happy christmas xxx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you so much! And I hope you get to this bit of your bucket one day soon too! Jessica x

  2. Stevie Thompson

    Happy Christmas. You are officially awesome! x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Bless you, and happy Christmas to you too. Have a great one. Jessica x

  3. jo Westwood

    I hope your partner’s not going to be too far away so you can celebrate your achievement together x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Actually, I’m going it alone…which is a longer story…and last time I dragged him up a mountain in Venezuela I promised I’d never do it again but we’re good at celebrating together so we’ll definitely be doing that (if I make it of course)!

  4. sproutandco

    Wow, you are an amazing lady Jessica…. You go girl!! Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

    Sending you loads of love and light for an amazing adventure… Is hubby going to be climbing with you? Have you seen the movie ‘Wild’ yet?

    Definitely totally different scenarios, but for some reason that movie popped into my mind when I read your blog… Amazing movie if you haven’t yet seen…

    Enjoy, have a wonderful time and I’ll catch you in 2016 – hopefully we can meet in person at some stage.

    Much love xx

    Rachel Campbell

    Fertility Mentor & Health Coach


    M: +61 (0)402 086 980

    P: PO Box 2032 Clovelly West, NSW 2031 Australia

    M: Rachel@sproutandco.com.au

    W: sproutandco.com.au

    Have you downloaded my free ebook My fertile day on a plate. Get your copy now. Let’s connect. You can find me on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram. Take a look at my blog and journey at sproutandco.com.au.

    From: the pursuit of motherhood <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: the pursuit of motherhood <comment+7e172d5ctjfj8ku40g91kr@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Monday, 7 December 2015 6:57 am To: Rachel Campbell <rachel@sproutandco.com.au> Subject: [New post] Mid-Magnitude

    thepursuitofmotherhood posted: “As soon as I’d swum the Channel I had several phonecalls and emails from people who know what happens next. After all that training and dreaming and training and dreaming when you finally do it, you slump. The people who knew this told me it was going to “

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you Rachel. So funny that you mentioned Wild because I’m actually taking the book with me and will be reading it under the stars (with my head torch of course). Really hope we can meet one day too, and meanwhile have a lovely sunny Christmas back home! Jessica x

  5. EJM

    I wanted to say for s long time…You are amazing! We are all on journey of some sort. Keep up girl! I am looking up to you! My journey is very different but in a way….. as tough as yours! Best of luck to you. We need to give each other hope.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you SO MUCH. We do need to give each other hope and I hope that wherever you are on your journey you’re feeling positive about the future. Sending you all my love and solidarity and happy thoughts for Christmas wherever you are. Jessica x

  6. Ann Marie Hodson

    Wowza Jessica, simply inspirational. I will be thinking of you powering up that Mountain over Christmas and will be toasting a Vodka tonic to you.
    All my love and I so enjoy reading your blogs, lovely writing.

    Be safe and strong
    Ann Marie

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Bless you Ann Marie! So happy to hear you like my blogs and I’ll raise an ice cold beer to you when I get down from that mountain! Happy Christmas Jessica x

  7. Sheila

    Have a safe climb and enjoy a one-of-a-kind Christmas Day! Sheila xx PS at least you’re guaranteed snow….I think! 🙂 x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Yes! I actually think it could be my first ever snow at Christmas – how exciting! Happy Christmas to you too and see you in 2016 Jessica x

  8. Nikki

    Eeeeek, blimey, wowzers!!! The words ‘glutton for punishment’ come to mind – but you will be on the BIGGEST high once safely down the other side!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Yup, a glutton I am in all senses of the word and am definitely looking forward to that high (if I make it and the altitude sickness doesn’t get me)! Happy Christmas and much love Jessica x

  9. In Due Time book

    What a fabulous way to spend the holidays. I will NOT say “At least you can travel easily without kids.” That gets filed under “What NOT to say.”

    Enjoy yourself thoroughly!!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you so much and you’re absolutely right. I’d take the travelling with kids any day but, meanwhile, got to celebrate the joys of adult adventure! Jessica x

  10. kiftsgate

    I may be biased but really anything goes well with Mascarpone 😉
    I do like mince pies. Haven’t had one in years!
    Hope you enjoy the hike, the fresh air and that you can relax. My only advice is to focus on the experience more than the challenge (since this is only mid magnitude). I love the mountains and I find it’s one of the few places that always managed to make me feel at peace and make me smile.
    Good luck and happy Christmas!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      You are SO right about the Mascarpone. And I love your advice. I will take it me for sure and think of you and maybe even do a little fertility dance when I’m up there, just for the hell of it. Much love Jessica x

  11. Jane

    Good luck Jessica – I look forward to your post at the summit! Mid magnitude – that did make me smile. Focus now and above all enjoy – it will be wonderful. Jane x

  12. thepursuitofmotherhood

    Made me smile too. Absolutely determined to enjoy and the great thing is I’ll be able to look at the scenery and not murky water and jellyfish!

  13. Joanne

    Jess – you never cease to amaze me – you are one amazing lady – you go girl!
    will raise a glass of fizz in your honour with my Xmas Dinner and will look forward to reading all about your latest adventures in your blog next year! P.S at least there will be no jellyfish involved this time! Jo xxx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thanks Jo – no jellyfish but mosquitos instead! Hopefully I will not do a ‘Cheryl’ and get malaria!
      I’ll raise a glass of ice-cold Kilimanjaro beer to you when I get down (hopefully victorious!)

  14. Jane

    Ha ha – yes, and don’t forget a travel size bottle of fizz for the top of the summit!

  15. Pamela

    Rock on, girlfriend! You know how to make life interesting…safe travels and Merry Christmas xoxo

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I do! Might as well make the most of not having stockings to fill at Christmas! Much love Jessica x

  16. Naomi

    This sounds like a fabulous way to spend Christmas. Hope you have a fantastic time. I actually think that being a channel swimmer is a perfectly reasonable justification for being confident and /or lax in your training! For a start, you will have more than the necessary endurance and secondly, your dogged determination will get you through. These big (or medium!) physical challenges are 90% mental in my experience.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      You are speaking my language! Here’s hoping and dogged determination is certainly something I have with me. Thank you so much for the encouragement, it means a lot. I’m writing this from a coffee lodge in Tanzania, we set off in two days! Jessica x

  17. Rosemary Pettit

    Brilliant, Jessica! I’ll be thinking of you on Christmas Day in wintry Norfolk. Even if you never get to feel the thump of tiny feet you’re having a splendid journey! x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I certainly am Rosemary, and I’m very grateful for all your support this year! Jessica x

  18. Jane

    Well said Naomi – “you’re a channel swimmer” – you have done all the training needed. Have a lovely trip and looking forward to the pictures and posts along the route and the summit. Jane x