I’m actually pretty new to this hill walking and mountain climbing business – although I think I’ve always loved the idea of it but have just always found excuses why it wasn’t for me.
Well that all changed at the end of 2014: that’s when I found my outdoor adventure mojo and new-found passion of walking in the wilderness.
However, it wasn’t the best introduction – rather more like baptism by fire, to be honest.
We arrived in St Arnaud, in New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes, to persistent drizzle and a grey cloud that hung in the air and made driving difficult. It wasn’t a great start to a three-day walk into New Zealand’s wilderness, and a real mood-dampener considering the bad luck we had already had with the inclement Kiwi weather.
The blood-sucking sandflies – infamous in the South Island’s Nelson Lakes region – were also out in force, driving my friend Julia into her tent in the wake of their bloodlust. The shower of insect repellent she sprayed in the cramped confines of her tent resulted in a dramatic coughing fit and the near expulsion of a lung.
The adventure was going swimmingly! Continue reading
Meet Sarah Williams!
Sarah is a former finance guru who quit her city job after eight years to spend 18 months travelling the world and deciding what to do with her life. Once back in the UK she set up Tough Girl Challenges and the very successful Tough Girl Podcast as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls. In 2016, Sarah completed the Marathon des Sables, the six-day 251km ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert that has been dubbed the toughest footrace on earth. Later this year, Sarah takes on the US’ 2,190-mile-long Appalachian Trail with the plan to thru hike it in 100 days.
Here, Sarah talks about setting out on a new direction, fears about what people might think and focusing on the journey. Continue reading
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
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
Meet 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
Meet Felicity Aston!
Felicity is an author, speaker, expedition leader, former Antarctic scientist and general lover of cold environments. In 2012, she became the first woman to ski 1,744km alone across Antarctica, taking 59 days. Her expeditions have also included the first British women’s crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole, a 36,000km drive to the Pole of Cold, and leading the largest and most international team of women ever to ski to the South Pole. She has written three books and made several documentaries. In 2015, she was awarded The Queen’s Polar Medal and was appointed MBE for services to polar exploration.
Here, Felicity talks about taking risks and discusses how experience is a teacher. Continue reading
In my last blog, I listed all the mishaps, lows and hilarious misadventures I had experienced in 2016. Now I turn to the highlights and good times. At this time of year, with a spangly new year full of promise on the horizon, it’s good to remember the positives and to be grateful for the good things, experiences and people present in our lives. 2016 will be a year to remember for many reasons. Importantly though, 2016 has set the scene for 2017 and the experiences, adventures and joy (and certain mishaps) yet to come. Here are my top highlights from the year. Continue reading
It’s that time of year when I can’t help but do some navel gazing, looking back at the year that was. And boy has 2016 been an interesting one (I leave the interpretation of the word “interesting” up to you). There has been a mixture of highs and lows but here are the top mishaps and hilarious misadventures I experienced in 2016. Continue reading
Meet Jason Rawles!
Jason quit his corporate job, ended a toxic relationship, sold his house and moved to Wales – all to follow his passion for the outdoors. He now balances his time between climbing mountains and working in sales for a tech company in North Wales. He is a #GetOutside Champion for Ordnance Survey, promoting the outdoors, and brand ambassador for Keen Footwear, and is a qualified adventure guide.
Here, Jason talks about why he chucked in the high paying job and luxury lifestyle and what he has learnt along the way. Continue reading