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: August, 2023
Aug 29, 2023

In a world where mountain climbing is still considered a male-dominated activity, Lisa Thompson is a force to be reckoned with. The second American woman to summit K2, Lisa has overcome countless obstacles in her journey to become one of the world's top mountaineers. From her early days of hiking and climbing in the Pacific Northwest to leading all-women expeditions in Nepal, Lisa's determination and perseverance have been the keys to her success.

Lisa's journey has not been without challenges, including a breast cancer diagnosis in 2015. However, she refused to let this setback define her, and instead used it as motivation to pursue her passion even more passionately. She founded Alpine Athletics, a training company that helps aspiring climbers reach their mountain goals, and has since led expeditions to some of the world's highest peaks.

In her recently released book, Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Lisa shares her personal journey of climbing K2 and the lessons she learned along the way. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and self-belief, and is sure to inspire anyone who is looking to take on their own personal challenges.

As Lisa says, "The right path is always to be true to who you are." Whether you're a novice climber or an experienced mountaineer, Lisa's story is a reminder that anything is possible with hard work and a little bit of courage. So, if you're looking to push yourself to new heights, be sure to check out Lisa's book and connect with her through Alpine Athletics. Who knows? You just might find your own path to the summit.


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, airing every Tuesday at 7am UK time. By hitting the subscribe button, you'll get access to inspiring stories of women sharing stories of adventure and challenges. Additionally, you can support the mission to increase the number of female role models in the media by visiting Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Lisa
  • Living in Seattle in the USA
  • Starting climbing in 2008
  • Wanting to give back to the climbing communities 
  • Her early years and growing up in a little farm town in Central Illinois 
  • Being outdoorsy but not sporty
  • Starting to push herself more in the outdoors and in the mountains 
  • Wanting to be seen as capable by her peers
  • Starting to get into hiking and climbing 
  • Climbing Mt. Rainier (also known as Tahoma), 4,392 m, located in Washington State
  • Having a desire to prove people wrong
  • Often being the only female on the team
  • Using spite as a motivator to start
  • Starting to climb mountains for herself 
  • Taking it to the next level
  • Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 at 42 years old
  • Planning to climb in the Himalayas for the first time.
  • Wanting to climb Mt. Manaslu (8th-highest mountain in the world, 8,163 metres above sea level)
  • Making big changes in her life in 2016
  • Choosing to end her marriage and quit her corporate job
  • Dedicating herself to her passions
  • Selling everything she owned and going to climb Mt. Everest
  • The process and method used for starting again
  • Listening to her gut and knowing that she was doing the right thing for her
  • “The right path is always to be true to who you are”
  • Sharing big goals publicly or keeping it private?
  • Deciding to climb K2 
  • Tips for handing stress and pressure
  • Focusing on breathing and using breath as a way to calm her nervous system
  • Using mantra in the mountains
  • Her experience of climbing Mt. Everest in 2016
  • Descending the Geneva Spur by using an arm wrapping technique
  • Finding her voice in the mountains and starting to stand up for herself
  • Dealing with the Adventure Blues after doing a big challenge
  • Planning future climbs while on the current climb
  • Enjoying the process of training and keeping fit
  • Book: Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
  • Making the decision to climb K2 in the Summer of 2018
  • Questioning whether or not she was doing the right thing
  • Knowing that she was capable of climbing the mountain
  • Making two promises to herself - that she would not climb above her ability and doing the best she could every single day. 
  • Dealing with self doubt
  • Working as a mountaineering coach 
  • Starting her training company - Alpine Athletics
  • Leading an all women’s climb in Nepal
  • Planning future all women expeditions in the USA and Nepal
  • How to connect with Lisa
  • Final words of advice for women who want to take on their own personal challenges


Social Media


Instagram: @lisaclimbs 

Facebook: @lisatclimbs 

Book: Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain 


About the book: An inspiring story of danger, daring, and triumph on the world's most dangerous mountain. Finding Elevation is the story of mountaineer and cancer survivor Lisa Thompson as she climbs through the "death zone" of K2.

Defiance led Lisa Thompson to the male-dominated world of mountain climbing. But after battling breast cancer, she needed to understand the motivations behind the risks she took while climbing. Finding Elevation is more than her climbing memoir. It is an examination of the human spirit and motivation.

Readers will be gripped by Lisa's path from amateur mountain climber to world-class mountaineer as she:

  • Becomes the second American woman to summit K2
  • Conquers the world's most dangerous mountains
  • Defines her own limits, and
  • Discovers what she's truly capable of 

In this inspirational book, readers will be moved by Lisa's story of heartbreak, resilience, and the discovery that we must define our own boundaries, find our own happiness, and face our fears head-on.


Aug 22, 2023

Paula Craig, a passionate runner and triathlete, achieved an impressive feat of completing the London Marathon for six consecutive years, from 1995 to 2000, achieving a personal best of 2 hours and 57 minutes in 2000. 

However, her life took a drastic turn in May 2001 when she was involved in a car accident during her cycle training for an upcoming qualifying race for the age group world championships, resulting in paralysis from the waist down.

Undeterred by her life-altering injury, Paula underwent a rigorous five-month rehabilitation process and made a remarkable comeback as a wheelchair athlete. Just 11 months after her accident, she competed in her first post-injury London Marathon, marking the beginning of an inspiring journey. Paula continued to defy expectations by participating in numerous triathlons as a wheelchair athlete, including three world championships, where she achieved gold medals in each event.

Recognising her indomitable spirit, Paula received the prestigious Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration in 2005. In the same year, she was also bestowed with an MBE for her exceptional services to the police. 

Paula's unwavering determination and resilience continued to inspire others as she embarked on yet another extraordinary endeavour. 

In 2022, she made history by swimming the English Channel as part of a six-member relay team, becoming the first person with a complete spinal cord injury to accomplish this feat according to Channel rules, which prohibited the use of a wetsuit. Her awe-inspiring swim raised over £24,000 for Aspire, a charity close to her heart that provides support for individuals affected by spinal cord injuries, enabling them to lead independent lives.


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 Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Paula
  • Turning 60 in July
  • Working as a police office for 30 years and retiring in 2017
  • Her love for sport and swimming
  • Being the youngest of 4
  • Moving to London and becoming a radiographer 
  • Joining the police at 22 years old 
  • What it was like being in the police and being the only woman on the team
  • Her running journey and getting into marathons
  • Running the London Marathon (3hrs 23 mins) in 1995 aged 31
  • Starting to run for St. Albans Striders
  • Running the London marathon from the elite women’s start line
  • Running a sub 3 hr marathon (2hrs 57 mins) in 2000
  • The mental challenge of running sub - 3hrs and doing specific treadmill training sessions
  • Needing to average 6m 50s per mile 
  • Moving into triathlon 
  • Being hit by a car in March 2001 while on her bike and being left paralysed from the waist down
  • Being in hospital for 5 months 
  • Deciding to do the London Marathon as a wheelchair athlete in 2002
  • Getting back into the pool and how it helped her left arm/hand to recover
  • Working with the Charity Aspire
  • Needing to sell everything
  • Moving into interim accommodation 
  • Accepting what happened
  • Focusing on the future 
  • How our minds can work for us to help us avoid pain
  • Back on the start line of the London Marathon
  • Placing 3rd but not going on the podium due to the minus 1 rule
  • Being the first woman to run and race in a wheel chair for the London Marathon
  • What happens to her legs while swimming 
  • Having control of her core 
  • Deciding to swim the channel as part of a relay team
  • Having a bone infection 
  • Starting to swim more and enter swim races
  • Deciding to swim the channel on the 20th anniversary of her accident
  • Training weekends with Aspire 
  • Follow the channel rules and swimming with no wetsuit
  • Needing to do a qualifier in June - 90 mins in the water - (sub 16 degrees) out for 90 mins and then back in for a 60 min swim
  • Not being able to swim due to bad weather
  • Having a 7 day window to complete the swim and then going into a queue
  • Getting the chance to go again on the 10th October 2021
  • Needing to turn the boat around due to bad weather
  • Planning to swim the channel in 2022
  • Setting off on the 4th August 2022
  • Dealing with severe sea sickness for the whole crossing
  • Getting back on to the boat using a spinal board
  • The final hour of swimming
  • Heading home and celebrating with pizza!
  • How to connect with Paula
  • Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
  • Learning to embrace and focus on what she could do


Social Media

Instagram: @paulacraig37

Aspire provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, supporting them from injury to independence 



Aug 15, 2023

Anjana is an Earth Scientist, a writer and an advocate for greater diversity in the natural heritage sector. She started running 8 years ago and her weekly fitness regime consists of 10k runs, HIIT, Iyenga yoga and swimming. She has completed four half marathons to date. Anjana is also a keen walker and has been an Ambassador for the Ramblers to encourage more people of colour into nature.  

Anjana describes herself as a time traveller using clues locked away in rocks, fossils and landscapes to reveal the hidden mysteries and stories about ancient life on earth.  She helps people to understand how our planet evolved, changed and survived over 4.6 billion years and how this knowledge can help us prepare for an uncertain future. As a South Asian woman, she proudly weaves this into her work, bringing an informed and intelligent richness to narratives about deep time, landscapes and natural history.

Anjana has worked in protected landscapes for over 20 years helping audiences of all backgrounds learn about the amazing rocks and landscapes around us. She has been recognised for her work through multiple awards including The Geographical Award from the Royal Geographical Society, The RH Worth Award from the Geological Society of London and most recently The Halstead Medal from the Geologists Association. 

But these accolades have not come easily. Challenge is something that Anjana has experienced her whole life. From becoming a lone parent to a young baby overnight through to racism and discrimination, Anjana has always fought back and sought to carve her own path in life. She is now writing a non-fiction popular science book, The Whispers of Rock, due to be published in the US and UK in September 2025 revealing the secret stories of rocks and how they connect us to each other and the world we live in.   


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, airing every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Subscribe now to be the first to hear from inspiring women as they share their adventures and physical challenges.

If you want to support Tough Girl's mission of increasing the number of female role models in the media, especially in adventure and physical challenge, consider becoming a patron on Patreon. Your support can help us continue to showcase the strength and resilience of women around the world. Visit to learn more and thank you for your support!


Show Notes

  • Who is Anjana and what she does
  • Living in Dorset, close to the Jurassic Coast
  • Her passion for rocks, fossils and landforms
  • Her love for rocks and where it came from
  • Growing up in Slough (a town on the outskirts of London)
  • Not having access to green spaces
  • Being interested in science
  • Being inspired by the Shetani Lava Flow, Tsavo West National Park, Eastern part of Kenya
  • Wanting to be an Earth Scientist
  • Not being supported and encouraged to follow her dreams
  • Expectations and pressures on South Asian Women
  • Deciding to get her PhD - Staying the impact of climate change on ice and how ice had shaped and carved our landscapes
  • Female Mentors and role models 
  • Professor Jane Hart 
  • Being ignored and talked over at conferences 
  • Needing to prove herself over and over again
  • Doing a post doctoral research fellowship in America. 
  • The West Antarctic Ice Stream Initiative - A Multidisciplinary Study of Rapid Climate Change and Future Sea Level 
  • Moving to live in Utah, America for 3 years 
  • Not being able to go to Antarctica due to visa issues and time constraints 
  • Spending time in the outdoors and what that looks like
  • Walking and walking in the landscape
  • Becoming an Ambassador for The Ramblers UK 
  • Getting into running
  • What is this rock?!
  • Why chalk is her favourite rock
  • What her work week looks like
  • Working on her new book - The Whispers of Rock - to be published in 2025
  • A global story of rocks across the world
  • Going travelling with her mother
  • Visiting Australia and Malaysia 
  • Wanting to understand the spiritual connection that communities have with rocks 
  • Taking rocks and the link to bad luck
  • The destruction of rock to make limestone for cement 
  • Rocks being an infinite resource 
  • The spiritual connection with rocks
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Ancestral Pueblo people
  • Tips to encourage children to be passionate about the outdoors and to connect with nature 
  • Using the outdoors to process trauma
  • Walking with her daughter 
  • Ted X Talk - How rocks connect communities 
  • How rocks are connected to tea and coffee drinking 
  • How to connect with Anjana
  • Advice for following your passion 
  • Dealing with self doubt and worry 
  • Why your voice matters 
  • Surrounding yourself with people who believe that you can do it



Social Media


Instagram @jurassicg1rl

Twitter @jurassicg1rl

Youtube - @dranjanakhatwa 




Aug 8, 2023

Cath draws on her careers as an Olympic rower and conflict diplomat, combined with her experience of working with a wide range of organisations across sectors to raise performance, transform cultures and develop effective leadership and teams.

As an Olympic rower, Cath competed at three Olympic Games. Highlights include winning the World Championships in 2003 and an Olympic silver medal in 2004.  

As a diplomat for over a decade, Cath specialised in conflict issues, with postings to Bosnia and Iraq, as well as leading in Whitehall on the UK civilian contribution to stabilising conflicts around the world. These experiences equipped her with leadership, negotiating skills, resilience, and the ability to deliver outstanding performance under extremely challenging circumstances.

Cath has published, The Long Win: The search for a better way to succeed - that challenges the often narrow lens we have on what winning means, and sets out a new way of thinking and reframing success across business, sport and education.

Cath continues to be active in supporting the next generation of sporting talent, including through support of the Youth Sport Trust, the True Athlete Project and as Chair of Love Rowing (British Rowing's Charitable Foundation). 

Cath has commentated for Henley Royal Regatta and the BBC Boat Races and been invited to review the newspapers on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House. Cath is an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta.


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 Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Cath
  • Working in the world of leadership, development and culture
  • Being an Olympian and working as a diplomat 
  • Her new book - The Long Win: The search for a better way to succeed 
  • Her early years growing up
  • Not being sporty!
  • Getting into a rowing boat for the first time
  • Having fun on the water
  • Being willing to try new things
  • Having no pressure or expectations
  • Being in the Olympics and dealing with the pressure and the stress
  • Writing about long win thinking 
  • Moving away from short narrow definitions of success
  • Winning the silver media at the Olympics - success or failure?
  • What does success look like?
  • Framing success in your own terms
  • Focusing on the journey
  • The power of clarifying what matters
  • The medal
  • Resilience and how people can develop it
  • Why progress is not always in a straight line
  • Reframing and moving forward
  • Working with a sports psychologist 
  • Encouraging women to say yes to new challenges
  • Confidence 
  • Why doubts can be a good things
  • Fitness and exercise and how it plays a part of her life now
  • Dr. Stacey Sims 
  • How to connect with Cath
  • Keep exploring what’s possible, together with others 
  • Future plans for 2023


Social Media


Instagram: @cath_bishop 

Twitter: @thecathbishop

Book: The Long Win: The search for a better way to succeed 



Aug 4, 2023

Alexandra Allred made sports (and medical) history through activism and determination. When she learned that women were not allowed in bobsled, she lobbied for equal status with a relentless letter-writing campaign. It had not yet occurred to her that she had no idea how to actually bobsled. As a former fighter in martial arts, she had only cared that women were banned from a sport deemed “too dangerous” and “too fast.”

When told that the women’s program had no by-laws and was therefore unofficial, Allred co-authored the first U.S. women’s bylaws and helped secure a sponsor. She ultimately won the U.S. Nationals in September 1994, making sports history as she was named to the first-ever U.S. women’s bobsled team. When the United States Olympic Committee named her Athlete of the Year for her sport, it made international news that Allred was also pregnant.

At the time, there was very little data on elite pregnant athletes who did powerlifting and plyometrics. While Allred became the “poster child” of the Case Western OB/GYN international study, Allred was squatting 375 lbs. and clocked at 20 MPH sprints into her second trimester.  The results of this study changed how to measure the safety of baby in utero for competitive athletes. Both the United States and International Olympic Committee used Allred’s training data as a safety guide for pregnant athletes and she served as a fitness/nutrition expert for two decades. 

Today, Allred is an adjunct professor at Tarleton State University and continues to write/research and work with those living with special needs. Her most recent book: When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World. Was published in February 2023.


About the book: When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World.


An unapologetically candid and illuminating history of women and their fight for equality, told through the influential world of sports.

From early Amazons to modern-day athletes, women have been fighting for their rightful place in the world. The history of these female athletes—whether warriors on the battlefield or competitors in the sports arena—has often been neglected, yet it is through sports that women have changed society, gaining entry into education, travel, politics, and more.

When Women Stood is an eye-opening chronicle of the amazing women who refused to accept the status quo and fought for something better for themselves and for those who would follow. Featuring exclusive insight from athletes such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kathrine Switzer, Nancy Lieberman, Briana Scurry, and Nancy Hogshead-Maker, this book includes the stories of female football players, Olympic athletes, powerlifters, and soccer stars, of historians, archeologists, crusaders, and scientists.

Women’s sports history cannot be told without also telling the story of the fight for gender and racial equality, economics, medical biases, gay and transgender history, violence, religion, media, abuse, and activism. When Women Stood is the first to go beyond the record books and gold medal counts to truly dig into the vital role women and sports have played in instigating change in society as a whole. And it shows that, despite seemingly unsurmountable odds, the true spirit of the female athlete can never be restrained.


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

Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit Thank you.


Show notes

  • Call her Alex
  • Growing up and loving the non-traditional female sports 
  • Having lived in 20 places by the time she was 18
  • Being born in Germany and spending her childhood moving from place to place
  • Living in Russia and being followed by the KGB
  • Getting into Martial Arts at 18 and being a professional fighter
  • Seeing bobsled for the first time on TV and not seeing any women competing 
  • Asking the question - why are there no women competing?
  • 1940 US Champion - Katherine Dewey - Bobsleigh pilot won the open bobsled competition 
  • Starting a campaign to change the rules to allow women to compete
  • Winning the US Nationals in 1994 while being 4 month pregnant 
  • British Boxer - Jane Couch making a difference for women in boxing 
  • Getting push back for being a pregnant athlete
  • Why she didn’t drop out 
  • Being part of a medical study on pregnancy and athletics
  • Mentors in sports 
  • Misogyny at the highest levels in sport
  • Figuring out fundraising and sponsorship for the bobsled team
  • Keeping motivated after setback after setback. 
  • The power of women
  • The label of tomboy
  • Writing the book
  • New Book:  When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World. 
  • Planning a 2nd book
  • Thoughts on World Athletics banning transgender women from competition.
  • Lack of research for the cis-gender female body
  • Why women aren’t studied
  • Focusing on female hormones 
  • Mary Cain 
  • Dr. Stacey Sims 
  • Creating a space for transgender athletes 
  • The importance of education around transgender men and women
  • Menstrual cycle and how it ties to performance 
  • Heavy topics
  • Media coverage for women and how’s it changed over the past 30 years
  • How the worlds sees women 
  • Why it’s less about what she looks like and more about what she can do 
  • The power of strong, outspoken women
  • Being you
  • How to connect with Alex
  • Advice for women who want to help drive change
  • Practical steps to support and encourage other women
  • Support your sisters and stand up for ourselves


Social Media


Book: When Women Stood - The Untold History of Females Who Changed Sports and the World.



Aug 4, 2023

Rogeema shares her story of pushing her own limits and proving to people, especially other women, that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

Rogeema talks about her early years and not being sporty, never being picked for sports teams, and not knowing what to do at the gym. She shares her journey of starting as a runner and moving into triathlon, including learning how to swim at 35 years old and signing up for her first 5k race. 

Rogeema discusses the challenges of going from a half marathon to an ultra marathon, hitting "the wall" while running, and why you need time to recover when running the longer distances.

Rogeema also talks about the mental preparation needed before race day, the importance of putting in the training, and working with a sports psychologist to reprogram her mind for success. Rogeema also discusses her mental health struggles after becoming an Ironman and the importance of having a tribe and community.

Throughout the episode, Rogeema emphasizes the power of visibility and inspiring more Muslim women to enter the world of triathlon and running while wearing a hijab. She wants to show young girls that anything is possible and encourages listeners to not change themselves, but instead to change the game.

To connect with Rogeema, listeners can visit her website at and follow her on Instagram @rogeemakenny. 


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast released every Tuesday at 7am UK time, and consider supporting the podcast on Patreon to increase the representation of female role models in the media. Thank you 


Show notes

  • Who is Rogeema
  • Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Starting as a runner and moving into triathlon
  • Woking as a freelance management consultant and project manager
  • Her early years 
  • Not being sporty and never being picked for the sports teams
  • Learning how to swim at 35 years old
  • Doing her first sprint triathlon
  • Being into health and fitness
  • Her running journey 
  • Getting her black belt in karate
  • Signing up for her first 5k race
  • Building up the distance over time
  • Not feeling like a real runner
  • Not knowing what to do at the gym and feeling lost
  • Having an accountability buddy
  • Starting to run half marathons, marathons and ultra marathons
  • Her love for running  
  • How running helped with her mental health 
  • Feeling a sense of achievement after doing something difficult
  • Why endurance sports change you as a person
  • Why you should do hard things
  • Making progress in running and increasing the distances 
  • Following a training plan for the ultra distances
  • The challenge of going from a half marathon to a half marathon 
  • Hitting “the wall” while running
  • Why you need time to recover when running the longer distances
  • Why you need to train hard and do the tough sessions
  • Building up your resilience muscle
  • Doing her last Ironman in tough conditions
  • The challenges of race day and overcoming them and feeling even stronger at the finish
  • Mental preparation before the race 
  • The Power Pose - Amy Cuddy - Ted Talk  
  • Why you need to put in the training
  • Getting ‘switched on’, on race day
  • Not being a naturally athlete and having to work for every little gain
  • Working with a sports psychologist and re programming her mind for success 
  • The power of professional help and why it’s invaluable
  • Book: The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall Phd, & Lesley Paterson  
  • Learning to control your emotions
  • Blog: The Dark Side of becoming an Ironman - Mental Health Struggles
  • Dealing with her mental state changing after the race 
  • Trying to understand what was happening
  • Needing a tribe and a community 
  • Happy hormones and exercise 
  • Rest and recovery after an Ironman
  • Doing social races and social training 
  • The women who inspired her to start triathlon
  • Lucy Charles-Barclay - World Triathlon long distance champion @lucycharles93
  • Chrissie Wellington TGP episode 
  • Khadijah Diggs @khadijahtriathlete 
  • Inspiring more muslin women to enter the world of triathlon and running while wearing a hijab
  • The power of visibility and seeing other women out there competing 
  • How to connect with Rogeema
  • Final words of advice 
  • Wanting to show young girls that anything is possible


Social Media


Instagram: @rogeema 



Aug 4, 2023

Cory Maria Dack is an Indigenous Latina who recently finished thru-paddling the entire Mississippi River - all 2,552 miles/4,108 km - source to sea, an incredible adventure that took over 134 days. 

Born in Ecuador and raised in the U.S. (in Duluth, Minnesota near the Canadian border), Cory has been an adventure guide and outdoor leader for nearly 20 years. She decided to thru-paddle the most famous waterway in the U.S. in part to increase representation of women of color, fat bodied people, immigrants, queer folks, and other demographics often left out of the narrative on the water and in the outdoor recreation world.

Cory’s main mission and message on her Mississippi River Trip was to “Decolonize Thru-Paddling,” a play on words that highlighted how she and her paddle partners:

1. Decolonized the concept of a “thru-paddle” (paddling all the way through a waterway, source to sea)

2. Uplifed messages of decolonization “thru” the act of paddling.

What does it mean to “decolonize” something? 

Decolonization is the important practice of unpacking ways of life that support and are informed by systemic racism, colonization, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, fat phobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and any other form of systemic violence.

Cory and her friends “Decolonized Thru Paddling” by: 

* Bridging equity gaps through representation of Women, People of Color, fat bodied people, members of the LGBQT+ community, immigrants, economically disadvantaged people, and other demographics that are underrepresented on the water and in the outdoors
* Honoring Native American/Indigenous Land by being in community and ceremony with Native communities, elders, and water protectors across the country
* Being grounded in community-driven values: they prioritized meeting people who live on the River and delighted in making new friends and connections along the way


Catch the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Don't miss out, hit the subscribe button to stay up-to-date!

You can also help us increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges by supporting our mission. Visit to learn more. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Cory
  • Born in Ecuador, but being raised in Minnesota
  • Currently being on a national tour called - Canoe Mobile 
  • Being adopted at 3 months old
  • Her early years and not being outdoorsy
  • Getting into the outdoors in her early 20s
  • Working at a summer camp and learning new skills
  • Gaining new qualifications while at camp
  • Becoming a canoe guide
  • Feeling like an imposter
  • Having empowering mentors who have supported and encouraged her
  • Knowing that she belongs and that she deserves to be there
  • Ignoring the other systems (gender, wealth, race, age)  that were telling her she didn’t belong 
  • Decolonization and why we do the things we do
  • Who is worthy to spend time in the outdoors
  • Coming up with the idea to thru-paddle the Mississippi River
  • Spending 100 days on the Mississippi River and wanting to do another long river trip
  • Working for 3 seasons and using grassroots funding to pay for the journey 
  • Recognising her privilige
  • Wanting to empower others to go on adventures
  • Wanting to take her time on the journey and meet communities along the way
  • Fears and concerns before the journey 
  • Dealing with the cold weather and winter while on the river
  • Starting the journey at the end of August
  • Mental health struggles while on the river
  • Reaching out to community and asking for help
  • River Angels
  • Magical moments 
  • 134 days on the river
  • Having Emily Ford come and join her for 200 miles on the river 
  • Daily life while on the river and finding peace and a new rhythm to living
  • Not feeling safe going solo
  • Paddling with Sarah for the final 1000 miles
  • Land Acknowledgements 
  • Paddling through the twin cities 
  • Connecting with many local community groups
  • Black Lives Matter 
  • Native Lives Matter 
  • Minnesota Immigrants Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) 
  • Bdóte ('meeting of waters' or 'where two rivers meet') considered to be a place of spiritual importance to the Dakota People.
  • Brining communities together in a moment of celebration 
  • The truth behind Fort Snelling and the land it stands on
  • A time for medicine and a time for healing
  • Making an offering to the water/river
  • Reflecting back on the journey - success and lessons learned
  • How do you define success on a journey 
  • Adjusting back to normal life 
  • Rolling straight into the canoe mobile tour 
  • Celebrating the end of the journey
  • Working with a therapist and being able to speak to them while on the river
  • How to connect with Cory
  • Final words of advice
  • Wanting everyone to know that they belong in nature, outside, outdoors and it’s safe for them to be there.
  • The power of starting small  


Social Media

Women on the Water Website:

Instagram: @corymaria13 



Aug 4, 2023

Nicki Bass is a Business Psychologist, Army Veteran and host of The Everyday Adventure Podcast.  Having always loved the thrill of adventure sports and having served around the world, she has first-hand experience of how being taken outside of your comfort zone can dramatically improve your ability to face life's challenges. Currently studying for a Doctorate in Occupational Psychology, this experience gives her a unique insight into how resilience theory and practice align. On leaving the Army in 2017 she set up her own consultancy, Resilience at Work, using the principles of adventurous training to help professionals to build their resilience and leadership skills.
Knowing the challenges that many people (including herself!) face in trying to live adventurously amongst the many commitments in their lives, Nicki was motivated to launch The Everyday Adventure Podcast in May 2020. The aim was to share the stories of ordinary people who had managed to find time for their own adventures - both physical and psychological - and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Since then she has spoken to over 65 guests from a wide variety of backgrounds, exploring their motivations, challenges & the benefits they have experienced. Having given a TEDx talk on the subject in January 2022, She is passionate about everyday adventures and the power they have to bring joy, confidence and energy to our daily lives.


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Show notes

  • Who is Nicki
  • Spending 17 years in the Army
  • Re-training as a Business Psychologist
  • Her love for adventure sports - especially surfing and skiing 
  • Setting up Resilience at Work
  • Her early years growing up
  • Being active but not sporty
  • Doing a ski season
  • Joining the Army before the age of 25
  • Being taken outside your comfort zone and how that has developed resilience 
  • What is resilience?
  • Why resilience is different from grit
  • Making the transition out of the army
  • Wanting to work for herself 
  • Starting out with a plan and how it evolves
  • Balancing a new business, family life and adventure sports
  • Adjusting her expectations 
  • Adventuring with children and teaching them resilience
  • Why everything can be an adventure for kids
  • Putting yourself first 
  • Dealing with the guilt of putting yourself first
  • Figuring out her time
  • 1 month of everyday adventures in 2021
  • Having something to look forward to
  • Starting the Everyday Adventure Podcast
  • Working with Fran Turauskis (Editor) 
  • How to connect with Nicki
  • Ted Talk - 
  • Final words of advice 
  • Why your adventure is valid - no matter the size
  • Finding a way to start 


Social Media


Instagram: @resilienceatwork

Facebook: @resiliencework

Podcast: The Everyday Adventure Podcast

TEDx Moseley: The Life Changing Power of Everyday Adventures


Aug 1, 2023

Amanda is an Australian park Ranger whose career has taken her from the turquoise blue coast of South Australia to the broad red deserts of Central Australia and now the subtropical rainforests of the East Coast. She loves having the best job in the world in which she gets the opportunity to fight fires, monitor threatened species, use chainsaws and heavy machinery (aka fun toys), audit and hike long distance trails, occasionally fly across the landscape in a helicopter, and (the greatest privilege of all) work with Traditional Owners looking after Country. Well, that and clean toilets of course, can’t leave that out.

Inspired by the many Rangers she has worked with in her career, and with no film making or expedition experience, Amanda set off on a new mission on World Ranger Day (July 31) last year called Walking the Thin Green Line Oceania. 

Over 366 days, through 8 nations and across 3 oceans, Amanda will travel over 80,000km meeting Rangers and recording their stories in a documentary. 

She will also hike more than 1500km to honour the more than 1500 Rangers killed in the line of duty since official records began in 2009. 

Amanda will be raising vital funds for the Thin Green Line Foundation’s Oceania Fund to support Ranger led projects around the Oceania region.

Amanda will complete her epic self-funded journey on World Ranger Day this year on the southernmost point of mainland Australia at Wilson’s promontory National Park after more than 35,000km of driving, close to 200 Ranger interviews, more than 25 terabytes of footage, dozens of walking trails and peaks, over 30 flights, more than a dozen boats and ferries, 8 sim cards, 2 Garmin inReach’s and more illnesses than you can count on one hand.


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Show notes

  • Who is Amanda
  • Working as a Park Ranger on the East Coast of Australia 
  • Being a passionate conservationist 
  • Not being scared of doing her own things
  • Her passion for the environment and getting people excited about it
  • Wanting to encourage women and young girls to pursue their dreams
  • Her early years and growing up wanting to be a geologist 
  • Being sports and enjoying spending time outside 
  • Her journey to becoming a Park Ranger 
  • Starting work as a fine dining chef
  • Learning about the slow food movement in Italy 
  • Being involved in the ‘Youth Food Movement’ 2008 
  • Wanting to do more to contribute to the world
  • Going to The University of Queensland, Brisbane to study Natural Resource Management 
  • Doing a course called - Protected Area Management 
  • Being inspired by Rangers and the work they were doing 
  • South Australian Graduate Ranger Program 
  • What do Park Rangers do - in Western Australia 
  • Walking the thin Green Line 
  • Preparation and planning for the Expedition
  • The Thin Green Line Foundation, Australia 
  • How the idea came about
  • Hiking 1,600km by the end of her journey to reflect on the 1,600 rangers who have lost their lives while serving 
  • The goals for the expedition and what she wants to achieve
  • Spending 366 days on the road 
  • Starting on World Ranger Day - 31st July 2022 and finishing on World Ranger Day 31st July 2023 
  • World Ranger Conference 2024, France 
  • The Route Map 
  • Planning, logistics and financing the expedition
  • Connecting with people and getting tips and advice from film makers
  • Starting with a map, crunching the numbers and figuring out what the weather was doing
  • The challenges and obstacles with planning along the way
  • Only being able to plan a few weeks in advance and dealing with the stress that brings
  • Self funding the challenge and receiving financial support from her sister and other family members
  • Losing sponsorship due to floods in Eastern Australia and needing to make alternative arrangements 
  • Feeling comfortable taking calculated risks
  • Being all in and knowing the financial risks
  • Meeting incredible people on the journey
  • Speaking to Rangers and filming them for the documentary 
  • Visiting Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
  • The connection between rangers
  • What’s going to happen over the next 6 months
  • Having a 3 year plan 
  • Making a documentary about the journey and wanting to share the stories
  • Going back to work full time work in August 2023
  • The lessons learned from the trip
  • Becoming the first ‘Ranger Ambassador’ for the Thin Green Line Foundation
  • The unique challenges faced by female rangers
  • The importance of having women involved in conservation
  • How to connect with Amanda
  • Final words of advice 
  • Why you should consider working in conservation especially in Protected Area Management


Social Media


Instagram: @walkingthethingreenline 

Facebook: @walkingthethingreenline 

The Thin Green Line - “A global not-for-profit organisation that provides support to rangers, because rangers are the frontline professionals protecting wildlife and the natural world. We do this by providing effective training, vital equipment, and emergency support to rangers and their families, and developing strong global networks for rangers and their communities.”