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: September, 2019
Sep 24, 2019

Josephine is a a French-born ex oilfield engineer turned sports and fitness industry professional. Josephine started getting into longer distance challenges while she was in her final year of university, when she took on the Marathon des Sables desert ultra-marathon in 2012. Since then she has cycled down the US West Coast from Seattle to Santa Barbara, ran and hiked, 3,000km across New Zealand, followed by cycling across Sardinia and Taiwan! 

Josephine has a passion for ultra running, outdoor adventuring and travelling. She enjoys spending her free time hiking through the hills, running on dirt trails and swimming in the ocean – the closer she is to nature the happier she feels. She currently lives in Indonesia where she is starting a new business,  Outventure Hub which is a platform full of resources to help passion-driven outdoor sports entrepreneurs grow successful, long-lasting businesses. At the same time, she continues to explore the world through long human-powered journeys - which she shares on her blog -Spark of Adventure! 

Show notes

  • Running her first marathon at 16 years old
  • Falling in love with running
  • Going to university to study Engineering in England
  • Deciding to do the Marathon des Sables in her final year of university (2012)
  • Getting into trail running
  • Breaking up with her boyfriend and wanting to prove him wrong
  • Training for the race while studying for finals
  • How she paid for the Marathon des Sables
  • What she learned from doing the Marathon des Sables
  • The biggest challenge!
  • Deciding to cycle the West Coast of America with her then boyfriend (now husband)
  • Cycling across Sardinia (2017)
  • What she loves about islands and why she loves, running, hiking and cycling across them!
  • Advice and tips for women who want to get into cycle touring
  • Being a minimalist
  • Deciding to run/hike the Te Aurora Trail in New Zealand
  • Knowing she wanted to leave her job and go on a big adventure
  • Being inspired by Anna McNuff
  • What she did to make her dream a reality 
  • Wanting to do the trail in 100 days
  • The challenges of the terrain and dealing with injury
  • The mental side of the challenge
  • Starting her blog - Sparks of Adventure
  • Her new business  - Outventure Hub – a platform full of resources to help passion-driven outdoor sports entrepreneurs grow successful, long-lasting businesses.
  • Advice and tips for other women who want to get more adventure in their life
  • Cycling with her husband in Taiwan
  • Why you need to stick to the East coast in Taiwan
  • Heading to Mongolia Desert Run as a volunteer
  • Feeling tired and needing a break from racing
  • Future plans
  • Quick fire questions

Social Media

Blog - 

Instagram- @josephineanselin


Twitter : @outventurehub  

Facebook: @outventurehub  


Sep 19, 2019

We first spoke with Kiko on the 1st May 2018, where she shared more about her solo and unsupported row, 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Kiko tells more about her life, the challenges she faced and overcame, from being diagnosed with Cushing's Disease and having brain surgery only months before the Atlantic row. Kiko achieved the impossible, she broke the women's record by 5 days and crossed the ocean in 49 days, 10 hours and 13 seconds. Kiko had never rowed before deciding on this challenge!

In this Tough Girl Extra podcast episode, we catch up with Kiko to find out what’s she’s been up to, how she decided on her next challenge - Kik Plastic, how she funds her life, what motivates her and what the future looks like. 

Kiko does not hold back and shares all the details, she’s authentic and as real as they come! Enjoy this episode! 

Show notes

  • Kiko shares more about her backstory
  • Deciding what to do next after her Atlantic row
  • Doing a beach clean in Portugal 
  • Cycling around the world and doing beach cleans…
  • Deciding to keep it local 
  • The logistical challenge
  • Getting a team together to help with the planning
  • Fundraising and needing help
  • Biking experience!
  • Starting the challenge on 5th May 2019
  • Getting into her rhythm and getting fitter 
  • The importance of having a purpose
  • The stand out moments from the tour
  • Giving up hope
  • Showing up and doing what needs to be done
  • What the learning from Kik Plastic was
  • The fishing industry
  • Getting use to the hills 
  • Talking money
  • The power of networking 
  • Knowing your why and building a community 
  • The cost of Kik Plastic 
  • The Wadi Rum Ultra 
  • Hating running!
  • Team Like a Girl - set up by Lauren Morton 
  • Doing 70k in a day
  • Shuffle running
  • Why it was so hard walking 
  • Comparison between the row, the run and the ride
  • Quick Fire Questions 
  • Final words of advice

Social Media


Twitter:  @Kikomatthews

Instagram:  @kikomatthews 

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