Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: 2019
Sep 17, 2019

Women Overlanding the World began as a Facebook group where traveling women could congregate for information and community related to all things overlanding. After the first year, they had grown to an active group of over 1,600 members around the world. 

They started to realised that they had created something amazing and that something exciting was happening in the space. 

 “Women were no longer listening to messages that say “you can’t” or “you won’t.”  They are refusing to stay quiet in the predominantly male worlds of overlanding, off-roading and exploration.  Women are out on the road.  They are going where they want to go.  They have expertise and knowledge.  They are defining their own lives and redefining their own limits.”   

Women overlanding hopes that the group, the website, the book, the meet ups and overland retreats will serve as a source of inspiration, and be a catalyst for you to have courage as you start your overlanding journey. 

During the podcast we speak with the 4 founders: Sunny Eaton, Karin Balsley, Taylor Pawley, Ashley Giordano.

Sunny Eaton is a criminal defense attorney and social marketing manager who travels with her wife, Karin Balsley, as the Vagabroads.  Sunny’s mother is the original Vagabroad and introduced her to travel at an early age. She went to high school in Germany, and after college had planned a round-the-world trip, starting with a trek from Istanbul to Cairo. She bought a plane ticket, gave notice at work – and a week later, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred.  Parts of the world were no longer safe for Americans, and the whole world seemed much scarier. She cancelled her ticket, retracted her notice, and put that trip on a tall pile of "some days". A few years later, she realized that when you look back at a year in your life and can’t distinguish one day from the next, it’s time to make a change. Within a year, they had sold everything, quit their jobs and headed south in their ’97 Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser with their dog, Gracie.

Karin Balsley is a systems architect who grew up in Franklin, Tennessee. She got into the offroading community at the young age of 15 when she bought her first 1978 Jeep CJ-5. Since then she's owned and rebuilt 6 jeeps and is currently building a Jeep Scrambler. She's always loved cars and enjoys seeing what they are capable of. 

Recently her and her wife, Sunny, decided to sell everything they owned and buy a 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser. They built it out over six months and hit the road with their dog, Gracie, in November 2015. They traveled for two years throughout Mexico and Central America. They enjoyed it so much that they turned around and drove the same route home instead of shipping the car. Afterwards they traversed the United States, east to west and south to north, stopping in Canada along the way. Future plans include overlanding throughout South America and traveling via motorcycle across Southeast Asia.

Taylor Pawley grew up in Eastern Oregon on a cattle ranch where hiking, fishing, hunting, and off-roading were just a normal everyday activity. But travel was the thing that really called to her. She married her high-school sweetheart at the young age of 19 and together they traveled across the Mediterranean on a 10-day cruise, backpacked through Uganda, and rented a Hi-Lux to chase desert elephants through Namibia. When it came time to choose between settling down and starting a family, or being kids themselves a little longer, they chose to sell their house and everything they owned and travel the Pan-American Highway. She also took the opportunity to compete in the inaugural Rebelle Rally, an all-women’s navigation rally, and took second place out of 36 teams. Taylor’s Pan-Am journey ended in Uruguay in 2018 when she and KP decided to split amicably, but she has continued to travel on her own as often as possible, with plans to complete the remaining part of the Pan-Am journey solo someday as well as a trek through Africa.

Ashley Giordano recently (okay, 3 years ago) completed a 48,800km overland journey from Vancouver, Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina with her husband Richard in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota Pickup. On the zig-zag route south they hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled their tummies with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, pouring over maps, or researching wild medicinal herbs. Ashley grew up in Kelowna, BC, Canada, and spent most of her time training as a competitive figure skater. She worked in Vancouver, BC as a Paralegal for eight years while completing a Diploma in Holistic Nutrition. She is currently studying herbal medicine with a focus on women’s health.

Show notes

  • Getting introductions from Taylor, Ashley, Karin and Sunny
  • How everyone knows each other - the power of social media!
  • How connected the overland community is and the power of Facebook Groups
  • How to manage your period on the road
  • The need to have specific space for women to connect
  • How groups on line can become a lifeline for travellers
  • Let’s talk about periods!
  • Advice and top tips for being on the road and having your period
  • Tampons, pads, Dixie Cups?
  • Pain management and comfort management
  • Stocking up in major cities and having a stock box
  • The biggest challenge they needed to overcome to start on their journey
  • Being terrified of Mexico 
  • Deciding to quit her job and leave everything behind
  • Struggling with the lack of purpose and a lack of routine
  • Money and financing the trip
  • illegal smuggling?!
  • Having start over money
  • Being high maintenance girls
  • Enjoying the local drinks!
  • The realities of how far you can make your money go
  • Budgeting and understanding where your money goes
  • Van lifers verses the overland community
  • Spending money on crap and stuff that wasn’t making us happy
  • Learning a cheaper way to live and why it is cheaper on the road
  • Magical moments on the road 
  • Learning how and when to say yes more
  • The freedom to see these amazing places
  • The unplanned and random situations!
  • Advice and top tips
  • Trust other people who have done what you are doing
  • START!!! Make a list and START!
  • Bring lots of underwear!
  • Be ok with making the trip about you
  • Facebook groups and what a great resource it was 
  • How the book came together
  • How an idea became a reality in 24 hrs
  • I’m older can I do this?

Social Media

Website - 

Facebook Group - @womenoverlandingtheworld 

Instagram - @womenoverlandingtheworld 

Instagram - @wowoverlandretreats 

Twitter - @womenoverland 


Sep 12, 2019

We first spoke with Fiona back in February 2018, where Fiona shared more about walking Great Britain; 993 miles, solo and unsupported over 57 days in 2017. This was followed in September by cycling almost 1200 miles, solo and unsupported, from Lands End to John O’Groats.

Fiona has come back on the Tough Girl Podcast EXTRA episode to share more about her most recent challenge, which involved setting 3 world records in 2018 for stand up paddle boarding the length of Great Britain! 

Fiona shares more about the challenge, from the logistics of getting a support crew together, funding the challenge as overcoming her deep seated fear of the sea. Fiona goes no to share more about her ambition for cycling around the coast of the Mediterranean, and what she has learned so far by cycling from Gibraltar to France.  

When she's not outside adventuring, Fiona runs the Adventure Book Club to inspire and support people to take on their own adventures. Fiona also coaches entrepreneurs to utilise the power of action to bring their own story to life.

“Getting to the start line is often the hardest part. You’ll never be 100 per cent ready so making that decision to just go and figure it out along the way is hugely liberating. Adventure has taught me more than anything else in life, that if I keep believing something is possible, I can push forward and make it happen.” 

Show notes

  • Finding out more about Fiona
  • We first spoke with Fiona in February 2018
  • Living a life of adventure 
  • Reflecting back on 2018
  • Being in the planning stages of SUP from Land’s End to John O’Groats
  • Being scared of the sea
  • Having the crazy idea and making it happen
  • Dealing with bad weather
  • Facing her fear of the sea and deep open water
  • Being able to manage her fear and the practical steps she took
  • Paying for the adventure 
  • Sponsorship?!
  • Taking out a personal loan
  • Why time is the precious resource 
  • Dealing with the winds on the first few days
  • SUPs across the Irish Sea
  • Accommodation, food and resupply
  • The challenges of having a support crew
  • Being focused when on the adventure 
  • 3 New World Records!
  • Finishing the challenge!
  • Facts and figures from the challenge
  • Overcoming her fear of the sea?
  • The Mediterranean Challenge
  • Travelling from Gibraltar to Nice in France
  • Part 2 of the challenge
  • The impact of doing public adventures
  • Why it’s ok to change your goals
  • Struggling to meet people on the trip
  • The next challenge!
  • Writing her first book - about SUP Britain
  • Start before you are ready
  • Quick Fire Questions


Social Media 


Twitter: @FionaLQuinn 

Instagram: @FionaLQuinn  

FaceBook: /FionaLQuinn 

Medium: @FionaLQuinn  

Book Club: 


Sep 10, 2019

In 2012, Kate was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and for the most part, doctors weren’t particularly optimistic about how she could improve her quality of life. Kate was living in the no-man’s land of having received a diagnosis, but nothing was relieving her symptoms. 

It took her a few years to find out what the combination of things would be that that would get her system working again. In 2015, Kate began training for her first triathlon, following her fist success a few months, later she had set her sights on doing an half-Ironman!

Training for Kate was really intense, and she often found it frustrating, because she felt sick and fatigued more often than other athletes, it was also taking her longer to recovery. Nonetheless, she persisted, and for Kate her goal of finishing a half-Ironman was her way of saying to the world that she was in charge of her body. 

Kate made the decision that it was all about her mindset and deciding to make the conscious choices to practice courage even after setbacks. During this podcast, Kate will teach you how to change your old patterns of self-doubt and create new courageous habits, which is turn will help you lead a more courageous life. Kate will share more detail about the powerful principles of habit-formation, psychological courage and emotional resilience.

Show notes

  • Being an endurance geek
  • What she loves about sport and why she is all in
  • Why she started to run
  • Running her first mile 
  • Using running for stress management until she over did it 
  • Not being able to walk 
  • Have serious issues with her Cuboid Bone (bone in the foot)
  • Getting through tough times and how she coped
  • Dealing with perfectionism 
  • Being treated as disabled
  • Seeing Dr. Paul Walton Chiropractor
  • Dealing with pain for over a year 
  • Getting back to running again and deciding to run a marathon
  • Getting a stress fracture
  • Getting over mental blocks and the importance of a strong foundation
  • Flirting with self destruction
  • Balancing the drive and ambition with listening to your body
  • The importance of listening to your body e.g. energy levels, sleeping, HR monitor, wearing a Fitbit everyday
  • Getting into cross fit 
  • Burnout - over training?
  • The courage habit and linking it to the first step
  • Dealing with her inner critic
  • Starting at zero
  • Why she got into triathlon
  • Her first Ironman…..
  • Why stopping was not an option
  • Setting BIG GOALS 
  • Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and how it changed her life (2012)
  • The power of the mind/body connection
  • The Courage Habits - BOOK
  • The Courage Habit Podcast
  • Quick Fire Questions


Social Media

Web ::

Instagram ::

FaceBook ::

Community ::


*Please note this episode has been marked as explicit. 


Sep 5, 2019

Katie-Jane is a British adventure girl living in the French Alps. She’s addicted to type 2 fun, powered by sugar and sunshine, and a lover of marzipan! Katie is mostly known for her organisation and planning skills (a queen of lists and highlighters), and her unwavering belief that anything is possible, whilst bringing a touch of pink and girly glamour to adventure.

Katie in her own words…

“My friends often refer to me as slightly crazy! But don’t be fooled… I’m not very brave, nor an adrenaline junkie or a daredevil, I’m just a normal girl, that through adventure is perpetually learning that ordinary people can do extraordinary things if they just can be bold enough to begin. When I am not busy at my desk designing websites for clients, or organising expeditions, you might find me looking out of my tent on a mountain summit, snuggled deep in my sleeping bag, drinking a cuppa, watching the sun creep up over the mountains at dawn.

I have a passion for exploring this wonderful world in which we live. Having visited over 50 countries on 5 continents so far, I still feel there’s so much more to explore. I have often found that stripped of comforts and faced with hardships and adversities, the completion of each journey becomes so much more rewarding. My life goals are to fill my day’s with wonderful adventures, making memories, seeing new places, meeting new faces, doing things that are difficult, and scaring myself a little, so that nothing feels familiar & therefore everyday becomes extraordinary.”

Show notes

  • Who is Katie
  • Living in the French Alps
  • Living a life of adventure for over 15 years
  • Having a passion for suffering
  • Getting addicted to challenges
  • How her recent challenge came about
  • Deciding to do the Iceland Traverse
  • Doing adventure for adventures sake
  • Have a tight budget and wanting to go somewhere wild and remote
  • Enjoying the adventure!
  • Sponsorship and raising money
  • The planning and preparation
  • Planning too much?
  • Figuring out water and river crossings
  • Taking ski googles while hiking in summer!
  • Preparing for the dust storms
  • 2 months of planning for 2 weeks hiking
  • North to South or South to North - does it matter?!
  • Money and costs
  • Being super relaxed at the start of the challenge
  • Having to start again!
  • Starting on tarmac
  • Navigation in Iceland
  • Dealing with the wind and rain
  • Not feeling lonely and enjoying her own company 
  • Daily routines
  • Solar charger was it worth it?
  • What Katie learned from the whole experience 
  • Doing her Mountain Leader Qualification - training course
  • Final words of advice for women who want to go on their own solo adventure 

Social Media


Instagram: @katielherpiniere 

Facebook: @katiesenduranceadventures  

Sep 3, 2019

Mara had a massive year of big challenges in 2018, from training for her first triathlon and Ironman UK. She then  ticked off completing a multi-stage ultra marathon off her bucket list by taking part in the Wadi Rum Ultra marathon in 2018.  The race was held in the desert in Jordan, and involved running just over 250km in five days! 

During the podcast Mara shares more about her triathlon training, how she bought all the gear she needed with a budget of £1000! Mara then goes into more detail about her biggest challenge to date - The Speed Project which she did in March 2019, involving a 340 mile (550K) relay race from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles all the way out to Las Vegas. There are no rules and the only aim is to run from LA to Vegas as fast as possible! This is a jam packed episode filled with motivation and top tips!

Show notes

  • Her aim is to encourage women and women of colour to step outside their comfort zone
  • The speed project
  • What life was like growing up
  • Being sporty and giving everything ago from Irish Dancing to horse riding
  • Playing netball for her school team
  • Hating PE lessons 
  • Having a phobia of deep water and doing everything she could to avoid the water
  • Dealing with bullying 
  • Being more academic 
  • Starting to get balance between sport and being academic
  • Getting into running and doing 4 Marathons
  • Wanting to do something exciting but not sure what she wanted to do
  • Doing an Ironman? Did she want to do this?
  • Deciding to do a marathon and experience a new city at the same time
  • Wanting to encourage more women to do marathons
  • Having a supportive family 
  • The barriers to doing an Ironman (no bike, limited money)
  • Why the distances inspired her 
  • Wanting to conquer her water phobia
  • Her first step after signing up 
  • Buying her first bike for triathlon
  • Doing all of her research before hand
  • Getting a triathlon coach
  • Building confidence in the water and how she got passed her phobia
  • Having a budget of £1,000 for her triathlon 
  • How the event went and why is was tough going
  • Starting to think about the next challenge!!
  • Not wanting to get the post ironman blues
  • The London Duathlon
  • The mental side of challenges
  • Wadi Run Adventure with Team Like a Girl
  • #DefyExpectationsTogether
  • Dealing with the heat
  • How she helped to prevent injury
  • How the team worked together
  • The Speed Project - the race, the challenge and dealing with the lack of sleep
  • Training for a middle distance triathlon and thinking big for 2020!
  • Advice and tips for other women to step outside their comfort zone
  • Who inspired Mara
  • Quick Fire Questions


Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @mara.thefitlondoner  

Twitter - @thefitlondoner 

Facebook - @thefitlondoner



Aug 29, 2019

Since 2010, Zoe has been working on inspiring others to get out and get their soles active to get their souls revived - particularly through this year’s challenge of #100MappyDays.   

HeadRightOut is the brand new face of WathWalk and it’s here to encourage YOU to head out and try something new...                                                                                                                                

*Do you need to give yourself more outside time?                                                                                                                                                                            *Do you need to step out of your comfort zone a little more?                                                                                                                                      *Are there things that you deliberately avoid doing in your daily life in case you get it wrong?                                                                                                                                                               *Would you love to find a ‘braver’, more confident you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then take a listen to this podcast episode because it is for you!  

HeadRightOut is about inviting everyone to become braver on a micro level, in order to face those bigger challenges that may seem unreachable at present.

As Zoe says, “Do something that scares you every day!” - Enjoy! 

Show notes

  • Who is Zoe?
  • Her love of walking 
  • Getting married in 2016!
  • Deciding to do the ‘up north triple crown’! (Pennine Way, Hadrian’s Wall & the Coast to Coast)
  • Having the most horrendous weather!!!
  • 16 days of British Rain
  • Keeping motivated
  • Going solo…
  • Walking thoughts and thinking about the future
  • Being able to support her parents
  • Needing to find a way of getting outside
  • #100MappyDays - where the idea came from
  • 2018 and the challenges faced at the start of the year
  • Doing the 50th Mappy Day on New Years Eve
  • Starting 2019 with a different perspective on life
  • Making time for yourself and why it can be hard to do 
  • Spending time reflecting back on life
  • Getting back on the bike!
  • When things don’t go to plan!!
  • Having 6 weeks off work…
  • Asking herself the tough questions
  • Making a massive decision that would change her life! 
  • The minimalists 
  • Making changes to save money and time
  • How everything is starting to come together now
  • Feeling empowered by the unknown
  • How WathWalk is evolving!
  • HeadRightOut
  • Launch date!
  • Heading off to hike the Coast to Coast!
  • Final words of advice 

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @headrightout  

Twitter  @headrightout  

Facebook @headrightout  

Aug 27, 2019

Wendy is setting out on a journey to the South Pole, her aim is to break the women’s speed record. This involves covering a total distance of 700 miles, approx. 17 miles each day, pulling kit and equipment in a pulk behind her, through the ice and snow, while avoiding crevasses and dealing with the challenging katabatic winds.

Antarctica is twice the size of Australia, and is officially a desert, it is the only continent with no permanent human inhabitants. Wendy will be solo, unsupported and unassisted. 

During this podcast, we learn more about Wendy her background, growing up, being a mum to 4 children and working a full time job. She shares more about where the idea came from, what’s going to be involved as well as sharing more of the detail behind the planning and preparation and what she has sacrificed in order to turn this dream into a reality. 

We will be speaking to Wendy again in 2020 after her challenge, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out! 

Show notes

  • 41, doing a big polar expedition in November
  • Heading off to South America in the next few weeks
  • Being inspired by polar history
  • Having a full time job and having 4 kids
  • Not being a professional athlete
  • Planning for over 5 years 
  • How she turned her dream into a goal
  • What she has learned along the way
  • Wanting to inspire other women along the way
  • How she got into sports
  • Her background in Adventures
  • Working backwards from her end goal…
  • Starting her Polar training
  • Maintaining her motivation over the 5 year period
  • Being driven as a person
  • How this challenge has taken over her whole life
  • Dealing with the logistics
  • How her family have stepped up and supported her
  • Breaking down the challenge into manageable chunks
  • Making marginal gains
  • How it occupies her mind all of the time
  • Let’s talk about the money (& how brexit may impact on it)
  • The hard graft of getting the money together 
  • How/why everyone has focused on her being a mum (of 4)
  • The mental preparation 
  • Being on her own for 38 + days
  • Starting everything on Christmas Eve and throwing herself into it
  • Her focus on mindfulness, and staying present in the moment
  • Dealing with tiredness
  • The physical training and how she’s been avoiding injury
  • Building up her strength and being the strongest she’s ever been
  • Example of her daily routine
  • Working with a nutritionist
  • Her first expedition/training trip in Norway
  • How she’s feeling about heading off in November
  • Flying into Antarctica on the 18th November 2019
  • Aiming to be the 7th woman to do this journey 
  • Advice and tips for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone

Social Media

Website -

Twitter - @betweensnowsky 

Instagram @betweensnowandsky 

Aug 22, 2019

Natalie Moore - quitting her job and heading to Madagascar for 6 weeks on a marine conservation program!

The ending of a bad relationship was the catalyst for Natalie taking back control of her life. Her first step was to sell the joint house, quit her job, and go to Madagascar for six weeks, where she volunteered in a marine conservation program. Since then, she's been pushing herself and her boundaries further and further, and completed her first ultra and multi day race in June. She's not fast, but she's determined. 

Words from Natalie, 

“I've been a long time listener of the podcast, and started supporting it almost after the first episode I listened to. It was so inspiring to me to hear about women doing amazing things, and I love knowing that we're all out there, doing them, even if it doesn't make the news, or the magazines. 

My happiness and my confidence have increased so much, and whenever I feel a bit of a wobble, I remember that if all these other amazing women can push themselves and achieve amazing things, I can at least try.”

Show notes

  • How she first heard about the tough girl podcast
  • Finding out more about Natalie 
  • How sports and exercise played apart in her life
  • Deciding to do her first triathlon 
  • Progressing in the triathlon
  • Being terrible at training 
  • Deciding to focus on running
  • Not getting the fear
  • Having a challenging 2018
  • Deciding to leave her relationship and quit her job
  • Not realising she wasn’t herself anymore
  • Heading off to Madagascar for 6 weeks
  • Having thinking time and time to reflect on life
  • Letting go of time and getting a sense of calm
  • The episodes which have resonated - Polly Vacher & Richelle Olsen
  • Not comparing herself with anyone else
  • Advice for other women and why you need to believe in yourself
  • What’s next…. and wanting to get back into triathlons or maybe an ultra…
  • Advice and tips for training needed!!!!


Carola Fekter - Running 12 marathons in 12 months on 4 continents to raise money for charity!

In 2017 Carola decided on a new challenge, completing in the World's Toughest Mudder a 24 hour Obstacle Race where each lap was 10 miles. Her goal was to do 5 laps, making it a total of 50 miles. It was while she was training for this race that she discovered the Tough Girl Podcast and she has been a huge fan ever since.

In 2018 she ran 12 Marathons in 12 months on 4 continents to raise money for charity. Shortly after Marathon number 10 she found out that she was pregnant, and had to decide whether to continue or abandon her big project. During this episode, Carola shares more about the World's Toughest Mudder,how she kept motivated and why she decided to run 12 marathons in 12 months, plus what happened when she found out she was pregnant with 2 marathons to go! 

Show notes

  • Living in Austria 
  • Her background
  • Discovering the tough girl podcast and Facebook group
  • Deciding to run in the Worlds Toughest Mother - 24 hr Obstacle Course Race
  • Being inspired by Sophie Radcliffe
  • How her race went!
  • Deciding not to quit half way through
  • The toughest obstacle 
  • Dealing with her fear of heights
  • Her big challenge in 2018
  • 12 marathons in 12 months for charity!
  • Going public with the challenge
  • Dealing with the negative pushback 
  • Dealing with the logistics and planning
  • Making compromises
  • Her background in running and running her first marathon in 2015
  • Learning from her new approach to running
  • Finding out she was pregnant with 2 more marathons to go…
  • Advice for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone

Social Media

Website  - (available in both English & German)

Twitter - @aerialspartan 

Instagram - @aerialspartan  

Facebook  - @aerialspartan 

Aug 20, 2019

Monika made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to ride the entire 3,058km route of the Vuelta a España. Which is know as one of cycling’s toughest grand tours. Monika started riding every morning at 6 am hours before the men started, she rode the full 21 stages which included a staggering 49,337m of climbing! This was all done in the blistering Spanish heat. 

Her mission was to prove her own RAD (Real, Adventurous, Daring) Method and to inspire other women to live a more adventurous life! 

During this podcast Monika shares more about her journey, studying over in America, not knowing if she was making the right decisions, trying to become a professional cyclist and realising it wasn’t for her. Monika is super passionate and positive about living an adventurous life! She goes after her goals with unbelievable focus - whether it is writing a book in 5 weeks or moving on a whim to a country she doesn’t speak the language of with just her bike and one nights accommodation booked. 

Show notes

  • Who is Monika
  • Growing up in Germany until she was 19
  • Wanting to be a CIA agent when she was younger
  • Deciding to move to America with a full time scholarship to play volleyball
  • Figuring out what she wanted to do with her life
  • Having to decide between a career in the World Bank or being a professional cyclist
  • Going back to her childhood and what life was like for her
  • Moving around a lot when she was younger and living in multiple places
  • Having a lot of energy and having a love for sports
  • Getting into volleyball in a big way
  • Not having a passion and struggling to decide what she wanted to do with her life
  • Figuring out how to pay for school and needing to get a scholarship
  • Spending 9 years living in America
  • Being unemployed at 30, with no mortgage, no plan and trying to decide what to do with her life
  • Moving with her bike to Spain (not speaking Spanish and not knowing anyone)
  • Trying a wide variety of different jobs
  • Making a positive impact on other people’s lives
  • Coaching other to live to their full potential 
  • Making the change to professional cycling in 2011
  • What she loves about cycling
  • How her friends and family reacted to her decision
  • What her definition of happiness is
  • Figuring out that professional cycling was not for her
  • Going back to a career - working for IBM as a management consultant as a management consultant
  • Giving herself one year to make it happen
  • Being scared that she had made a mistake
  • Being motivated to make it work and trying everything she could
  • Creating the RAD Method
  • Figuring out your purpose in life
  • Deciding to ride the in the Vuelta a España 
  • Getting funding for the race 
  • Everyone telling her she would fail
  • What a typical day looked like while riding in Spain
  • How she coped mentally with the pressures
  • Writing a book about the experience in 6 weeks
  • What the next challenge is going to be and why she wants to make a move into ultra running
  • Top tips and advice for other women
  • Inspiring others
  • The next big challenge!!

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @rad_monika  

Aug 15, 2019

Dani French - 42 challenges before turning 42 & Hannah Dayan - getting back into cycling and doing Cyclo-cross!

Dani French - Taking on 42 challenges before turning 42!

Dani French writes:

Hi, I love TG podcast, I was introduced last April and have embraced it thoroughly. I have almost listened to all of the back catalogue and am only a few shy. I started a 42 challenges before turning 42 last may shortly after beginning my TG journey and signed up to Patreon almost immediately after, I'm 19 challenges through and about to embark on a big 100 mile row next month. I had hip surgery between having my sons and various other complications, and at that time thought that my life as I knew it was ending, turns out so much has changed for the better that I'm fitter at 40 than 20! I have enriched my life so much since last April, thanks to you and your many amazing Tough Girls.

Website -

Show notes

  • Who is Dani
  • Being adventurous as a child
  • Being inspired by her parents 
  • How she heard about the tough girl podcast
  • Doing her own personal challenges
  • Sandhurst Sisterhood Facebook Group
  • Loving the rowing episodes
  • The next BIG challenge!
  • Rowing 100 miles!
  • Being happy with ageing and being excited to turn 40!
  • 42 by 42
  • Having a secret blog!
  • Training for the row
  • The charities and the 4 themes
  • What was the biggest challenge
  • Why Day 1 was the hardest
  • The importance of having a good plan
  • Doing challenges with children
  • Advice and tips for other women to get more challenges in their life
  • Words that she lives by 
  • The importance of great planning

Hannah Dayan - Getting back into cycling and doing Cyclo-cross!

Hannah Dayan writes:

I am planning after a 12 year break to get back into racing. Different discipline. The TG podcast has given me the confidence to give this a go. I've been so inspired and the one thing I have learned from all these amazing women is that life is short. Say yes to big dreams and big goals. And it's ok to be afraid. But so worth to find the tiniest little voice that wants to be so much louder and listen to her. So this autumn I'm diving into cyclo-cross. And I will probably come in last but I will be joyfully covered in mud. I still have logistics and my bike to sort out but the planning has started.

Show notes

  • Living in Birmingham
  • Growing up in Canada
  • Moving to the UK after her divorce
  • Starting a new life
  • Pushing herself outside her comfort zone
  • Being very shy
  • Taking big leaps every few years
  • How she got into cycling
  • Getting into mountain biking
  • Doing a 24hr mountain bike race!
  • Ride London (100 mile race)
  • Hearing about the tough girl podcast for the first time
  • Figuring out podcasts!
  • Being inspired by Paula Must Try Harder and Laura Try
  • The next challenge for 2019
  • Wanting to get back into racing and having a goal
  • What is Cyclo-cross?
  • Getting excited to race again!
  • Knowing it is ok to come in last
  • Trying to have fun
  • Working with a personal trainer and starting to lift weights
  • Advice and tips for other women
  • Why you should just do it!


*You can listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on the go via iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher!



Aug 13, 2019

Joyce was born in 1984, during the Lebanese Civil War in Beirut. While growing up, Joyce didn’t get to spend time outdoors in nature or in the mountains, her childhood was traumatic, living in a war zone and having to flee her family home to escape the bombings. 

Her love of sports and the outdoors came later on when she was a teenager. A friend invited her to go hiking and that experience of going outside and climbing mountains changed her. Through the challenges of the mountains,  she has found her strength, they have made her stronger, they have become her mentors. 

She has gone on to climb mountains all over the world and has become the first Lebanese women to climb the 7 highest summits on the 7 continents. During this podcast, Joyce, will share more of her journey, the passion, the challenges, the set backs she has had to overcome and what she has learned on the journey. She also shares more about her motivations and why she continues to dream big.

“Mountains are my mentors, they have changed me, and they have made me stronger.”    

Show notes

  • Living in Beirut
  • Growing up during the War
  • Coming from a modest family
  • Getting a good education and deciding to study Architecture 
  • Winning a scholarship to do her Masters in Italy
  • Getting her PhD
  • Her love of the mountains
  • Learning new skills and getting to love nature
  • Starting her 7 summit journey with Mt. Elbrus
  • Having to pause her 7 summits challenge  while she pursued her PhD
  • Deciding to complete the remaining 4 summits
  • Not being able to summit Aconcagua in Argentina and deciding to abort the summit attempt
  • Making hard decisions in the mountains
  • Climbing Kilimanjaro next
  • Going back to Aconcagua in 2017 and summiting
  • Spending over a year getting the fundraising to complete the next mountains
  • Struggling with moments of doubt 
  • Her angels and support system
  • How she is seen in Lebanon, and what her family and friends think about her ambitions to climb mountains
  • Breaking stereotypes and encouraging more women to climb
  • Raha Moharrak and being the youngest Arab women to climb the 7 summits 
  • What she has learnt from climbing the mountains  and why the mountains are her mentors
  • What climbing in Lebanon is like and how it prepared her for climbing mountains
  • Learning to trust her gut and going after her dreams
  • Getting the sponsorship and making it happen
  • #YESYOUCAN where is started from and how it evolved over time 
  • Sharing and promoting children’s dreams and why it was so important for her
  • Why the 7 summits isn’t the end!
  • Being ambitious and having big goals
  • Going after the LONG DISTANCE Explorers Grand Slam!
  • Recovering from Everest and training for her next challenge
  • Working full time while doing challenges
  • Dealing with the cold!
  • Using the Wim Hoff training method  
  • Her mantra….Her motto
  • Choosing what makes her happy and why it is your responsibility for your happiness
  • Advice for other women
  • Why the WHY is so important 
  • Being a one woman show and doing it all herself

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @joyceazzam7s 


Aug 8, 2019

Ellie Blake - Her journey to Ironman Wales! 

Ellie started listening to the Tough Girl Podcast back when it started in 2015 at what was a particularly low point in her life. She was feeling lost having just failed to get into medical school for the 3rd time, she became a shell of herself and spiralled into depression. 

Ellie was inspired by listening to the Sophie Radcliffe episode on her way to work one morning and just kept thinking wow!  Since then she has listened religiously on commutes, during training and planned new adventures 

“I truly believe this podcast gave me the confidence to make changes in my life and to have a little faith that it’s ok not to have everything figured out.”

Ellie has gone on to complete, her first, Sprint triathlon, half marathon, Marathon, 2 ultra-marathons and is currently training for Ironman Wales!

Show notes

  • 27 from Wiltshire 
  • Studying for her Masters in Aberdeen
  • Being half way through a career change
  • Training for Ironman Wales
  • Having a passion for cycling
  • Starting to listen to the tough girl podcast back in 2015
  • Trying to get into Medical School 
  • Feeling a bit lost and not knowing what she wanted to do with her life
  • Dealing with depression
  • Moving back in with her parents
  • Next steps forward
  • Starting with a private counsellor
  • Getting back into sport 
  • Spending all her time studying
  • Stopping doing everything she enjoys
  • Getting back into running
  • Summer of 2016 doing a sprint triathlon
  • Trying to figure out what she wanted to do
  • Taking a step backwards
  • Doing a half marathon, a marathon and an ultra marathon in 2017
  • The importance of having a goal
  • Why you have to enjoy your challenges!
  • Doing the 100K Race to the Stones and wanting to do it in one day!
  • Being inspired by Sophie Radcliffe and her Alpine Coast to Coast Challenge
  • Quitting her job to go travelling in Asia
  • Enjoying her new course and studying again
  • Working with a coach for Ironman Wales
  • What advice would she have liked to hear?
  • Having more balance in her life?

Meg Saunders - Hiking the Inca Trail and signing up for a marathon!

“I’m inspired to travel to experience as much of the world and its cultures and landscapes as possible. After completing the Inca Trail last year in memory of my dad, I literally feel unstoppable. Tough Girl has given me the motivation and realisation that I can complete so much more than I thought!”

Show notes

  • Living in Devon by the sea!
  • 29 years old, working as a graphic designer
  • How sports and the outdoors were not a part of her life
  • Starting to get into running
  • Losing her dad in 2016
  • Wanting to raise money for the hospice 
  • Signing up to the Inca Trail
  • Having a year to train and prepare
  • Heading over to South America and being terrified
  • Dealing with stomach issues
  • The biggest challenge on the trip - Day 2 - Dead Women’s Pass
  • Keeping motivated
  • Arriving at the Sungate into Machu Picchu
  • What happened when she got back home
  • Never listening to podcasts!
  • Trekfest
  • Adventure buddies
  • Signing up for the London Marathon
  • Advice and tips for women and girls who want more adventure in their life
  • Mental tips to keep going
  • Being inspired by Mirna Valerio
  • Follow her blog  -
  • Feeling proud of herself


Ali Mahoney-Johnson - NEW BOOK - Two Wheels to Chamonix!!!

Show notes

  • Riding to Chamonix
  • How it all started 
  • How the Tough Girl Podcast helped to inspire Ali
  • Writing a book about her adventure
  • Getting support from twitter
  • What can you expect from the book!
  • Informative, educational and heat-warming 
  • The What If method
  • Doing pro-active coping
  • What she has leant most from the process of doing the challenge and writing a book about the challenge
  • Setting up a new blog about travel and adventure

Social Media

Website -

Facebook @themahojos 

Instagram @themahojos  


Aug 6, 2019

Dr. Tamie J. Jovanelly is an Associate Professor of Geology at Berry College. Classically trained as a hydrologist, she has completed water quality assessments on five continents to make comparisons between developed, undeveloped, and developing countries and their relationships to local watersheds. 

Tamie grew up in Detroit in a working class family that had little ambition to go anywhere. Her brother ignited her spirit of adventure at the age of 10 by taking her for rides on the back of his motorcycle. By getting to explore the local area this encouraged and inspired Tamie to dream of travelling further afield. She accomplished this by pursing a career in academics, with a focus on Geology. Tamie has gone on to lead and run research expeditions all over the world.

Tamie’s first venture to Iceland was in 2006 when Iceland was still off the radar of most tourists. With the keys to a Toyota Yaris and a series of paper road maps, she and her older brother circled the island in 11 days. Over the course of the next decade she would visit nearly every summer, bringing with her keen undergraduate students who could keep up with the hiking!

Tamie has been told on several occasions by various people at different stages of her career that she doesn’t fit the mould of a scientist. However, this negatively doesn’t stop Tamie from going after her goals and following her passions. She lives by the mantra - Winners Do More. During this podcast, Tamie will share more about her career, the challenges she has faced, how she plans and why she breaks her life down into 6 months sections.

Tamie has recently authored the book:  Understanding the land of fire and ice: A geologist explains Iceland 

Show notes


  • Growing up in Detroit
  • Getting her first globe and wanting to travel
  • How her brother ignited her spirit of adventure at the age of 10 by taking her for rides on the back of his motorcycle
  • Knowing she wanted to be an international researcher
  • Having the opportunity to study in Japan
  • Leading study abroad trips for students
  • What she learned from spending 9 months in Japan
  • Thinking big picture to start 
  • The different types of expeditions
  • What life is like in the field
  • Her Mantra - “Winners Do More”
  • How she plans her life
  • 7 habits of highly effective people
  • Having a mission statement 
  • Setting 6 month goals
  • Planning 5 years out
  • Deciding to write a book
  • Her love and passion for Iceland
  • Running her first marathon
  • Advice and tips for women who want to be more adventurous

Social Media

Website -

Aug 4, 2019

Shamila grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule where she was deprived of an education and confined to her home. While Shamila and her family knew there were severe consequences for families who taught their daughters how to read and write, their dedication and belief in the importance of education overcame their fears, and Shamila studied in secret.

Shortly after the Taliban were removed from power, Shamila began to play football (soccer), a sport that in the country is male-dominated and socially taboo for women. Shamila, found her passion and playing football gave her the freedom and courage to come out of her comfort zone and to fight for what she believed in. 

Shamila found her voice and began to fight for women’s rights. With the help of the Afghan Football Federation, she worked to establish the first Afghan Women’s National Football Team in 2007. Shamila was proudly named Captain of the Women’s National Football Team and has said, “Soccer provided me with the opportunity for an education and connected me to other women around the world who are fighting for gender equality and the advancement of women's athletics”. Shamila’s goal has been to inspire and empower all women, she believes that football and other sports unite people from different backgrounds, and promote gender equality.

Show notes

  • Her love of football and where it came from 
  • Coming from a family of 7 women (only 1 brother)
  • Growing up in Afghanistan
  • Having limited opportunities and not being able to go to school
  • Wanting to do something that had never been done
  • Fighting against gender norms
  • Doing the stuff she wasn't meant to do 
  • Growing up during the fall of the Taliban
  • Starting to get an education and missing 5 years of school
  • Going back to school in 2001 and why it was so important to her
  • Helping to establish the first national football team
  • Going to the football federation
  • Dealing with the challenges and obstacles put in her way
  • Playing for the national team for 2 years
  • Wanting to go to school in America 
  • Having to leave Afghanistan due to security concerns
  • Getting to visit her parents
  • Being away from home for 11 years
  • Working out religiously and why it is so important to her
  • Being captain of the National Team and what was involved
  • Women's sports not being taken seriously
  • What can we do to help and support
  • Watching the Women’s World Cup 
  • Her role models
  • Her vision for the future and what she wants to see for women
  • Advice and tips for women who are in a challenging situation
  • Why complaining isn’t worth it

Social Media

Website -

Twitter -  @Sham_Kohestani   

Instagram  @shamila_kohestani

Aug 4, 2019

Mel lives a life of adventure and is inspiring others to believe that anything is possible.

Mel was a fit and healthy young woman, who loved to get outside, go running and ride bikes, while caring for her horses. After a series of life changing strokes Mel’s life was turned upside down, she was unable to walk and after her third stroke in 2008, struggled to use much of the left side of her body.

Fast forward four years after watching the Beijing Paralympics from her hospital bed, Mel was racing in front of 80,000 people at the London 2012 Paralympics. At this point, Mel had only been involved in the sport for 15 months.

Mel went on to represent Team GB for the next 4 years, where she achieving track world records, European and World major medal success.

At the end of 2016 Mel made the move from track racing, to endurance and road racing. She has found her new passion, hand cycling.

Mel has gone on to break the 2 hour time barrier in the London Marathon, and has recently smashed both the men and women’s  LEJOG World record - hand cycling 874 miles in 6 days, 22 hours and 18 mins! 

Show notes

  • What life was like growing up 
  • Her love for horses and being outside
  • Wanting to be a vet and marry a farmer
  • Leaving school at 16
  • Having her first stroke in 2002
  • Trying to figure out what caused it
  • Dealing with the uncertainty 
  • Having her 3rd stroke 
  • Not being able to walk any more and having to spend a lot of time in the stoke unit
  • Watching the Paralympics 
  • Getting back into sports and fitness and why it was so important
  • Trying wheel chair racing for the first time and getting a coach
  • Her dream of being selected for the Great British Team for the London 2012 Olympics
  • Now what?!
  • Dealing with a crisis of confidence
  • Why she prefers the longer distances to sprints
  • What is was like racing at the 2012 London Olympic games
  • Racing in the London Marathon and why she loves it - Plus getting a PB
  • Having to wait for heart surgery 
  • Upper body strength and training in the gym
  • How Handcycle Britain - LEGOG - World Record Attempt came about
  • How hand cycling has become her career
  • Her mental performance mindset and using that during the challenge
  • Smashing the record -  6 days, 22 hours and 18 mins!!
  • What a typical day was like and planning to cycle for 10 hours a day
  • Dealing with the challenging race conditions
  • Starting to think about her next challenge!
  • Getting off road on her bike
  • The cost of handbikes 
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @teamdolly  

Twitter @Dolly2racer 

Facebook  - 


Aug 4, 2019

Paula has had a passion for running every since she was young, she was inspired by her father to take up running and joined her first running club when she was 9 years old and she hasn’t stopped, apart from when dealing with injury. 

Paula is a British long-distance runner, who has dominated at the marathon distance - 26.2 miles. She has won the London Marathon and New York Marathon three- times, as well as winning the 2002 Chicago Marathon. In 2003, Paula ran the fastest female marathon of all time at the London Marathon. A record breaking time of 2 hrs, 15 mins and 25 seconds. This record still stands today. 

I got to meet Paula at RunFestRun where I heard her talk about her career the ups and the downs and what she’s learnt along the way. I know her story will inspire others, I’m so pleased Paula has come on the Tough Girl Podcast on the 4th year anniversary to share more about her career, why she loves running, her training tactics, mental strategy as well as sharing more about her life now after becoming a mother and after retiring from professional running. 

Show notes

  • What life was like growing up
  • When running started to become more serious
  • Joining her first running club at 9 years old
  • Having fun with her running 
  • Heading off to University 
  • Wanting to see if she could make it as a full time athlete
  • Not having to get a proper job until her 40s
  • Who her role models were growing up 
  • Pushing her body hard and competing against herself
  • Dealing with injury and not being able to run
  • Why the marathon is her favourite race
  • Running according to “feel”
  • Race strategies and tactics for the marathon
  • If you have a gap in a race you have to exploit it
  • Her pain levels and pain threshold 
  • The highs and lows of 2003 from setting the record to being injured and not being able to walk
  • The long term plan for the Athens Olympics in 2004
  • Hitting the wall at the Athens Olympics 
  • Accepting what happened and moving forward
  • Wanting to end the Olympic curse…
  • Falling out of love with running
  • What it was like running the fasting marathon time in London
  • Period during training and races
  • Starting to think about retiring from running and why the decision was made for her
  • Wanting to retire on her own terms in 2015
  • Never getting to do an ultra
  • Having children and how her life changed
  • Running through her pregnancy
  • School sports day!
  • What running looks like now
  • Tips and advice for women who want to get into running
  • Families on Track
  • Being Paula Radcliffe and what she does now!
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @paula_radcliffe   

Twitter @paulajradcliffe 


Aug 4, 2019

I set up Tough Girl Challenges in 2014 as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls.

I host the Tough Girl Podcast where I interview inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges. The podcast is listened to in 174 countries around the world and has passed 850,000 downloads. The podcast is in the top 15% of podcasts globally and has a unique focus on women who do adventures and undertake big physical challenges.  

I completed the Marathon des Sables in April 2016 (6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara Desert), in 2017 I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail solo and unsupported (2,190 miles) in 100 days (which I also daily vlogged)! In 2018 I cycled over 4,000 km from Vancouver, Canada via the Pacific Coast Highway to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. 

I have a Masters in Women & Gender Studies (2018), with my dissertation focusing on women, adventure and fear. I am also a qualified Yoga Instructor & Personal Trainer (2019). I am now based back in the UK and am looking for my next challenge and adventure!

Show notes

  • Plans for the episode
  • Having a normal job for 8 years
  • How Tough Girl Challenges came about
  • Moving back in with my parents
  • 2015 - the start of the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Doing the Marathon des Sables in 2016
  • The Appalachian Trail in 2017
  • Starting my Masters in October in 2017
  • Dissertation on Women, Adventure & Fear
  • Having a busy 2018
  • Spending time with my family in Australia
  • Reflections on 2016 and goals for 2017
  • Reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018
  • Having the adventure blues 
  • Reflections on 2018 
  • Keeping my brain stimulated
  • The start of 2019
  • Wanting to take some time off social media
  • How the yoga wasn’t what I was expecting
  • April 2019 and still being tired
  • Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga
  • Not having a plan and not knowing what I’m doing next
  • Becoming a personal trainer - 4 week intensive course
  • The 4th Year Anniversary 
  • Wanting to double down and speak to more women for the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Being interviewed by Lily Dyu for her book (See page 73)
  • Being in an academic text book
  • Answering questions from the Tough Girl Tribe!
  • What are your future goals
  • Hitting 1 Million downloads
  • Creating a massive resource for women and girls
  • Catching up with previous guests for Tough Girl Extra
  • My long term goal of getting a PHD - Dprof
  • The Tough Girl Podcast made me do it!
  • How do I find guests?
  • How do I decide the podcast order
  • Where did I expect to be in 4 years
  • Learning patience
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Next challenge


On the 4th August 2019 the Tough Girl Podcast will be celebrating it’s 4 year anniversary! To mark the occasion in style I’ve decided to release 4 special episodes on the Sunday!!

7 am - Sarah Williams - Solo episode, reflecting back on 2018, the start of 2019 and answering questions from the tribe!

10 am - Paula Radcliffe MBE - fastest female marathoner of all time!

1pm - Mel Nicholls - Paralympian, Endurance and Adventure Athlete, Handcycle LEJOG World Record Holder.

4 pm - Shamila Kohestani - Former captain of the Afghan Women's soccer team.


Throughout the rest of August, we will have our regular Tough Girl Tuesday episodes coming out.

6th Aug - Dr. Tamie Jovanelly - World Explorer, focusing on major river systems including the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, & Ganges.

13th Aug - Dr. Joyce Azzam - First Lebanese women to climb the 7 Summits & going after the Explorers Grand Slam!

20th Aug - Monika Sattler - Management Consultant turned World Record Holder - 1st Women to cycle the Vuelta a España - 3,058km with 49,337m of climbing!

27th Aug - Wendy Searle - Attempting to break the women's speed record for solo expedition to the South Pole, November 2019.

Plus - I will be catching up with members of the Tough Girl Tribe - for Tough Girl Extra who will be sharing more about how the tough girl podcast has changed their life! They will share the episodes that stand out for them, they will share more about their own journeys and what the tough girl podcast has inspired them to do!

Aug 1, 2019

Currently there is no Tour De France for women so a women’s team called the ‘InternationElles’ decided to cycle the whole course but start a day before the men’s race in order to raise awareness about this inequality.

The InternationElles team are riding each day alongside female team Donnons Des Elles Au Vélo J-1 - the French group of riders who launched the riding challenge five years ago and have continued every year since. This year, the teams are hoping their new collective power will send a clear message to the sporting world - to give women’s cycling the equal opportunities it deserves.

Pippa was part of this international team of women who set out to show the world why women should be a part of races like this. In this podcast we catch up with Pippa who shares more about joining the team, the planning and preparation before and during the race - the 2019 Tour route will be the most mountainous in the event’s 106-year history. And unlike the men, the female teams will have to cycle alongside cars and other vehicles that wouldn't ordinarily be permitted during the official tour. 

Pippa shares more about her love of being in the mountains and what the magical moments where while out riding. Pippa gives us an incite into life on the road during the tour from Brussels to Paris,  21 stage, 3,460kms as part of an all women team of 10.  

Show notes

  • Learning more about Pippa
  • Cycling the Tour de France - a day before the men!
  • What is the Tour de France
  • Why this challenge is so important for women
  • 21stage race, starting in Brussels and fishing in Paris
  • The InternationElles cycling team and fighting for equality
  • Who is behind the InternationElles and how she became a part of the team
  • The logistical nightmare of the race
  • riding with 23 women to fight for equality
  • Being in Brussels before the start of the race
  • Dealing with the nerves before the race
  • Getting into a proper routine while on the road
  • Hitting the mountains and loving climbing especially in Stage 6 of the Tour
  • Getting to Paris and completing the journey!
  • The last day in the mountains and the challenges they dealt with 
  • Wanting to cross the line together as a team
  • Dealing with weather challenges
  • How her body coped with the physical demands
  • The mental side of the challenge
  • Team work and what her role was
  • Rest and recovery routines
  • Having no time and having to focus on the practical things
  • What Pippa would have done differently if she did it again
  • The press, and the support for equality
  • The Tour de France and the group they have set up to launch a women’s event
  • Why as individuals we cal alls do something
  • What’s next for Pippa
  • How her family supported on the tour
  • Being away from her son
  • A documentary? A film?
  • This is our time - advert
  • Final words of advice and why you need to believe in yourself


Throughout the rest of August, we will have our regular Tough Girl Tuesday episodes coming out.

6th Aug - Dr. Tamie Jovanelly - World Explorer, focusing on major river systems including the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, & Ganges.

13th Aug - Dr. Joyce Azzam - First Lebanese women to climb the 7 Summits & going after the Explorers Grand Slam!

20th Aug - Monika Sattler - Management Consultant turned World Record Holder - 1st Women to cycle the Vuelta a España - 3,058km with 49,337m of climbing!

27th Aug - Wendy Searle - Attempting to break the women's speed record for solo expedition to the South Pole, November 2019.

Plus - I will be catching up with members of the Tough Girl Tribe - for Tough Girl Extra who will be sharing more about how the tough girl podcast has changed their life! They will share the episodes that stand out for them, they will share more about their own journeys and what the tough girl podcast has inspired them to do!

Jul 30, 2019

Christine is half Spanish, born and raised in NYC, she was an only child and traveled from a young age. She has been surrounded by great mentors such as her grandmother, mother and family friends. She has been raised in a multicultural environment by strong women who have empowered her to go after her dreams.   

Christine is the co-founder and President of Mad Dog Expeditions an internationally recognised technical scuba diving and exploration company based in NYC. For more than 20 years Christine has been diving and exploring in remote regions of the world. Christine is the first woman to dive and explore beneath the Arctic Sea ice and ice caves of the Canadian High Arctic. Christine is also the first woman to dive the dangerous piranha saturated waters of the Amazon's Rio Negro and its tributaries. 

During this podcast, Christine shares more about her background, growing up in NYC and her struggle to get certified to scuba dive (for fun and business) while battling asthma, severe inner ear issues and sea sickness. Although her health issues have always been there, Christine learnt at an early age how to manage them, by working closely with doctors, remaining disciplined and conservative especially when she is in remote locations and working in extreme environments.

Christine is very active in oceanographic and wildlife conservation issues surrounding indigenous peoples. She is a role model for young women everywhere and passes on her expertise by mentoring, lecturing and presenting to student groups throughout the country. Christine is a Fellow of both the Explorers Club in New York and the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Show notes

  • Living and growing up in New York City
  • How a city girl got into travel and adventure
  • Growing up in a multi-cultural family
  • Training and leaning how to scuba dive
  • Dealing with Asthma as a child and how it impacted her ability to do sports
  • The opportunity to start a travel company
  • The first expedition - A trip to the Canadian High Arctic
  • What it’s like under the water
  • Dealing with the cold
  • 2010 working on a project to find a US Submarine in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Using Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
  • Discovering history under water
  • What is the right thing to do?
  • Diving in the Amazon
  • Length of expeditions and dealing with weather issues
  • Being the only women on teams
  • Why you have to be self reliant 
  • Why the company was called Maddog Expeditions
  • Loving huskies dogs
  • Skiing to the North Pole as part of an all women team (2015)
  • Not knowing anyone before heading out to the North Pole
  • Getting competent on skies
  • Why women are tough
  • Getting injured on the ice and having to keep on going
  • Planning to head out to the North Pole in 2020
  • How Exploring Women came about
  • Why you should go out and do something you never though you could do
  • A new book coming in 2020
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Quest for knowledge - thirst for adventure 


Social Media

Website -

Empowering women, sharing firsthand knowledge, pursuing adventure and creating strong role models

"Quest For Knowledge | Thirst For Adventure”

Instagram: @Exploringwomen 


Jul 25, 2019

We first spoke with Laura in December 2017 when she shared more about solo kayaking in Russia, cycling the Wild Atlantic Way and circumnavigating 3 of the Channel Islands in an extreme triathlon! Laura has gone on to complete, The North Sea Cycle route (Eurovelo 12) which is the world's longest signposted cycle route. Over two and a half months, Laura cycled through 8 countries and covered a distance of over 6,000km. She named this challenge the #GreatNorthRide.

Laura is a full time adventurer and motivational speaker, she has now written and published her first book - Kairos - 

“ Kairos: The right or opportune moment (the supreme moment); a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. The perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement.”

During this podcast, I’m super excited to catch up with Laura as she share more about, Kairos, the #GreatNorthRide, the challenges of getting over injury, as well as more info about her day to day life, Laura also answers quick fire questions from what time she gets up in the morning to her favourite piece of kit. 

Laura will leave you inspired to take on your own personal challenge! Take a listen now! 

Show notes

  • Writing her first book!
  • The definition of Kairos
  • Writing the book and going back to 2012
  • The Great North Ride (which hugs the coasts of the North Sea)
  • From Scotland to Norway - 8,countries, 3000 miles
  • Where the idea came from and why she was wanting a bigger challenge
  • Getting really excited about the challenge!
  • How does she start planning
  • Being a big planner and why it is was so important to have a rough route schedule
  • The spreadsheet life!
  • Co-ordinating community rides and reaching out to schools
  • Logistics and why she set the dates and meeting places
  • Planning to be away for 2.5 months having one rest day a week
  • Dealing with tough terrain and a heat wave
  • Needing more rest on longer challenges
  • Dealing with loneliness in Europe in the final 6 weeks
  • Her mental habits that helped her 
  • Why the UK was the perfect way to start the challenge
  • Day to day life on the road
  • Why routines on the road were so important
  • Budgeting, money and how much it cost
  • Starting in the Shetland Islands
  • Getting to the start line
  • What the NC500 (warm up ride)
  • Dealing with injury and failure
  • Coming back from injury 
  • Frustration and being kind to yourself
  • What she does before and after cycling 
  • The power of a lacrosse ball
  • Eating pineapple
  • The sites on the way
  • Being tacked again…
  • Getting to the end of the trip
  • How she felt after the challenge
  • Having nothing to prove anymore 
  • Getting to be ok with failure 
  • Heading back home and coming back to reality
  • Starting to write her book and needing the story to be right
  • Having to say no to a lot of things
  • Perfectionism and why perfect is not the end goal
  • Day to day life as an adventurer
  • Enjoying her life and getting to inspire the younger generation
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Final words of advice and top tips
Jul 23, 2019

Jen and her husband Sim have completed multiple marathons, ultra-marathons, Ironman triathlons and adventure races. In 2015 they decided they had had enough of the traditional way of living and spent a year living under canvas with their two young children (5 and 7 years old), they used this opportunity to explore more of  Britain’s National Parks. 

Jen enjoys writing about nature, families, sport and adventures, she co-authors books with Sim, and their books include two of the Day Walks series from Vertebrate; The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain (2018); Amazing Family Adventures (2017); and Wild Running (2014). 

Jen is an advocate of sustainable adventuring, and she works with organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission to highlight the importance of looking after our precious wild places.

Show notes

  • Growing up and loving the outdoors and playing sports
  • Moving from London to the countryside
  • Not really enjoying sports at school  - but loving running
  • How she uses running to get “me time”
  • Focusing on running and getting into ultra marathons
  • Recovering from a car crash
  • Her first marathon…. the Snowdonia Marathon
  • Fitting her running in around her life
  • Why she loves running
  • Combining her passions for writing and running
  • Not getting maternity pay and not being able to work
  • Getting her first publishing deal
  • Deciding to live in a tent for a year (to have an adventure and to save money!)
  • How she met her husband - Sim
  • The reality of living in a field with a 3 year old and a 6 month old
  • Having a back up plan
  • Camping in the UK throughout winter
  • Having supportive friends
  • How life changed after having children
  • Home schooling the children
  • The race for the stones (while still breast feeding)!
  • Wanting to prove to herself that she could take on a big challenge
  • Struggling with motivation while running and how she got passed it
  • Amazing Family Adventures (a book with the National Trust)
  • Exposing children to risk 
  • Not putting her children on social media
  • Advice for new parents for getting children involved in adventure
  • Leaving tent life behind and moving back into a house
  • The Adventurers Guide to Britain 
  • New books coming out next year!


Social Media

Website - 

Facebook - @jenandsimbenson

Instagram - @jenandsim_adventures  

Twitter - @jenandsim 

Jul 18, 2019

Ali is a personal trainer and a passionate runner, she lives in Amersham with her partner and 2 children.

We first spoke with Ali in 2015 where she shared more about how she got into running, doing the Marathon des Sables and the Druids Ultra.

Since we last spoke Ali has joined the Great Britain 24hr racing team and has been pursuing her marathon goal of sub 3 hrs (Her current PB is 3hr 1 min!).

Ali keeps strong by lifting weights, and doesn’t stick to a strict training program, she listens to her body and plans training around her goals. Ali provides lots of great advice and tips whether you are new to running, or are looking to enter longer distance races. 

Show notes

  • Who is Ali
  • Her love for running
  • What she has been doing since we last spoke
  • Still trying to break the 3 hour barrier in the marathon
  • Running a PB of 3hr 1min
  • Running sub 7 minutes….
  • Being proud of her result
  • Her emotions while crossing the finish line
  • Knowing at the half way point she wasn’t going to break the 3hr mark
  • Not believing she can do it
  • “I’m not good enough”
  • Keeping happy throughout the year
  • Doing what she enjoys doing
  • Her love for Park Run 
  • Planning her running in 2019
  • Letting your body recover
  • Being selected for the World Championships in October.
  • Recovery
  • The importance of strength work 
  • Not doing massive mileage
  • Mobility work and making use of Youtube
  • Recovery runs???
  • Working out in her garage gym
  • The Grand Union Canal Race - 145 miles 
  • Why it was one of the hardest races she’s done
  • Having a buddy runner
  • Struggling through the last 20 miles
  • The mental aspects of the journey
  • Getting more competitive over the final 13 miles
  • The ups and downs of running ultra
  • Needing people to be tough with her
  • Going beyond 24 hours running
  • The highs and the lows on the journey
  • The European Championships and only having 3 women
  • Getting a Bronze Medal
  • Putting her legs up in the air
  • Why it is all about the eating on a 24 hr race
  • Eating from half an hour into the start of the race
  • Watch a short video from the race
  • The Spartathlon Ultra Race
  • Advice for ultra runners

Ali is on twitter @AliJYoung

Jul 16, 2019

Krystle is an adventure sports photographer from Queensland, Australia, although she now lives a semi-nomadic lifestyle in her quest to capture and present unique moments from extreme sports, expeditions and adventures across the globe. 

Driven by a passion to capture the most unique perspective not yet thought of, Krystle is willing to travel to get the shot. Whether that’s camping on a frozen fjord for a month in the extreme cold of the Arctic, or hanging out with 23 BASE jumpers paragliding in the Karakoram Range in Pakistan. Krystle consistently brings attention to the demanding adventures and landscapes that the public is rarely fortunate enough to be exposed to.

During this podcast Krystle share more about her passion for travel and photography and how she gained the skills necessary to do this job. She share the challenges of being on the road for 11 months out of every year and how she maintains her physically and mental well being. Krystle also shares top tips and advice for you to ensure you are living your most full life and going after your dreams. She also talks passionately about her Plan A and why that’s the only plan she has. 

Show notes

  • Growing up on the sunshine coast
  • Where her love of travel comes from
  • Being inspired by National Geographic
  • Not having the money to go travelling at 18
  • Her love of photography and where it came from 
  • Loving the outdoors 
  • Life after university and why university was so frustrating!!
  • Being interested in sports photography
  • How she started to add travel into her work
  • Starting to build a network over 4 years while being based in Sydney
  • How she made it happen 
  • Looking for true, gritty, raw adventure
  • Saving every dollar possible to afford to travel
  • Preparing for the Arctic for a month
  • Keeping camera’s working in extreme conditions
  • The challenges while out on expeditions 
  • Dealing with team dynamics and the importance of communication
  • Going paragliding in Pakistan 
  • Women in adventure photography
  • Travelling constantly 
  • Missing having a home and having a base
  • Trying to reset the balance
  • Getting into free diving
  • Trying to stay mentally and physically well when travelling so much
  • Leaving her stuff in a shipping container with her grand parents
  • What’s on the bucket list?!
  • Advice for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone
  • Only having a Plan A and making it work

Social Media

Website -

Instagram - @krystlejwright   


Jul 11, 2019

We first spoke with Sally back at the very start of the Tough Girl Podcast, Sally was one of the first 4 guests. During the first episode we focused on her row across the Atlantic Ocean with her mum who she hadn’t spoken to in 10 years! Since 2015, I’ve heard her give motivational talks, and met Sally on multiple occasions, she’s become a good friend. Sally is also part of the Tough Girl Tribe (closed FB group for guests and patrons of the tough girl podcast).

Earlier on this year, her book  “Sally's Odd at Sea” was selected for the monthly book club (run by Allison McArthur). So much came out from the discussion, such as the challenges of writing the book, feedback on the cover, working as a humanitarian aid worker, becoming a Personal Trainer and working with the athletes in the gym at the 2012 London Olympics, sailing the last leg of the Clipper Round the World, plus so much more! I decided it would be fab to get Sally back on the podcast to share more about her other adventures and challenges she’s been involved with. 

Some of the adventures and challenges include: Qualifying as a humanitarian aid worker with Shelterbox and being deployed to two disasters. Joining the incredible ‘1st’ women from the Armed Forces to climb the Chemin De la Liberte. Recording a documentary about the most remote islands in the world. Writing articles for the BBC Magazine and presented them on BBC Radio 4, which included going to the Galapagos to write about El Niño. Sally also tried to row round Great Britain - but was picked up by the RNLI in Margate!!

Show notes

  • How we know each other
  • The Tough Girl Tribe book club
  • Feedback on the book cover…
  • Finding out more about Sally and her life as an adventurer
  • How times have changed
  • Going against the norms of society 
  • Being at peace with her decision about her career
  • Becoming a humanitarian disaster relief worker
  • Losing a friend in a Tsunami 
  • Suffering from anxiety
  • Being deployed to disaster zones
  • Coping emotionally 
  • Adjusting back to normal life
  • Not having to prove herself anymore
  • Having her daughter (after 10 years)
  • Going on adventures
  • Health and fitness after a bad pregnancy
  • The challenges with social media 
  • Surviving for 3 years
  • Resilience training 
  • Walking the ‘Chemin De la Liberte’ the freedom trail
  • The challenges of team dynamics
  • Being stuck in very challenging situations
  • Why journalling doesn’t work for you
  • The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
  • Not being great at sailing!
  • Needing to get off the boat
  • Breaking her thumb in half and being treated in Amsterdam
  • The Row around Great Britain and everything that went wrong…
  • Wanting to spend more time outdoors
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • The Well-beginners Podcast
  • A new children’s book! 
  • Starting a new campaign - Active Pregnancy 
Jul 9, 2019

Shona left inverness when she was 17 years old looking for something, over the years she tried a variety of different careers; a nurse, a counsellor, an aid worker, a charity project manager, a support worker at a women’s refuge and as a personal trainer all while trying to discover what she loved and what she was passionate about. 

Shona has gone on to explore more of her passions and interests which includes the mountains and spending time in nature. Four years ago, as she was approaching her 40th birthday, she realised she wasn’t living the life she dreamed of or going on the adventures that she wanted to. Shona had been waiting for her circumstances to change but they weren’t so she decided it was time to stop putting her life on hold and time to start living. Every year since she has gotten, a little bit bolder and a little bit braver! In 2016 it was the Outer Hebrides cycle followed by the North Coast 500 cycle in 2017 and the Cape Wrath Trail in 2018. 

This year, Shona is heading off to America to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT - 2,650 miles stretching from Canada to Mexico). We will be catching up with Shona at the half way point to see how she is getting on and also at the end of the hike. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out! New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time. 

Show notes

  • Who is Shona - living in Inverness, Scotland
  • Reinventing herself many times
  • Retraining as a life coach 
  • Being passionate about nature and being in the outdoors
  • Leaving home at 17 and not having any clue about what she wanted to do
  • Discovering herself and what makes her feel alive
  • How the outdoors played a part of her life when she was growing up
  • Working as an Aid Worker in South Sudan
  • The nature connection
  • Moving back to the highlands and wanting to explore the hills more
  • Deciding to go on a big solo adventure to celebrate turning 40 and how this was the starting point
  • The joy and happiness of being outdoors
  • Not caring what people think
  • Heading to the Outer Hebrides to go on a cycle adventure!
  • How it helped to change her life
  • Taking the first step and why it can be the hardest
  • Scared of going back to her old indoor way of living
  • Book - The Living Mountain - By Nan Shepherd 
  • Joining the Inverness Mountaineering club
  • Cycling the North Coast 500 on a road bike
  • Not having a car and not being able to get out to the hills 
  • Getting help and support to learn new skills
  • The Adventure Syndicate 
  • Remembering the nature connection and why we all have it within us
  • The Cape Wrath Trail in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Practical advice and tips
  • “I can do hard things” 
  • The fear of the cold
  • The dream to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Flying to London on the 1st July and starting the trail on the 4th July
  • Planning and preparation for the Trail
  • Figuring out how to take off 6 moths to go and hike the trail
  • How’s she's feeling before the start!
  • The reaction of friends and family
  • What’s going to be happening to the blog?
  • Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to take on a big challenge

Social Media

Website -

Facebook -  @shonamacphersoncoaching  

Instagram - @walkwildcoach 



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