Third time lucky: I finally tick off volcano number seven

20170316_124710_resizedFinally, a day of sunshine!

I almost couldn’t believe it – I had to pinch myself to make sure – but there it was, crisp blue sky and a white-gold orb coating my immediate world in warm rays of sunshine. No rain to be seen; not even a cloud.

It was rejoice-worthy.

The majestic-ness of the day was in stark contrast to a mere few days ago when a weather bomb had hit New Zealand and put paid to my attempts at climbing the volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki – what should have been volcanoes seven and eight in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40).

But finally, the weather gods were in good moods – today I was going to climb Rangitoto.  Continue reading

I don’t believe it…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rain on the tent sounded like an army chucking thousands of buckets of water over it. It had sounded like that all night; a constant drumming as the torrential rain pelted the tree above us, which jettisoned the water directly onto our tent. To say it was wet was an understatement.

We’d completed the three-day Tongariro Northern Circuit trek the evening before and had set up camp in Whakapapa Village (it had already started to rain by that point). I was still gutted that I hadn’t been able to climb Mt Ngauruhoe – what should have been volcano number seven in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40) – because of the crappy weather. But this would be rectified – the plan today was to make the drive west towards Mt Taranaki, the 2,518m peak that pokes out the side of the west of New Zealand’s North Island. Tomorrow we would climb. Continue reading

Volcano number seven: foiled by the weather

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Are there any questions? Does anyone have other plans for tomorrow?” the hut warden Sally asked the motley group of trampers as we huddled in the Mangatepopo hut on the skirts of the Tongariro National Park in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. Outside the wind was buffeting against the hut’s wooden walls, whipping the tussock grass (and tent flies) into a frenzy. But inside, it was cosy; the wood-burner was alight, slowly drying wet clothes whose pungent steamy fumes mingled with the homely scent of Pizza Hut pizzas some entrepreneurial Germans had carried up from civilisation.

I raised my hand, catching the eye of Sally. “We’re planning on climbing Mt Ngauruhoe tomorrow,” I ventured tentatively, worried I knew the response. Sally had already mentioned the weather conditions for the next day and while rain wasn’t going to be a massive problem (at least not until the evening) the wind was going to be frenetic, with gusts around 45km. Continue reading

10 reasons I love New Zealand

Well I’m back in London after a hectic and fun-packed month traipsing around my home country New Zealand. As I sit at my computer, wading through a month’s worth of unread emails, and staring out the window at the spring blossoms and daffodils, I can’t help but feel a pang of holiday blues. I’ve lived in London now for almost 11 years but I still love New Zealand. This is why. Continue reading

Interview with adventurer Laura Kennington

Laura Kennington London Adventure Sports Photography

Meet Laura Kennington!

Laura is a professionally trained actress and singer turned adventure athlete. She has completed the Nepal Marathon, climbing to over 2,000m in the process, cycled 2,600km through Ireland, and kayaked 236 miles of the River Thames. She has turned the three Channel Islands of Sark, Guernsey and Jersey into an adventure playground, where she swam, kayaked and cycled across and around the islands as a triathlon in three days. She has also attempted to kayak the entire length of the 2,300-mile-long Volga River in Russia but was forced to call it quits due to safety concerns.

Here, Laura talks about mental strength, the gift of human kindness and being inspired by Dr Seuss.   Continue reading

Here’s the plan for the trip to New Zealand

20170212_154857-1So, the next lot of volcanoes in my #40by40 quest have now been lined up as I head off back home to New Zealand for a month in a little over two weeks’ time. Woohoo can’t wait!

The original plan had been to fit in five volcanoes but trying to also fit in a friend’s wedding and a trip to the South Island to see my brother and his family (my niece and nephew are soooo cute!), as well as catching up with other family and friends and playing hostess to the English boyfriend, well five volcanoes very quickly became three. Continue reading

Interview with adventurer Laura Bingham

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Meet Laura Bingham!

Laura is a British explorer with a stamp-packed passport. In 2014, with zero experience, she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a 38ft Trimaran with two men and a cat. Then in 2016, she crossed South America by bike and with no money, relying on the kindness of strangers and rubbish bins. Laura recently married fellow adventurer and Amazon walker Ed Stafford.

Here, Laura talks about the call of adventure and her resolute belief that everything will work out OK. Continue reading

How to conquer self-doubt: Remove toxic people from your life

Almost everyone has them – you know, those “friends” who are always quick to find something wrong with an idea or err on the side of negativity; those ones that deflate your happiness like popping a balloon and leave you feeling down and depressed and wrung out after spending even five minutes with them.

These are bad people and we do not need them in our lives. Continue reading

Interview with entrepreneur and social campaigner Gee Elliott

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-16-14-14-1Meet Gee Elliott!

Gee quit her private equity job and London life to move to Uganda where she ran a charity and co-founded the social enterprise Grass Roots Café and Deli. In July last year, however, she was forced to return to the UK after being hit by a motorbike, which fractured her back. She has recently launched a new platform – Above Water – to empower women amid the pressures of the 21st Century.

Here, she talks about the ‘cult of perfectionism’, going against social expectations, and the desire to enable women to meet their full potential. Continue reading