If you want to get to the top, you need to get it done
People · 12 January 2023Karolina Gruszczyk
When we say we’re here to reach the top, we mean it. And it’s nothing but an exciting journey with people like Roger on board.
Roger Norton, Information Security Engineer at Revolut, is passionate about challenging adventures. After running an ultramarathon in the Andorra mountains, he decided to climb the highest, single free-standing mountain above sea level in the world. He sat with us to tell the story of climbing Kilimanjaro, how his Revolut team reminds him of the porters, and how to stay motivated to reach your goals.
What’s your story about mountains and summits? How did it start?
It all started when I was a kid. I used to spend part of my summer holidays in the Pyrenees, in the north of Spain, with my family. For two weeks in the summer, we went on excursions (that's all you could do there). We used to have adventures in the river and waterfalls nearby, where we camped and climbed as high as we could. And that’s where it all started.
Now I focus on big excursions, and climb two to three times a year. To stay fit and ready for all my adventures, I do crossfit.
Is it a time consuming hobby? How do you manage to keep the balance between your personal life, work, and hiking?
I'm lucky that my girlfriend is also into hiking. So it's easy to mix personal life with these kinds of activities, because we both train together. Also, in Spain, we're blessed with good weather, so we plan weekends away or train together during the week. Another thing that helps me to do my hobbies is the annual leave I get from Revolut, which is very helpful for longer expeditions. Recently, I had to be 11 or 12 days out of the office, and it was no problem at all. I also used the two wellbeing days we get at Revolut for the Kilimanjaro trip.
This November you reached the Kilimanjaro summit! How did it go? And what do you remember the most from that adventure?
The good thing is, once you get to the camp, it’s already set up, thanks to the porters. They prepare the camp and once you get there, you just prep your bag for the next day and get ready for dinner and bed. They’re very impressive. You can see them going up the mountain with these 20 kilo bags, and they're going faster than you.
I was lucky enough to go with my two brothers. The main thing I remember is sharing the hike with them. There was also a moment where the adventure got harder. It was the summit day, when you wake up at midnight and you have an eight-hour steep climb ahead. But although it was challenging, the views were spectacular – in the morning, during the sunset, and also at night. After the second day in Kilimanjaro, you’re already over the clouds because of the altitude.
Was there something which turned out to be surprising for you?
We planned the expedition for seven days, but eventually we made it in six. I'm quite fit, so it wasn't that hard physically, but mentally it was tougher than I thought. There's this thing which may happen when you climb high mountains, which is altitude sickness, and I got it. The headaches, feeling sick and cold, it was all very challenging, and I had to push through to get to the top.
What are the key things to remember when planning a hike like this?
The key thing, more than anything, is your health. Focusing on staying fit, being aware of the differences in altitude, diet, or even the temperature there. Also, getting to know a few things before you go: what it's going to be like, what to expect, so you can prepare accordingly.
The equipment, your jacket, boots, everything is reviewed by the expedition team before the climb. They make sure that you're taking what you need. At the end of the day, the ultimate equipment is your body. So actually, all you need is to be healthy. Because if you aren’t, the climb is going to be a lot harder than it should be.
We love the photo of you at the top of Kilimanjaro in the Revolut jacket! Do you think reaching the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level and working at Revolut have something in common?
Definitely! At Revolut we never settle and strive to succeed, which are things that you must do in the mountains, as well. The other value that comes to mind is to get it done. Once you're up there, you need to push through any discomfort. If you want to get to the top, you need to get it done. But never without planning things out and taking all the right steps.
Last, but not least – the team. In the Security team, we face something different every day, there’s no boredom, everything keeps changing. As you climb Kilimanjaro, you go through different ecosystems. You start in a rainforest, then go to moorland, an alpine desert, and you finish in the arctic ice. Each day or couple of days you're in a different ecosystem, so you need to prepare differently. The same happens with the variety of challenges we face in the Security team. Dealing with it and reaching Kilimanjaro summit wouldn’t be possible without the help of the porters and the crew. They’re your support group, do a lot of heavy lifting setting up the camps, and making sure you have all you need. Working in a dream team always makes it better, whether you’re at the top of a mountain, or here at Revolut.
As you mentioned, you’re part of the Revolut Security team – an Information Security engineer. What do you like the most about your job?
I've got an amazing team here at Revolut, and that’s what I like the most. I also enjoy all the opportunities to do more, the challenges, and the pace that we have. Let’s not forget the flexibility and being able to work wherever I like.
Many of us have made 2023 resolutions. What can we do to stay motivated and overcome all the challenges to achieve our goals?
Focus on taking baby steps in the right direction. To climb Kilimanjaro at first seemed like a very long journey to the summit, and I ended up reaching the top taking it day by day. Your end goal is to reach the summit, but the way to achieve it is by facing those everyday challenges you need to overcome to succeed.
Fancy joining the dream team? Check out the job opportunities on the Revolut Careers page.