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Kai Fitchen | Explorer & Founder of My Kape
Kai’s love for the Cape came from clambering up Table Mountain whenever he could. Scrambling and just playing around on it has always made him happy and that’s where his love for the mountains began. It was also a place to get away … When Kai was 9-years-old I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and his self-confidence disappeared. It was rough, but hiking and climbing was the only thing which got him through it.
My Definition Of Success | I’m only 20, but I think if you’re going to do something, DO IT RIGHT. If you knuckle down, are conscious of your environment and, most of all, stay true to yourself you’ll be a success, regardless.
A Key Talent | Making Mountains Metaphors. From overcoming low self-confidence when I was diagnosed with epilepsy, to planning rather outrageous expeditions. This little motto of mine has helped me overcome the many obstacles in my life. So, when you have this mountain of work or an impossible looking challenge glaring over you: Take the first step, no matter how small it is. Then another and you’re that much closer to your summit. Every climb has its minor summits. This could be going from getting a D for a test to getting a C. Be excited about these milestones and channel your psyche into the rest of the climb.
The Characteristics Of Success | I’ve still got a lot of refining to do, but I’ve always made sure to surround myself with positive people. Friends and family are hugely important to me. They are the ones I go to when I need to vent and decompress. My stubbornness is a big help too, oddly enough!
How I Use My Mind | Once I have a goal which I’m psyched for, I bump off the idea of giving up. I’m happy to fail and I’m prepared to adapt to changes in the project, but giving up and not working hard is taboo in my books.
You know, “you miss all the shots you don’t take”.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Be confident, NOT arrogant.
Getting ready for my most recent expedition, KAPE 2 ATACAMA, was crazy! The distances, the objectives, the finances were all so overwhelming that I had to create some sort of mental armour to keep cool. Confidence in my abilities has always been essential for all my trips. Sadly, this time, it slipped into arrogance. I was unable to see vital flaws in the project and then it all came tumbling down. My partner bailed, the boat was lost, the main sponsor pulled out, and I had to start from scratch. The expedition still happened, luckily!
Dealing With Doubt | Fear and negativity are my biggest challenges. Heading off into the unknown to climb chilly peaks where the possibility of failure is unsettlingly high. This does make my trips super exciting and what they are, but it’s all pretty scary.
Then there’s preparation for the expeditions. The biggest challenge is finding sponsors. Either it’s flat out rejection or you don’t even get a response. It’s basically very easy to be negative.
I’ve just gone with the philosophy that if I’m feeling in the dumps I’ll go climbing or do something I love to clear my mind. Then I’ll identify what’s stressing me out and find a solution. We generally talk ourselves into a negative headspace. If you just breathe and focus on the stuff that you’re doing right instead of the stuff that’s not going your way, then you’ll fly.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired |
My love for adventure came from scrambling up and down Table Mountain. It’s where I feel most excited and comfortable, with its secret trails and inspiring cliff faces. It’s also nice to have a constant. With the expeditions and other bits of life running amuck it’s so easy to lose my way and get a noisy mind.
Also, some bumping electronica gets me super pumped!
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | K2! Ah, that would be so cool! I got to see the Himalayan beauty back in 2010 and became the ultimate groupie. I was mesmerised by the enormous dark pyramid of rock and ice. It’s the holy grail of mountaineering, which means it’s super difficult. I’d only consider it if I’m in peak mental and physical shape, though.
In the meantime, I’m studying and getting ready to start preparations for a big cycle in Asia, but I’ll make sure to continue doing expeditions which are environmentally and socially focussed.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | Hmmm, I don’t think there’s anything specific, but I really think that Mother Nature is pretty cool and I want to see it in a healthier state. What I’ve learnt and experienced in the great outdoors is invaluable and I believe if I can inspire more to get outside exploring it, then we’ll make sure to look after it.
Useful Links |
Video Links | Kai Fitchen @ FEAT Jo’burg