Influence feels like such a convoluted word these days. Mainly because it has become elitist and is equated with a blue tick on social media. Which makes the world a big disadvantage. Because influence is really all about effect. (How can I help make change?) Nobody ever said what size.
And so I find that many underestimate their own power. People assume that you have an impact when you need fancy titles, trailers, or something that you are willing to carry a torch for because the real thing is that all you need is a voice and a willingness to use it. You (yes, you too) can influence small but significant changes. Think about the last time someone made your day - wasn't that important?
Our life is made up of moments that are strung together like pearls on a necklace. Some pearls are tarnished, deep blue, while the next can be bright or clear and open to tomorrow's promise. And I've noticed, on my own string, that my favorite colors were painted in those moments when I dared to make a tiny impression.
Last autumn, I climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, within eight days. Everything about the experience changed me but nothing but my overwhelming respect and admiration for the superhuman porters and guides of Monkey Adventures who spent their lives helping others climb the unforgiving mountain. When casual wear company Turtle Fur asked if they could share some of the pictures I took with their gear on Kili, I felt compelled to ask if they would consider giving hats to wearers when sharing my photos that made my summit possible - me Without this guide it would not have been possible to take these photos and since wages in Tanzania are much lower than western prices, it is very difficult for porters to buy new equipment. Instead, many rely on used items donated by hikers.
To make the boldness of this question clear, I'm nowhere near a social influencer, and it's extremely expensive to ship items to Tanzania. To my pleasant and grateful surprise, Turtle Fur said yes. After months of WhatsApp conversations with my guide Charles, all 22 porters and guides received new hats and neck warmers in May 2020. Charles said it was the first time anyone had sent them a gift and it was my best quarantine bead.