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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: October, 2023
Oct 31, 2023

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised by immigrant parents from China and Japan, Mari has always been drawn to stories that celebrate and examine identity, multiculturalism, and diversity. 

After completing her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2019, Funabashi continued to work in London, working closely with production houses Far Away Films and 84 East. 

Since then she has composed for many award-winning films, particularly enjoying providing thoughtful and nuanced underscores for films that center around the human condition, although she would never say no to bombastic superhero themes with french horn solos. 

Curious and creative by nature, Funabashi often mixes sound design with her musical underscores in order to create truly unique pieces of work that are inseparable from the films they were created for.

Beyond music, Mari is a dedicated outdoors enthusiast, and can be found participating in ultra-endurance cycling trips as well as competing in triathlons. Having found outdoor movement after the difficult passing of her father in 2015, introverted Mari finds the long and solo hours of ultra-endurance sports comforting—a quiet and safe space to check-in with herself. 

Her most recent events include a solo bike packing trip from London to Scotland in 2020 (430 miles), the half-ironman distance Castle to Coast Triathlon in 2021 (totalling 81.2 miles) and her 24-hour Manchester to London attempt in 2022 (she made it to 177 miles).

***

Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast! Tune in every Tuesday at 7am UK time by hitting the subscribe button. By subscribing, you'll be supporting our mission to increase the number of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenge. If you would like to contribute even further, please visit our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast. Thank you for your support!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Mari?
  • Growing up in Arizona in the USA
  • Working as a film composer 
  • Living in the South of England, for the past 6 years
  • Getting into the outdoors in 2016 after the death of her father
  • Her childhood was very focused on music
  • Learning music and playing; piano, guitar, pipe organ, flute, french horn and clarinet
  • Feeling lucky to have connected with the outdoors when she was older
  • Living in New York City  as an introverted person
  • Starting to go on long walks which turned into running
  • Wanting to physically move her body forward
  • Starting to run with friends and finding it enjoyable 
  • Finding triathlon and signing up to race in 2016
  • Preferring the longer distances 
  • Moving to the UK in 2017
  • Use a bike to commute on
  • Getting into ultra distance cycling during covid 
  • Using running to process thoughts 
  • Feeling calm while moving her body and being able to connect with herself on a deep level
  • Starting to do a few solo bike-packing trips
  • Not thinking about distance, but rather time on the time
  • Deciding to cycle from London to Scotland
  • Using Strava to plan the route
  • Having trust in herself to take on this challenge
  • How the challenge helped to boost her confidence
  • “I could probably do it and if I can’t that’s fine, I’ll figure it out someway or another”
  • 24hr Manchester to London attempt in 2022
  • Making it to 177 miles 
  • The lessons learned from the experience and trying again
  • Wanting to break the 200 mile mark
  • Working on a film called - Beyond Words 
  • Working with Play Outdoors Productions - Diversity-focused film collective 
  • Combining art music and the outdoors
  • Composing music while outdoors
  • The goal with creating the film
  • Running a crowd funder and raising the £3K needed to cover the film costs
  • How to connect with Mari
  • Final words of advice for women who want to get into bike packing
  • Struggling to get back on the bike after going through a breakup
  • Women supporting women
  • Being supposed and encouraged by women only Facebook Groups

 

Social Media

Website: www.marifunabashi.com 

Instagram: @marifunabashi

Crowdfunded: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/beyond-words-combining-film-music-bikepacking#/ 

 
Oct 24, 2023

Dierdre grew up in New York City in the 1940s and 50s and helped care for her mother who had polio. Going to high school opened her eyes to new possibilities, and she eventually moved to California after spending time in France and Japan. Dierdre's life took a big turn when she divorced her husband and started focusing on her own goals and dreams. 

At 55, she began running, and has gone on to complete multiple marathons. At 59, she began rock climbing, and at 66, she became the oldest woman to climb Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan (with her son, Alex Honnold, of “Free Solo” fame). 

In 2021, she celebrated her 70th birthday by climbing El Capitan again and camping on the summit. 

At the end of 2023, the documentary about her life, “Climbing Into Life,” will be available to watch.

Climbing into Life is a feature-length documentary detailing the inspiring life story of Dierdre Wolownick-Honnold, the mother of Free Solo’s Alex Honnold. 

This is the story of how she went from a completely consumed mother and professor, and ended up on the wall of El Capitan. From an unhappy wife and lonely mother to the status of athlete later in life, Dierdre confronts fear and ageism and gains a wonderful new community in the outdoors. 

At age 71 Dierdre pushes back against the societal norms that assume her retirement years will be spent slowing down.

***

Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast that are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Hit the subscribe button to stay updated.

By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can help increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast to contribute. Thank you for your support!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Dierdre
  • Being a teacher and writer
  • Growing up in NYC after WW2 had ended
  • Being a city girl
  • Helping to care for her mother who had polio
  • Her responsibilities as the girl 
  • How going to high school changed her life
  • Having her eyes opened to possibilities 
  • Growing up in a Polish-American family
  • Not being able to rebel
  • Going to a catholic school
  • Getting out into the real world
  • Spending time in France and Japan
  • Moving to California 
  • The beginning of the big change 
  • Doing everything for everybody
  • Living in a non marriage
  • Teaching herself how to swim in her 40s
  • Her battle against fear
  • Being able to leave her marriage
  • Divorce being a dirty word
  • Taking up running in her 50s
  • Completing her first 1 mile run
  • Pushing herself to go further
  • Taking baby steps 
  • Climbing with her son
  • Climbing the Royal Arches route in 2017 
  • Looking at El Cap and wondering if she could climb it
  • Jugging in climbing - have her feet on the rocks but not her hands
  • Needing to get specialist gear 
  • Training and getting fit for the climb at 66
  • Going up and down El Cap in 1 day
  • Feeling exhausted and getting back in the dark
  • Celebrating her 70th Birthday climbing El Cap via the descent route 
  • Planning a trip to Spain 
  • Book: The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story.
  • Documentary - Climbing into Life - out at the end of 2023
  • How to connect with Dierdre
  • Final words of advice 

 

Social Media

Website: dierdrew.us 

Instagram: @dierdre_wolownick_honnold 

Book: The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story. 

 

Oct 17, 2023

In this episode, we learn about Meghan J. Ward, a writer based in Banff, Canada, who is passionate about outdoor adventure and travel. Meghan is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the author of Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting. 

Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications.

Meghan shares her journey as a writer, her love of travel, and how she balances parenting with her passion for exploration. 

Meghan also provides practical advice for new moms who want to continue travelling and going on adventures with their children. We also learn about her current project, a documentary film about early 20th-century mountain explorer Mary Schäffer Warren. Finally, Meghan shares some words of advice for women who want to spend more time travelling and going on adventures.

***

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 

You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast Thank you.

 

Show notes

  • Who is Meghan
  • Being based in Banff, Canada
  • Having 2 daughters aged 4 and 10
  • Being a writer and releasing her first travel memoir 
  • Her passion for travel and for being outside 
  • Growing up in Ottawa, Canada
  • Her love of travel and where it came from 
  • Being inspired by National Geographic Magazines 
  • Meeting her husband, Paul in the summer of 2005 
  • Starting a writing career after university 
  • Being encouraged to pursue writing 
  • Her writing process while travelling 
  • Book: Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting
  • Advice for new mums who have children and want to continue travelling and going on adventures
  • Practical pieces of advice for travelling with children
  • Travelling with children on planes
  • Travelling in a way which is good for the environment
  • Slower travel and making micro adjustments 
  • Artists for Air - Brave travellers cleaning up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 
  • Raising awareness for carbon removal and carbon offsets 
  • Working on a documentary film about 20th-century mountain explorer, Mary Schäffer Warren 
  • Going on a road trip through the Baltic Nations
  • How to connect with Meghan
  • Final words of advice for women who want to spend more time travelling and going on adventure.

 

Social Media

Website: meghanjoyward.com

Substack: meghanjward.substack.com

Instagram: @meghanjward

Twitter: @meghanjward

Facebook: @meghanjoyward

Book: Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting

Documentary - www.wildflowersfilm.ca

 

Oct 10, 2023

Arati Kumar-Rao is an exceptional National Geographic Explorer, independent environmental photographer, writer, and artist dedicated to documenting the slow violence of ecological degradation. With unwavering passion, she traverses the South Asian subcontinent, embarking on captivating journeys that span seasons and sometimes years. Through her profound storytelling, Arati chronicles the ever-changing landscapes, climate, and their profound impact on livelihoods and biodiversity in South Asia.

Arati's profound impact is not confined to her lens or pen; she employs a multidimensional approach, utilising the power of photos, long form narratives, and art to communicate her insights. Recently, she unveiled her debut book, "Marginlands: Indian Landscapes On The Brink," a poignant exploration now available in bookstores across India and on Amazon.

Currently, Arati is engaged in a significant undertaking as she explores forced human migration in India, supported by a prestigious National Geographic grant. Her remarkable body of work has garnered recognition and has been featured in esteemed publications such as The National Geographic Magazine, Emergence Magazine, The Hindu, #Dysturb, The Guardian, BBC Outside Source, Hindustan Times, Mint, and other reputable outlets. Additionally, her artistic endeavours have been exhibited both in India and internationally, leaving an indelible mark on the global stage.

When not immersed in her assignments, Arati finds solace and inspiration in the Western Ghats and Bangalore, where she cherishes being a loving mother to three rescued cats.

***

🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Arati?
  • Being based in Bangalore when not travelling 
  • Her role as an environmental chronicler 
  • Being a slow journalist or a slow storyteller
  • The types of story she tells 
  • Her passion for photography and art 
  • The tools she uses to tell the story 
  • Working in the corporate world and making the decision to leave her job (2013) and start telling environmental stories 
  • Her early years growing up and spending time in nature 
  • Being inspired by the National Geographic Magazine 
  • Wanting to tell stories of the land by walking 
  • Making the transition from the corporate world to following her passion for storytelling 
  • The practical steps involved
  • 2 pivotal moments in her life
  • Studying for a Masters in Physical and working in a lab and deciding it wasn’t the right job for her
  • Having to choose between the Arts and the Sciences
  • Moving back to India and working with Intel doing Market Research
  • Falling ill with Typhoid in her 30s and starting to reflect on her life and thinking about what she really wanted to do
  • Needing to make new connections and build new networks 
  • Slowly starting to find her way and the power of social media to publish stories
  • Slow story telling verses the speed of the internet
  • Needing to upskill in photography, writing and art
  • Taking out personal loads and writing for grants
  • Getting the grant from National Geographic to study forced Human Migration across India due to environmental degradation 
  • Doing a transect walk from the most easterly point of India to the most Westerly point. 
  • Planning and starting a story - what that looks like 
  • Following the threads and seeing where it leads
  • Knowing when you are on the right path?
  • Not finding any path to be wrong - there is always something to learn
  • Taking a pause to reflect on the information that’s been gathered 
  • Dealing with dead ends and moving on
  • Her first time in Bangladesh 
  • New book: Marginlands: Indian Landscapes on the Brink 
  • The speed and impact of climate change 
  • Why it’s important to listen to the local geography’s
  • Sounds in storytelling - Soundscapes
  • Recording a sound signature throughout the journey 
  • Paul Salopek’s - Out of Eden Walk
  • Art as part of the storytelling
  • Wanting to train herself to pay attention to detail 
  • How to connect with Arati on the social media platforms 
  • Final words of advice for other women to follow their passions 
  • Why it’s important for women to speak up
  • The stories that are in your backyard
  • “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver.

 

Social Media

Website: www.aratikumarrao.com

Instagram: @aratikumarrao 

Twitter: @aratikumarrao  

Facebook: @aratikumarrao  

Book: Marginlands: Indian Landscapes on the Brink

 
Oct 5, 2023

Charlotte Garner is a 58-year-old runner and cyclist, living in France, who only took up sports ten years ago, aged 48. She advocates for the physical and mental benefits of sports for women in their 50s. 

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, she shares her journey of getting involved in sports and how it has transformed her life.

Charlotte grew up in Wales but has lived in France all her life, working as a freelance translator and raising her two daughters. It wasn't until her early 40s that she started to become interested in sports. 

After a divorce, Charlotte moved to Leon and got into running, completing her first 5km and 10km race. She felt a sense of achievement after completing the distance and proud to be part of a community of runners. 

Joining a running club changed her running for the better, and having a coach and following a training plan helped her structure her running routine. Charlotte has since completed seven marathons and two ultra marathons, enjoying the challenge of pushing herself further.

Charlotte's journey is an inspiration for women who may have thought it was too late to start being active.

It is never too late to start, and the physical and mental benefits are well worth it.

***

Stay updated with the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast by hitting the subscribe button. Don't miss out on inspiring stories of adventurous and resilient women.

You can also make a difference by supporting the mission to increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast to contribute and help create a more inclusive world. Thank you for your support!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Charlotte
  • 58 years old
  • Growing up in Wales
  • Living in France all her life
  • Working as a freelance translator
  • Mother to two daughters
  • Getting interested in sports in her early 40s
  • Why 50 is a great age to get involved in sports
  • Her early years growing up in Wales
  • Not liking sports at school and being bullied
  • Making the decision to move to France at 25
  • Studying French and Spanish at University 
  • Becoming qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
  • Marrying a French man and having 2 daughters
  • Getting move active in her late 40s
  • Going through a divorce
  • Moving to Leon
  • Getting into running and doing her first 5km and 10km race
  • Feeling a sense of achievement after completing the distance
  • Feeling proud to be a part of a community of runners
  • Joining a running club and how it changed her running for the better
  • Having a running coach and following a training plan
  • Liking a structure and enjoying following a plan
  • Running 7 marathons and doing 2 ultra marathons
  • Enjoying the challenge of pushing herself further 
  • Running 70/80km per week in training 
  • Peri-menopause and menopause and the impact on running
  • Not sleeping properly and going on HRT tablets
  • The mental side of running longer distances
  • The power of gratitude
  • Turning 50 and not looking forward to it
  • Getting fitter and feeling younger
  • Bike touring around New Zealand for 3 months
  • Starting cycle touring in Switzerland and her love of travelling this way
  • Wanting to get more long term adventure in her life
  • Figuring out how to do that as a freelance translator
  • Working and travelling while on the road
  • Heading to New Zealand in December 2022
  • Having to be disciplined while on the road
  • Advice for other women who want to go cycle touring
  • Find a bike that fits you and suits you
  • Start small with a weekend trip and build it up from there
  • Learning to be happy with your own company
  • Using an old folding bike to get around the city 
  • Buying an Avanti bike in New Zealand
  • The challenges of selling the bike at the end
  • Trade Me 
  • Words of advice for women in their 50s who want to get more physically active
  • Connecting with other like minded people 
  • Join a running club or another inclusive group. e.g. Adventure Queens

 

Social Media

None 

 
Oct 3, 2023

Steph set a world record for skiing the most vertical feet in a year, but that is just a small part of her story. She is also an author and a sought-after mentor and coach who helps guide people towards a deeper understanding of themselves and their stories.

Steph's work, which includes speaking and facilitating, centers around the intersection of loss, the nature of deep remembrance, and the personal journey of re-creation. 

Her first book, Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery, is not just about setting a world record for skiing, but also about growing up and claiming femininity as a super-power. It is a powerful and inspiring read that everyone should experience.

Steph's mother has late-stage Alzheimer's, and she wrote a book about their time together on a road-trip, which is called Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains. 

This poignant and moving book is about the way we are pulled apart and the way we are re-membered. 

“It is a story about mothers and daughters— a book about nature, and memory, and loss of all kinds. It’s about transforming our pain into something much larger. This is a book about love.”

***

Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast that are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Hit the subscribe button to stay updated.

By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can help increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast to contribute. Thank you for your support!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Steph
  • Living on Bainbridge Island, Washington State, USA
  • Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Creating a nice life for herself
  • Hitting 26 years old and knowing that something was missing
  • Deciding to quit everything and sell everything
  • A year of emersion in her own joy
  • Deciding to go skiing and travelling
  • How that 1 year away changed her whole life
  • Her first Book: Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery 
  • Her mum being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
  • Her 2nd book: Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains.  
  • Her early years growing up in an athletic family 
  • Being encouraged to play sports
  • Learning to ski from 3 yrs old
  • Her early 20s and feeling pressure to achieve
  • Being very goal and achievement orientated 
  • Happiness….
  • Doing all the things she was told to do… and now what?
  • Why the journey was stunning, but the finish line was just another ordinary day
  • Making the decision to change her life and build something different and new
  • What was holding her back
  • Turning the dream into a plan
  • Having a year to put it together
  • Financial and logistically planning and getting fit for the challenge
  • The Hero’s Journey - Joseph Campbell 
  • Women, risk taking and gratitude
  • Skiing all around the world
  • The grind of travel  
  • Magical moments - Skiing in Japan
  • Finding love and taking time to physically recover from the trip
  • Her mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2015
  • The relationship with her mum and planning a journey through the Rocky Mountains
  • Are you listening for the call of adventure, and do you have the courage to say yes, when you hear it?
  • How the family is coping with the diagnosis and caring for a loved one
  • The ongoing process of grief
  • Creating memories that won’t be remembered
  • Suffering with depression and managing mental health 
  • How to connect with Steph
  • Words of advice

 

Social Media

Website: stephjagger.com  

Instagram: @stephjagger 

Book: Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains. 

Book: Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery

 

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