Bellingham Creator Finds Inspiration in Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

By Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer

Jeff Belanger’s new e-book, The Get in touch with of Kilimanjaro: Obtaining Hope Above the Clouds, is a little different from his other endeavors—it’s a memoir based on his encounters climbing the mountain. You may know Jeff from his textbooks about the paranormal, legends, history, and folklore. A Bellingham resident, Belanger is the creator of 16 textbooks (all but 2 about the paranormal), host, writer and producer of the Emmy-nominated podcast “New England Legends,” and writer/researcher for the Vacation Channel’s Ghost Adventures. His most recent book, The Call of Kilimanjaro, was revealed in March via Charlesbridge Publishing. Jeff has presented lots of instances at the Bellingham library and produced a devoted adhering to in this region.

“An genuine and engaging account of just one beginner hiker’s journey to spiritual transformation as he climbs to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro,” reads the book description. Just after his brother-in-regulation Chris handed absent, Belanger created the final decision to acquire the vacation of a lifetime, equally in honor of Chris and in pursuit of clarity about his own lifestyle and targets. The Contact of Kilimanjaro is a working day-by-working day report of Belanger’s ascent to the peak of Africa’s optimum mountain.

By turns contemplative and irreverent, joyful and considerate, boyish and wise, this is a guide for all ages—from 10 to 100—and a memoir for armchair vacationers with an desire in spirituality. By case in point, Belanger teaches us to acquire stock of our achievements, eye the lofty aims we have put in entrance of ourselves, and force larger than we’ve ever dared, turning an straightforward eye towards past, present, and potential, as a result of the conclusion of life and past.

When the memoir about Jeff’s eight-working day hike may appear very diverse from his past books, Jeff sees a all-natural transition. “When you include [paranormal] topics, you delve into all varieties of items like vacation and spiritual topics. You just can’t carefully examine ghosts and legends with no permitting it seep within of you and questioning your own feeling of spirituality and position in the universe,” he discussed.

Whilst he thinks his main viewers will fully grasp the non secular working experience that came with his journey, he’s hoping to find a new goal audience as well, in persons who relate to getting in their mid-daily life and even now building and achieving targets.

“The hope is that people discover some inspiration in it,” Jeff explained. “Even if you do not want to climb Kilimanjaro, we all have some mountain we want to climb, metaphorically talking.” While any intention can be thought of a mountain, Jeff thought it was entertaining that his mountain was a literal mountain, with all the physical troubles that entailed.

It’s really hard for Jeff to pinpoint when his journey started, since the mountain experienced been contacting his full lifetime. “I took Swahili in university,” he laughs, and he’s been a lifelong hiker. Shedding his brother-in-law to most cancers had a profound effect on his existence. Chris was only forty-four when diagnosed, and Jeff turned close to him in the two yrs that Chris fought the ailment.

“He and I received a whole lot nearer as he was going by way of this approach,” Jeff stated, “and we talked a lot about dying and dying.” Seven months soon after his dying, when the possibility presented alone to climb Kilimanjaro for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Culture (LLS), Jeff jumped on it.

“Yes, I’m in,” he mentioned, devoid of hesitation. He further more stated: “Sometimes the universe lays anything out for you on a platter. When you look at all the indications, you just cannot possibly say no.” From there, he became singularly concentrated on fundraising, having into shape, and mountaineering. He was linked by the LLS with the team they set together. His mentor, Sherpa Tom Calderiso (who is also from Bellingham), helped the team train and put together. Whilst Sherpa Tom did not get to go with them, Jeff is comprehensive of praise for his steering.

Soon after committing, Jeff dived correct into fundraising, achieving just about $17,000 of his $19,341 objective (1 greenback for each individual foot of altitude to Kilimanjaro’s peak), and he’s hoping to make up the change with book profits. More than a few hundred donors sponsored him, and he printed their names and carried them in his backpack along the way as inspiration. The journey resonated with folks, he mentioned, and he experienced enjoyable with the fundraising.

“That was actually inspiring. I would glimpse at that list every night time in my tent.” A tent, by the way, that he hadn’t accurately looked ahead to. Although he’s a natural hiker, Jeff is not a camper. 8 days without the need of showers or beds or Wi-Fi was challenging, but it was all section of the experience.

“It was just you and the mountain, and there was no other way,” he said. He also remembers how chilly it was on the mountain, and he credits Sherpa Tom with supporting him learn how to layer and consider the proper equipment.

As a intention-oriented particular person, Jeff pressured himself to slow down and take pleasure in the encounter. He had introduced a new camera and took about 1,600 photos, numerous showcased in his book. Following a few of times, he last but not least began to settle in to getting disconnected from the planet, and alternatively reconnected with that huge-eyed kid inside of himself that seems at the environment in ponder. Just one of the greatest takeaways was just to be unplugged for in excess of a week and expertise a little something profound.

Jeff’s tips for these with their have mountains is that you just can’t climb a mountain it’s too significant. “But you can take a stage,” he explained, “and then yet another move. And those people techniques will get started to add up.” Mountains, like aims, can be overwhelming, he claimed, utilizing the instance of composing a e book. Whilst a full e book may well be far too a great deal, you can publish a sentence, and a sentence can turn into a paragraph, which will become a web page, which, with other webpages, adds up to chapters, “and all of a sudden you recognize you can do this.”

He advises that the summit is not necessarily the ultimate target, which was a person of his most significant takeaways of the experience. As soon as you’re at the top rated, which, in his circumstance was only a 15-minute stop, you’re only midway there. “If you cannot arrive down and get back dwelling once again, it’s a squander. You have to be able to get again house.”

“The summit is seriously by no means the objective. It [the climb] truly, certainly is a lot more about the journey.” The existence-transforming working experience did not transpire when he reached the prime, but someplace alongside the way, and this kind of can be stated about quite a few targets. “Somewhere in that forty-two miles of walking, this transformation transpired.”

Although he has no programs to climb the mountain once again, you just never know what the future will carry.

Jeff will current the e-book for the Bellingham Library via Zoom on Monday, May perhaps 3rd, at 7pm. Registration will start April 1st at For an autographed duplicate of the e-book, mail an electronic mail to [email protected], which will email back again the initially chapter of the ebook (a PDF file), with a backlink to get the autographed ebook for 10% off and totally free delivery. Autographed copies can also be found at “An Not likely Story” bookstore and café in Plainville.
Backlinks to obtaining The Connect with of Kilimanjaro: Getting Hope Higher than the Clouds can also be observed on Belanger’s web site,

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