5 steps to an epic volcano-climbing adventure (without making my mistakes)

460Just over two years ago I came up with a crafty idea. I thought, why not set myself the ambitious quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 – a feat that needed to be achieved in a five-and-a-half-year time frame?

It was a bold, daring plan, borne out of a fascination of lava and plate tectonics… and the itchy-feet desire to make more of my life and challenge myself. I’d just quit my pharmaceutical journalism job of five years to go freelance and I needed a new purpose. I chose adventure. 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

How to conquer self-doubt: Stop making excuses

I have become quite adept at making excuses as to why I can’t do things:

“I can’t go to the gym because I’m too tired.”

“I don’t want to go out after work because it’s too cold or I haven’t got anything nice to wear.”

“I can’t climb that mountain because I’m not fit enough and don’t have the right skills.”

“I can’t go travelling because I have family commitments.”

“I can’t start researching my 40 volcanoes because I’m too busy.”

“I can’t achieve this goal because it’s too expensive.”

“I can’t be successful because I’m not good enough and don’t deserve it.”

From one point of view these might seem like logical reasons but at the end of the day they are all just big, fat, ugly excuses. And excuses, I have learnt, get in the way of doing things, of achieving goals, of making changes to your life. They stop dreams in their tracks, they keep you stuck in a rut, and stuck in a comfort zone.  They make you chose the easy option, the safe option, the boring option.

Excuses are evil and bad. Continue reading

Climbing Europe’s highest and most active volcano

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From a distance, Mt Etna – Europe’s highest and most active volcano – seemed mysterious. She sat surprisingly quietly in the background as people wandered the streets of Sicily’s port city Catania, just the occasional wisps of steam floated above her.

Up closer, her smoking was more pronounced and the landscape changed from lush greenery to scraggly brush and the cold hardness of black, frozen lava flows. Tree stumps had been left blackened and void of life. Mt Etna (3329m tall) is one hell of a beast. Continue reading

This is what I have learnt about time

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Everyone has busy lives and responsibilities and commitments – that’s just the way life is.

But being busy is often used as an excuse as to why goals and dreams can’t be started or achieved – you know the one: ‘I can’t start such and such because I’ve got A, B and C to do and they take up too much time. Ahhhh there’s not enough hours in the day!’

The thing is, I have learnt that this is a fallacy. Sure there are only so many hours in the day and you reasonably have to sleep, eat and work but everyone has the same amount of time, so what’s the catch that some people seem to have more success at being successful with their goals and dreams?

Continue reading

No two volcanoes are the same

393It was only about 11:30am and it was stinking hot. The yellow sun pierced through the clear blue sky and scorched both me and the earth as beads of sweat started to gather on my brow.

For what looked like a relatively easy 390m high volcano to climb, Gran Cratere on the Aeolian Island Vulcano was deceptive. I found it hard going striding uphill in the glaring sun – I blame the heat and lack of fitness finesse for this. Continue reading

A new approach to #40by40

Back when I first started dreaming about this idea to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40, I

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Mt Ngauruhoe in the background – on the list for next year

spent an age on Google getting whipped up in the excitement of rugged volcanic landscapes, bubbling lava, snow-capped cones, and wilderness and vistas as far as the eye could see.

 

I put together a grand list of 40 volcanoes – they were dotted on practically every corner of the globe; some on islands in the middle of the ocean, others in remote and often exotic locations, requiring days of trekking to reach. Many were active, with lava lakes or hissing vents. And more than several were majestic in their height, taking on the craggy peaks in the French Alps, and promising winter mountaineering experiences.

It was a dizzying list. Just looking at it made me giddy, bursting with adrenalin and excitement. Continue reading

Up close and personal with an active volcano

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That moment I got up close and saw my first active erupting volcano will stick with me.

I was in the Aeolian Islands, just north of Sicily, gorging myself on quite possibly the world’s best pizza, when suddenly everyone in the restaurant went wild, turning and pointing behind us. Paula, beside me, ferociously grabbed my arm and demanded me to “look, look, look”. Continue reading