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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 - www.toughgirlchallenges.com and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: July, 2021
Jul 29, 2021
Nuran in her own words:
 
“Lover of road trips, the great outdoors, and all things natural; I feel truly free and content in the mountains.
 
After giving up my corporate job in 2015, I embarked on a 7-week road trip through Europe with my two children in tow to visit friends and family. The kids were 3 and 6 years old at the time and I had no idea when I might go back to work, so wanted to make the most of our summer together. 
 
Since my husband wasn’t able to join us due to work commitments – and because I’m not one for sitting at home during the summer holidays, I went on my own. 
 
Little did we know that what started as a spontaneous idea, would soon turn into the regular highlight of our year.
 
Our road trip adventures have taken us across Europe and we fell in love with the Alps and the Scottish Highlands. This summer we are hoping to explore the Italian Dolomites not least because I really want us to try a Via Ferrata hike there.
 
I’m a huge believer in “trying out new things” or “just going for it”. 
 
You can’t truly know what you are capable of without trying it. This is especially amazing to witness with children when they’ve achieved something for the first time! With experience comes trust and self belief; these are the values that I try to instil in my kids.
 
As Thomas Fuller once said, “All thing are hard difficult before they are easy.”
 
Therefore, I’ve just launched my adventure & travel blog “www.growadventurously.com" where my mission is simple: I want to inspire mums to adventure solo with their kids; through adventure/travel tips & advice, itineraries and green & healthy lifestyle guides. I want to give them the confidence to experience this joy with their kids, make wonderful memories and grow adventurously together.”
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Growing up in Germany to Turkish Parents
  • Being based in South East London for the past 15 years
  • Having 2 kids, aged 7 & 11 years old
  • Spending time outdoors while she was growing up
  • Doing lots of sports in her teen years 
  • Loving adventure and taking the opportunities to try something new
  • Deciding to go sky diving last minute on a business trip!
  • Why you should seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunities
  • Having children in her early 30s
  • Deciding to make a change in 2015
  • The life/work balance 
  • Having 7 weeks off with the kids
  • Wanting to do something fun
  • Deciding on a road trip to Germany 
  • Her role models when she was younger
  • Planning and preparation for the first road trip
  • Figuring out the loop
  • Structure of the day
  • How to entertain the children
  • Loving audio books
  • Dealing with meltdowns
  • How it worked being solo 
  • Magical moment 
  • Getting into rock climbing
  • Growing with her children 
  • Overcoming challenges while on the road
  • Deciding to start blogging to inspire other mums to go on adventures with their kids
  • Incorporating adventure into her everyday life
  • Starting gardening in 2020
  • Training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
  • Following a training plan based on HR
  • Working on her fitness and endurance
  • Kate Sielmann - Mountaineering & Trekking Coach
  • Fitting her training in around her family 
  • Mental training…
  • Being prepared with food and water
  • Final words of advice and top tips
 
Social Media
 
Website growadventurously.com 
 
Instagram - @growadventurously  
 
Facebook - @growadventurously
 
Jul 27, 2021
Megan in her own words:
 
“I’m Megan (she/her) and I live in Portland, OR. I’m on a mission to inspire people to live their life without limits. I want to show people that you can do, be and live however you want AND that you can change your mind about what that means any time you want. Your mind has the power to climb whatever mountains your facing and I’m here to help guide you.
 
I fell in love with rock and mountain climbing 4 years ago and struggled to find my place at first. Instagram played a huge role in helping me step into my power when I started following other plus size adventurers. I want to increase representation of plus size people in the outdoors, especially in leadership/guide roles. I want to see more people who look like me in marketing from outdoor gear companies. And I REALLY want to get better technical gear for bigger bodies so we can keep doing all the things outside safely (and even fashionably? What a dream).”
 
Dr. Megan Banker practices from a Health at Every Size model meaning she teaches her patients how to improve their health without focusing on weight. Megan is a co-founder of Climb Big, an initiative to increase representation of plus size rock climbers.
 
“My body is not an object for your actions or feelings to be directed.
My body is not a thing that receives action or inaction.
It does not exist for your fantasy, ridicule, attitudes, judgements, lust, admiration or hatred.
My body is a subject. It is. It does. It moves. It breathes. It experiences. It loves. It is so much more than an object.
My body is a subject.”
- Shared by Megan on IG - 3rd April 2021.
 
Content Warning: We talk about bullying and dieting at a young age.
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • 31 years old, Living in Portland, Oregon
  • Being a plus sized climber
  • Growing up in Central California 
  • Being the oldest of 3 girls
  • Growing up in a bigger body
  • Starting swimming at 4 years old
  • Going to an academically intense prep school
  • Taking up rugby in college
  • Deciding to become a Doctor…
  • Reflecting back on her teenage years
  • Being put on a diet at 8 years old
  • Yo-yo dieting 
  • Living in a bigger body 
  • Building self confidence through sport
  • Why rugby is such an inclusive sport
  • Stepping into her power as a bigger bodied woman
  • Loving the physicality of rugby
  • Joyful movement
  • Getting into hiking in her late 20s
  • Moving to Portland after Grad School in 2015
  • Joining Meet Up to connect with others
  • Gaining new skills in climbing 
  • The Mazamas 8 week Course (Portland) 
  • Solo hiking and wild camping for the first time
  • The biggest challenge Megan has had to face in the outdoors
  • Being competitive with herself
  • Putting pressure on herself
  • Fat is not a feeling
  • Becoming her own best friend
  • Being kind to herself
  • Not having a good experience while Snowboarding
  • Feel the feelings
  • Balancing the stresses of life
  • Meeting husband
  • The power of role models
  • The women who inspire Megan in the climbing and hiking space
  • Unlikely Hikers - A diverse outdoor community🌲, hiking group 🥾 & podcast 🎧 for the underrepresented hiker 
  • Jenny Bruso -  @jennybruso 
  • Sam Ortiz - @samortizphoto  INFJ 🦖PlusSize Latinx Mountaineer🗻Founder of @climb.big Adventure Photographer 📸She/Her 🏕 Sharing beginner tips for new hikers   
  • Mirna Valerio @themirnavator 
  • What PDX stands for
  • Words she would have wanted to hear when she was younger
  • Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder 
  • “Choose to be brave”
 
 
Social Media
 
Climb Big Website - A community for fat and plus size rock climbers. Stories, Events & Education 
 
www.climbbig.org 
 
Instagram 
 
@pdxoutdoorchiro 
 
@climb.big 
 
Jul 22, 2021
Krystal Salvent is all things fitness and fun who started cycling in 2018 when preparing for America’s Most Beautiful Ride, a 100-mile ride in and around Lake Tahoe, NV to help fund research for Leukemia and Lymphoma. That same year she moved from New York City to Colorado in the chase of more cycling adventures.
 
“Bikes have allowed me to journey, adventure, and give back but also build a community.” says Krystal. This is why she is a co-leader with Black Girls Do Bike Denver to help promote cycling among a community of BIPOC women, femmes, and girls in Colorado. 
 
Krystal is an ambassador of OUTRIDE, a non-profit focused on providing evidence-based cycling interventions to improve social, emotional, and cognitive health in youth. 
 
Since moving to Colorado, she has experienced some of the most exhilarating times on the bike, connecting with other athletes, who like her, want to let everyone know that they TOO love to ride bikes. Her excitement for a future when it's safe to group ride has her more excited and motivated than ever.
 
When Krystal is not riding bikes, you can find her hiking with her pup, Latte, and snowboarding.
 
“IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, YOU’VE JUST GOT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Krystal
  • What she’s involved in
  • Being with 2 puppies
  • Not growing up with bikes
  • Bikes as a form of transportation
  • Not seeing bikes as a sport
  • Being an athlete from a young age
  • Growing up with 4 brothers
  • Being inspired by track stars and wanting to be a runner
  • Wanting to move her body
  • Getting into cycling through spinning
  • Moving to NYC and getting involved in the fitness industry
  • Taking her “spinning” outside
  • Being born on 9/11
  • Team In Training - Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Learning how to ride a bike outdoors
  • Main concerns and considerations from moving from a stationary bike to riding outdoors
  • Being overly ambitious
  • Being supported and encouraged
  • Getting uncomfortable 
  • Being inspired by everyday athletes 
  • Making the decision to move to Denver, Colorado
  • Black Girls Do Bike: Denver 
  • Riding 100 miles per week during covid and getting back in training mode
  • Getting into mountain biking 
  • Growing the community and the magical moments
  • Training and looking for a coach
  • Spending time in the saddle
  • Moving on from dentistry 
  • A typical training week
  • Rest and recovery
  • Having a shower beer!
  • Figuring out food and nutrition while riding
  • Slow climb or fast descent?
  • Getting back on the bike after a crash
  • Being an Ambassador for Outride
  • Being a role model for her nieces and nephews
  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire you 
 
 
Social Media
 
Instagram: @krystalsalvent 
 
Twitter: @krystalsalvent 
 
Black Girls Do Bike: Denver - Promoting cycling among our community of Black women, femmes, and girls in Colorado. 
 
Instagram:  @bgdbdenver 
 
Jul 20, 2021
Rosie Stancer has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to expeditions of increasing severity. Her endeavours have earned her a high public profile in the UK amongst living explorers.
 
On each of the expeditions, Rosie undertakes research – meteorological, environmental and physiological. Data from the latter is processed into published scientific papers with a view to helping both athletes and other expeditioners content with the challenges of their undertakings. 
 
Since her first expedition, Rosie has always championed the need for any endeavour to forge a wealthy legacy of learning, sharing and inspiring others.
 
Rosie’s expeditions include:
 
1997 THE ALL WOMEN NORTH POLE RELAY  - First all women team to reach The North Pole, A world 1st.
 
2000 MILLENNIUM WOMEN’S SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION  - Rosie was a member of the 5 women team to reach The South Pole. They were the 1st all-women team to do so. World 1st.
 
2003 SNICKERS SOUTH POLE SOLO - Rosie embarked alone on a solo expedition of 1,000k  with no resupplies & a sledge of 120 kilos to the South Pole. She smashed all previous speed records reaching the Pole in 43 days. (fastest previously some 64 days).
 
2007 MARS NORTH POLE SOLO - A record-breaking Expedition which had never before, nor since, been bettered. Rosie skied, climbed & swam across the frozen arctic ocean, alone for 84 days, setting another world record as the longest and furthest solo expedition to the north pole by any woman.
 
2011 Rosie explored the sea ice around Broughton Island in the high arctic, with award-winning photographer, Martin Hartley, in an area densely populated with polar bears. She spent time living with the Inuits, learning their ways of coping with climate changes & the modern-day challenges.
 
2018 Rosie led her team of women and two ex-military men through the more remote and less trodden dunes of the Wahiba sand. The expedition was undertaken as a training exercise in navigating, survival and cameleering in anticipation of A forthcoming major expedition through the length of the Interior of the fearsome Taklamakan desert in China, the country’s largest giant-dune desert, second in size only to the Sahara. 
 
2019 A sledging expedition the full length of the frozen Siberian Lake Baikal, the largest, deepest and oldest fresh-water lake in the world. This was a ‘Solo’ & unsupported endeavour, undertaken jointly with another teammate but with both starting at opposite ends then ski-ing the furthermost southerly, westerly, easterly and northerly points of the lake. A total distance of some 675 km. The represented the first and longest full crossing undertaken solo by a woman, Rosie’s most recent ‘first’.
 
Rosie holds the Explorers Club Medal, The Mirror Pride of Britain medal and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is Vice President of SES – Scientific Exploration Society.
 
CONTENT WARNING - We talk about the self-amputation of toes with a penknife. 
 
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Rosie?
  • Being an explorer of the poles and deserts
  • Wanting to share stories to motivate and inspire others
  • Being inspired by Liv Arnesen
  • What Rosie was like as a little girl
  • Being brought up by nannies and going to prep boarding school at 7 in Scotland
  • Not having dreams to go to the poles
  • Being aware of opportunities and going after them
  • Applying for the first all women expedition to the pole
  • Going though a year long selection process
  • Friends and family and what they though of her dreams
  • Being supported by her husband
  • The advantage of being part of an all women polar team
  • Sponsorship and raising funds
  • Getting out to the North Pole for the first time
  • What people need to know about the poles
  • Why the Arctic is more dangerous 
  • Mental preparation for the first polar expedition
  • What’s in your head and your heart and your “ying” strengths
  • Gaining mental confidence and mental resilience
  • Resilience and flexibility
  • Solo Expeditions and being sponsored by Snickers and Mars
  • Preparation for taking on a solo challenge
  • Working with researchers and academics
  • The importance of staying positive
  • Being fascinated by fear and how you cope with fear when you are on your own
  • How her fears changed whilst out on the ice
  • Having a fear of failure 
  • Why it’s about the journey
  • Self amputation of toes…. whilst solo on the Arctic
  • Dealing with extreme temperatures of -60 and getting frostbite in her toes
  • Dealing with pain
  • Getting up full of positivity and optimism
  • Coping with isolation
  • Dealing with the adventure blues
  • How motherhood changed adventure 
  • Lessons learned from expeditions
  • What day to day life is like now
  • Future expedition planned for August 2021
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Training to be fit like an animal
  • Words that Rosie lives her life by
  • Final words of advice
 
Social Media
 
Website - rosiestancer.com
 
Instagram - @rosiestancerexplorer 
 
 
Jul 15, 2021
Dora is a Running Coach for Nike UK and has launched Ultra Black Running - a community of Black Women and Non-Binary people to explore and experience the world of trail running. 
 
“I’ll do everything I can, to make sure trail running becomes more diverse and work towards overcoming any barriers we may face”
 
Dora is a youth mentor and works on self-development programmes to encourage young people to engage in sport based initiatives.
 
Listen to Dora on the Tough Girl Podcast! New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out! 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
Show notes
  • Why running is a really useful life tool
  • Starting running in 2013
  • Getting into running via boxing 
  • Getting into boxing via a friend
  • Starting to take training seriously
  • Finding her tribe
  • The struggle with starting to run
  • Pushing herself to see how far she could run
  • Doing her first 10k
  • The importance of going back to you why
  • Having people to help hold you accountable
  • Struggling with the label of being "a runner”
  • Going to a run club for the first time
  • If you run, you are a runner
  • What happens at a run club
  • Feeling part of a team
  • Becoming a running coach
  • Leadership in Running
  • Studying Sports Coaching at University
  • Deciding to take on The Speed Project! 
  • Running from LA to Las Vegas 
  • Being part of a team of 8
  • Doing intense training
  • Running in Death Valley
  • Fears and concerns before the race
  • Getting through tough sections
  • Her role in the team
  • The push to the finish line and celebrating the end!
  • Needing a new challenge…
  • Deciding to the Speed Project a second time!!
  • Her favourite distance to run
  • What a typical running week would look like
  • Training for life
  • Running the Virtual Race to the Stones (100k in 7 days) 
  • Getting out of the door in the morning
  • Having to be tough on yourself to get things done
  • Foam rolling & stretching….
  • Advice from her physio around active recovery
  • Founding Ultra Black Running in July 2020
  • Wanting to do something for Black Women
  • Getting into trail running
  • Starting to fall out of love with running
  • Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
  • Wanting to share the joy with other people
  • Waning to create a space for Black Women and Non Binary people
  • Encouraging others to get into trail running
  • Her dreams and thinking 5 years in the future
  • Wanting to continue doing the work she is doing
  • Loving South African House music
  • Follow Dora on Spotify
  • Final word of advice to encourage other women to get running 
 
Social Media
 
Instagram 
 
@doradontexplore 
 
Last Pick Athletics Club (LPAC) was created by and for individuals who want to change the way they look at exercise and fitness.
 
Website - www.lastpick.co.uk
 
@lastpick.ac 
 
Ultra Black Running - Celebrating and championing Black women and Black non-binary people in Trail running and beyond.
 
Instagram @ultrablackrunning
Jul 13, 2021
Charlotte graduated from University with a BA in Drama and Classical Archaeology and a MA in Social Anthropology (Specialising in Visual Anthropology). 
 
During her MA she lived and filmed with a community of Maya deep in the Central American rainforest for her research and discovered, what the archaeological remains of Belize, hold for the Maya people of today.
 
In 2019, she was named the Scientific Exploration Societies River Foundation Explorer for Health and Humanities 2019.
 
With this award she returned to live with the Maya of Central America to produce educational resources in their native language, explore the surrounding jungle for ancient Maya archaeology and deliver dental hygiene workshops.
 
She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of The Explorers Club. 
 
In addition she is an author and educator, currently working remotely from a small volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
 
When she is not exploring, she enjoys boxing and weightlifting.
 
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Charlotte
  • Spending time in Central America
  • Living and teaching in the South Atlantic Ocean 
  • Growing up in the countryside 
  • Her dreams as a little girl 
  • Not knowing what she wanted to do with her life
  • Deciding to study Drama and Classical Archaeology
  • Doing her Masters in Social Anthropology (Specialising in Visual Anthropology). 
  • What is Anthropology?
  • Deciding to spend time with the Maya people
  • Organising her first expedition at 23 years old
  • Wanting to study the Ancient Maya culture
  • Planning and funding the expedition 
  • Making some mistakes on the first expedition
  • Spending a month with the Maya people and what that entailed
  • What a typical day was like
  • Gender roles and how they are changing
  • The importance of family and friends 
  • Eco Tourism and the community
  • The languages spoken
  • Working in the film industry and wanting to keep her options open
  • Applying for an expedition to Kenya in 2018 as a filmmaker
  • Magical moments with wildlife while in Kenya
  • What happens with regards to filming and the role of film co-ordinator
  • Advice for aspiring filmmakers
  • The challenges of filming in the heat
  • SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2019
  • The financial awards available 
  • The 2nd expedition to the Maya in early 2020
  • The logistics of planning for a larger expedition
  • Hearing about Covid via the radio while being in the jungle
  • Working with the children and writing down the myths and legends from the culture
  • Working with local members of the community on special projects
  • The loss of the local language
  • Trekking through jungle and swimming in water caves
  • What does adventure and exploration mean 
  • Tips and advice for women who want to do more solo adventures 
  • The importance of being prepared
  • Giving talks in girls schools and giving advice for girls who want to get into the sciences and engineering
  • What’s next for Charlotte
  • Being interested in Medical Expeditions
  • Final words of advice
 
Social Media
 
Website www.charlotteaustwick.co.uk 
 
Instagram @charlotteaustwick
 
Twitter @casa1009
 
Jul 8, 2021
Preet in her own words:
 
“I’ve always been ambitious and enjoyed pushing my boundaries. I had limited knowledge of polar travel when I decided I wanted to do a solo Antarctic expedition. 
 
I wanted to inspire people to believe in themselves. Nobody starts as an expert, everybody starts somewhere, you learn as you go and the more you learn, the closer it brings you to your goal. I started on google reading about polar expeditions and now I’ve completed training and expedition in Norway and Greenland, ready for my next step to Antarctica.
 
I’m an Army Physiotherapist and I love adventure and finding new ways to push my limits. 
 
After playing tennis full time as a teenager training in the Czech Republic, I moved back to England at 19 to pursue a different path and to gain my degree in Physiotherapy. This will remain one of my biggest achievements as I came back to the UK with minimal GCSEs and no A-levels. 
 
I completed my first half marathon at the age of 20, this progressed to ultra marathons and I’m now training for a 700 mile solo, unsupported expedition in Antartica.
 
This expedition will make me the first Asian female to complete a solo journey on the continent. 
 
Hopefully it will inspire so many other people, it aims to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries. It is a solo expedition but i want to bring as many people on the journey with me as possible.”
 
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Preet?
  • Seeing an advert for the army and deciding to sign up
  • Playing professional tennis from 14 years old
  • Not enjoying tennis anymore and deciding to leave the sport
  • Feeling as though she was behind all her peers at 19
  • Making the decision to go to university
  • Getting advice from a variety of different people
  • Female role models
  • Not feeling very academic 
  • Wanting to inspire her 9 yr old niece
  • Her progression in running from a half marathon to ultra marathons
  • Doing a 30hr endurance event
  • Spending time in South America
  • Doing Marathon des Sables  
  • Mental resilience and mental grit
  • Focusing on what she can control
  • Talking to friends
  • The power of writing things down
  • Where the dream of going to Antarctica came from
  • Starting with the research, getting on google and reading blogs
  • Connecting with Louis Rudd MBE (record-breaking polar adventurer) 
  • Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions 
  • Needing to gain more winter experience
  • Deciding to book a trip to Iceland to get glacier experience 
  • Booking onto a polar training course
  • Money and paying for trips
  • Asking people for help
  • Team Army 
  • Getting her first sponsor
  • Dealing with cultural norms and pressures of expectation
  • Being labeled a rebel
  • When are you getting married?
  • The power of eduction
  • Wanting to break down barriers
  • Following a physical training plan and working with a coach
  • Being sensible with her training and not wanting to peak too soon
  • Final words of advice to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone
 
Social Media
 
Website www.polarpreet.com 
 
Instagram - @polarpreet 
 
Facebook @polarpreet 
 
Go Fund Me - www.gofundme.com/f/polarpreet 
Jul 6, 2021
Maria Coffey is the author of twelve internationally published, award winning books, the co-owner of an adventure travel company and an adventurer in her own right.
 
Growing up in England, Maria always dreamt of having a freewheeling life, with no real idea of how she could make that happen. In her twenties she fell in love with an elite Himalayan mountaineer, Joe Tasker, and her adventures became vicarious ones, as she waited at home during his long expeditions. When Joe disappeared on the NE Ridge of Everest, in 1982, Maria was devastated. “His death blew my life apart,” she says, “but ultimately it jolted me alive.” A few years later she moved to Canada. She met a man who shared her dream of travelling the world, and together they began to make it a reality.
 
Shortly after marrying Dag, Maria wrote her first book, Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest, an account of her relationship with Joe Tasker and her own journey to Everest in the wake of his death. The writing was pure catharsis, an untangling of emotional knots in her past so that she could move into the future. Originally published in 1989, Fragile Edge became a classic in mountaineering literature and has won several prizes. Years later Maria wrote Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow: The Dark Side of Adventure, about the emotional toll of climbing, which won the Jon Whyte Literature Prize at the 2003 Banff Festival and a 2004 National Outdoor Book Award. She completed what she calls ‘an unintentional trilogy’ with Explorers of the Infinite, an examination of the link between adventure and spiritual experience. For these three books she was awarded the 2009 American Alpine Club’s H. Adams Carter Literary Award.
 
In the meantime Maria was publishing books about her exploits with Dag. Throwing up secure careers, they became expedition kayakers and a writer/photographer team. They paddled through the Solomon Islands, down the River Ganges, up Lake Malawi, and around Vancouver Island. They travelled the length of the coast of Vietnam on local boats and bikes. Dag, who is a large animal vet, did seasonal work in rural areas of Wales and Ireland, and they were head-hunted by a US travel company to develop international kayaking trips. In between all this kaleidoscopic activity, their home base was a tiny island in British Columbia, from where they commuted to the nearest town by kayak.
 
In 2000 they set up Hidden Places, a boutique adventure travel company, taking small groups of like-minded travellers to remarkable corners of the world. When they weren’t leading trips, they were still exploring themselves. After Dag had a life-changing experience with an elephant in Rajasthan, they established Elephant Earth, advocating and fundraising for elephant conservation and welfare in Africa and S.E Asia.
 
After Explorers of the Infinite was published, Maria took a break from writing. She is now back in her author’s skin, working on a memoir about choosing to be an adventurer instead of a mother. In the growing body of literature about the childfree choice, her book will fill an important niche, giving the perspective of an older woman – Maria is in her late 60s - who has led, and is still leading, an extraordinary life.
 
When they are not travelling, or sailing aboard their tiny boat, Maria and Dag divide their time between downtown Victoria, BC and a medieval village in Catalonia, Spain.
 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Maria?
  • Moving to Canada in the 1980s
  • Giving up her teaching career in her early 30s to lead a life of adventure
  • Writing 12 books and being the co-owner of an adventure travel company 
  • Her early years and having a very sheltered childhood in Wolverhampton
  • Being the youngest of 3 
  • Having different dreams from an early age
  • Being inspired by Alice in Wonderland
  • Going to Liverpool University 
  • Finding a teaching job 
  • Trying to figure out how to have a life travelling the world
  • Longing for a bigger life
  • Being drawn to people who were leading adventurous lives
  • Getting involved in the mountain climbing community 
  • Falling in love with a big mountain climber called Joe Tasker
  • Dealing with grief and loss when there is no body
  • Being supported by the adventure community
  • Not knowing how to rebuild her life
  • Wanting to live intensely 
  • Having a near drowning experience at 21 in Morocco
  • Deciding to move to Canada on a teacher exchange experience
  • Meeting a Dag and sharing the same dream
  • The life as a supportive partner to an adventurer
  • Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure  
  • Becoming super independent 
  • Getting married to Dag
  • Taking a year out to go travelling on a massive adventure in 1981
  • Role models and figuring out how to make a freelance lifestyle work
  • Being a pioneer in expedition kayaking 
  • Planning Vs being flexible 
  • Being determined to be on the river
  • Creating Hidden Places in 2000
  • Heading to Vietnam in 1994
  • Being adaptable to changing plans
  • Becoming part time kayak guides by accident 
  • What adventure means to Maria
  • Choosing to be an adventurer instead of a mother
  • The childfree choice
  • Looking for a publisher
  • Turning back to writing after taking a break
  • Final words of advice
 
Social Media
 
Website www.hiddenplaces.net  
 
Instagram @insidehiddenplaces 
 
Facebook
 
@hiddenplaces 
@maria.coffey.370 
 
Twitter
 
@BooksCoffey 
@hiddenplacestvl
Jul 1, 2021
Soraya believes in taking a holistic approach to making the world a better place, and writes about sustainability, nature and adventure travel. Soraya is Lonely Planet Sustainable Storyteller 2021 and founder of the All The Elements – a community working to increase diversity in the UK outdoors.
 
Soraya in her own words:
 
In 2014, I left my ‘dream job’ to make a difference. I kickstarted my new career by studying sustainability for business. As a reward to myself for handing in my dissertation, I went wild camping and canoeing on the Mississippi river. This trip was far more than an adventure holiday – it was a re-connection to nature. I want to help you to be more mindful in what you do and to understand that individual decisions can make a positive impact on our planet. When I'm not travelling, writing or creating net-positive artwork, you'll find me tackling diversity in the UK outdoors, organising all-women sailing trips exploring plastics and toxics in our ocean and walking my labradoodle Rory.
 
Listen to Soraya on the Tough Girl Podcast - New episodes go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
 
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
 
 
Show notes
  • Who is Soraya
  • What her childhood was like 
  • Having a passion for horses
  • Going to university to study law
  • Pivoting her career into sustainability
  • Not being happy in her dream job
  • Figuring out her purpose
  • Wanting to study sustainability for business
  • What does sustainability mean to Soraya
  • The One Planet MBA - University of Exeter 
  • Adventure and sustainability 
  • Why adventure has to have a purpose
  • Why are we going to these places?
  • How are we communicating what we are seeing?
  • Travel with a lower impact
  • Getting involved in the adventure community
  • Being inspired by Ben Keene  
  • Rebel Book club 
  • Love Her Wild 
  • The Yes Tribe 
  • Adventure Uncovered 
  • Explore at the RGS 
  • Starting to travel on her own in 2016
  • Taking a trip to the Sahara desert 
  • Canoeing on the Mississippi with Dave Cornthwaite and Emily Penn 
  • Liking to have shared experiences while adventuring 
  • Losing the fear
  • The Sail Britain Voyage 
  • Not always being artistic, but always being creative
  • Wanting to be able to paint and draw
  • Drawing while on expedition 
  • Heading to Vancouver in 2018
  • The challenges to tacking plastic
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Breaking the challenge down
  • Black Lives Matter 
  • How can we create change?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • Making informed decisions
  • All the elements which was set up in August 2020
  • The importance of role modelling
  • Stepping into the light
  • The many aspects to diversity 
  • Bringing everyone together 
  • Sharing her story online and feeling uncomfortable at the start
  • Taking on a new project with her mum and dog (Rory)
  • Deciding to walk the South West Coast Path 
  • Final words of advice
  • Working out what is important to you 
  • Not worrying about what other people are doing
 
Social Media
 
Personal Website - www.soraya.earth 
 
All The Elements - A network to support everyone working to increase diversity in the UK outdoors #diversifyoutdoorsuk.  
 
Instagram 
 
@sorayaearth 
@alltheelements_ 
 
Facebook @sorayaearth 
 
Twitter @sorayaearth
 
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