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
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts










All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 2
Nov 30, 2023

Ellen is a 27-year-old pilot, flight instructor, and adventure traveler, with a background in writing, acting, and modeling. She grew up on a farm in rural Texas. In her short adult life, she’s been on five expeditions by bicycle, paddle, and oars, both domestic and international. Those journeys add up to a total of 18 months and roughly 10,000 miles - nearly all of which were human-powered and half of which were solo.

In 2017, Ellen, then 22, completed a solo descent of the Missouri from Three Forks to St. Louis. Ellen had previously paddled a tributary of the Amazon and cycled from England to Greece. Ellen is the youngest person to solo paddle the Missouri River from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis.

In September 2022, Ellen Falterman paddled her 18-foot Grumman canoe to her family's Trinity River home in East Texas, completing a full descent of the Mississippi River and then some.

Her motivation and mentor for these trips have always been her brother Patrick, who died suddenly in 2016. She dedicates all of her expeditions to him, and even when she’s traveling by herself, she never feels as if she’s traveling alone.

***This episode was recorded at the end of 2021 to be released in early 2022. Ellen lost her fiancé in 2022 so we decided to delay the release of the episode until now. Our hearts and hugs go out to Ellen.***


New episodes 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 especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Visit Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Ellen
  • Her trail name
  • Being based out of East Texas
  • The big challenge - gong around the world by rowboat
  • Being inspired by her brother
  • Her family 
  • Wanting to make her own way in life
  • Thinking of becoming an actor
  • Losing her brother suddenly in September 2016
  • Starting to live life like there is no tomorrow 
  • Dealing with the dark and tragic situations that happens in life
  • Going to Brazil with her brother in 2014
  • Talking about her grief 
  • Hitching around Brazil and making money while on the road
  • Learning from her brother while travelling together
  • Doing a river trip after he died
  • Her first solo expedition on the Missouri River, the longest river in North America
  • Planning verses going with the flow 
  • Daily life while on travelling on rivers
  • River time and working with tides and rowing in open water
  • Figuring out resupply and knowing what rations you have
  • The lessons from her first solo expedition 
  • Why everyone should do a solo challenge at some point 
  • Dealing with loneliness 
  • Funding and paying for challenges
  • Working as a flight instructor to self fund challenges
  • Learning to fly and getting her pilot license at 17
  • Deciding to row the length of The Mississippi River
  • How her expeditions have tied together 
  • Naming her boat after her grandma 
  • Gaining ocean rowing experience
  • Doing a sea school course in the UK and gaining qualifications 
  • Handling concerns before the journey 
  • Creating a non-profit and how it works
  • Documenting and sharing the challenge
  • Working with UK non-profit IMMAs 
  • Keeping stuff in storage 
  • Creating a cozy cabin 
  • Wanting to be in Panama in 12 months
  • Launching on September 4th 2022
  • Falling in love and the challenge of leaving 
  • Wanting to be the captain of her ship and being alone for the first year
  • How you can support Ellen 
  • How to connect with Ellen on the socials 
  • Final words advice - The 3Ds - Desire, Decision, Details 


Social Media


Instagram @ellenmagellanexpeditions 

Facebook Ellen Magellan Expeditions


Nov 28, 2023

Josephine in her own words:  

“I’m a middle aged mother of three. Also, adventurer, rock climber, former Mountain Rescuer, wilderness addict, lover of Nature, doer. Oh, and professional author and award-winning photographer.

Many hats, but a common thread of being outdoors, helping people and sharing a love of wild places.

Having moved on from the confines of Mountain Rescue, I am on a journey with Mountain Training Association to get qualified so that I can introduce people, and especially women, to the indescribable benefits of outdoor adventure. 

Too many women feel that it is beyond them. I want to show that it is not.

I love polar adventure and have been to Norway many times and skied across Svalbard on a 9 day expedition. 

Mountains, moors, wilderness, old mines and rock faces all vie for my time so that it feels there is never enough! 

My mantra is: “Do it now. Life is too short.”

I am not one for “ests” the longest/fastest/highest etc. To me, it is all about being there, in that moment.

My work as an author and publisher includes the Dartmoor Tors Compendium, the Official Visitor Guide to Dartmoor National Park and the Geology of Dartmoor. I also design unique infographics and poster art about Dartmoor in particular. My photography, when not illustrating books, is photographing architectural properties and interiors. Mainly though, photography is about showing how beautiful and amazing our world is.”


Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, airing every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay updated and connected.

Join us in our mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Show your support by visiting Thank you for helping to make change happen.


Show notes

  • Who is Josephine
  • Wearing lots of hats 
  • Her love for going out and exploring and spending time in wilderness
  • Studying geo-physics at university down in London
  • Making the move to Devon
  • Deciding to re-train in photography 
  • How her career focuses on photography, design and being outdoors
  • Having 3 grown children 
  • Her love and passion for the outdoors 
  • Growing up in Acton, London
  • Spending more and more time in Dartmoor 
  • Age 14, having the opportunity to do an outward bound course (3 week residential)
  • Discovering different possibilities and wanting to live a life outdoors
  • Meeting her husband at the Officer Training Core at University 
  • Making the decision to move to Devon to raise her family
  • Asking herself the question - what does she really want to do
  • Buying an old barn to renovate, while raising 3 children and going back to college for 3 years to study photography and media production
  • Why we have to take a risk and make things happen
  • Not doing any adventures for 20 years while raising the kids
  • Starting to do more solo activities at 52
  • Booking to do a polar training course with Newland Expeditions
  • Spending time walking on Dartmoor
  • Losing her mum to Ovarian Cancer 
  • Skiing across Svalbard on a 9 day expedition (being the only woman and one of the oldest there)
  • Camp life, dealing with Polar bears and why it’s so challenging 
  • Imposter Syndrome?
  • Feeling like an explorer and an adventurer
  • Cycling the Hebridean Way, Scotland 2022
  • Being inspired by watching the Reality TV Show Castaway (2000) 
  • Dealing with the tough days while on challenges
  • Suffering from covid
  • Challenges with mental health and seeking therapy  
  • Dealing with setbacks and failure 
  • Spending time in the Cairngorms, Scotland and going exploring 
  • Doing her Hill & Moorland Assessment 
  • Wanting to train for her Mountain Leader (ML) Award 
  • Her healing process and wanting to learn new skills
  • Trying to identify what you want to be
  • Doing what’s achievable first
  • Signing up for the Rock Climbing Instructor Course in 2022 
  • Wanting to share her love for the outdoors and encourage more people to spend time outside
  • Mountain Rescue and the training program
  • Hitting a glass wall and dealing with bad people management
  • Deciding to resign from Mountain Rescue 
  • Advice and tips for other women who are in a similar situation
  • Not wanting to rock the boat and what she would do differently now
  • Why the old school way of thinking has to change
  • Why we don’t have to put up with bad behaviour 
  • How the ML training is going 
  • How you can connect with Josephine
  • The meaning behind the name ‘Tavicinity’ 
  • Using Instagram in the old fashioned way - black and white photos
  • The importance of learning how to navigate
  • Why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people 
  • Why you should try something new
  • “Make it happen and do it for you”.  


Social Media


Instagram: @tavicinity 

Nov 21, 2023

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, we dive into the incredible journey of Fadeelah Kenny, an endurance runner, cyclist, and hiker. Fadeelah, a hijabi woman, shares her inspiring story of becoming a mother and the challenges she faced along the way.

Fadeelah opens up about her experience as a late starter, having her baby at the age of 38. She candidly discusses the struggles she encountered in adjusting to motherhood and her battle with severe postpartum depression. Despite these obstacles, Fadeelah's determination shines through as she shares her story of recovery and resilience.

As an endurance runner, Fadeelah has completed several ultra marathons, including the renowned Comrades Marathon three times. She reflects on her running journey, from discovering her endurance capabilities to pushing herself in longer distances. Fadeelah recounts the mental challenges of running, emphasising the importance of a positive mindset and self-belief.

The conversation delves into Fadeelah's experience of running the Comrades Marathon, an 89-kilometre race that changes direction every year. She shares the mental and physical obstacles she faced during the race, including the last few kilometres where she needed to dig deep to finish with only minutes to spare.

Fadeelah also discusses her struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety, highlighting the importance of seeking support and opening up about one's struggles. She shares her desire to help others by sharing her own journey and offering advice to women facing similar challenges.

Don't miss this empowering episode filled with insights on endurance running, motherhood, and the strength of the human spirit.


🎙️ 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 to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Fadeelah
  • Working as an electrical engineer while having a love for endurance running
  • Having a new baby 14 months ago age 38
  • Her early years growing up in South Africa
  • Her older sister Rogeema Kenny (who has also shared her story on the Tough Girl Podcast - 4th August 2023)
  • Not enjoying athletics when she was younger as she wasn’t good at it
  • Learning she had a little bit of endurance while running 1,500m at school
  • Only been competitive with herself
  • Starting running 13 years ago and why she prefers the longer distances
  • How her running journey progressed and what that looked like
  • Being asked to run a 5k race on National Women's Day in South Africa (9th August)
  • Getting the bug for running and starting to enter more races
  • Needing a running licence - through the Athletics Association South Africa
  • Deciding to join a running club and meeting so many like minded people
  • Signing up for longer and longer races
  • Running Comrades Marathon 3x (89 km)
  • Two Oceans Ultra Marathon 
  • Why it’s a mental challenge running longer distances 
  • Keep on running - don’t stop, even if you think you aren’t going to make the cut off
  • How the Comrades Marathon changes direction every year 
  • Needing to convince herself that she could finish the race
  • The importance of having a positive mindset and having belief in herself
  • Needing to understand WHY she was running and WHY she was doing this race
  • Dealing with the physical pain during the race
  • Running with a pacer and not being able to keep up for the final few kms
  • Being encouraged to keep on running by supporters 
  • Completing the race with 2mins to spare!
  • Sharing more about motherhood and running
  • Suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety 
  • Not knowing where to turn
  • Talking about her struggles and wanting to help others
  • Starting to feel more like herself 
  • How to connect with Fadeelah
  • Final words of advice for women listening 


Social Media

Instagram: @fadeelahk 

Twitter: @fadeelahk 

Facebook: Fadeelah Kenny 

LinkedIn: Fadeelah Kenny 

Nov 14, 2023

Majka Burhardt is a professional climber, certified climbing guide, conservation entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker; she is also the founder and executive director of the international conservation and development organization Legado and the author of More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood, released in 2023. 

Majka currently lives with her 7 year old twins and her husband, the internationally certified mountain guide Peter Doucette, in Jackson, New Hampshire.

About the Book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood. 

An intense and emotional epistolary memoir by one of the world's top ice climbers, born at the confluence of motherhood, adventure, career, and marriage. 

As one of the world’s leading female professional rock and ice climbers, Burhardt and her husband led globe-trotting, adventure-seeking lives.  When she learns that she’s pregnant—with twins—Burhardt at first tries to justify her insistence on pursuing extreme risk in the face of responsibility.  But she is  ultimately forced to grieve the avalanche of emotions that accompanies any major life transitions along with the physical changes in her own body.

Based on the letters and journals Burhardt diligently kept over the course of those six years, More takes the reader on an around-the-world journey as Burhardt explores the transformative, identity-shifting experience of motherhood and its irreversible impact on career, identity, marriage, and self.

In the early weeks of her children's lives, Burhardt immerses herself in adoration for her twins and grappling with the tremendous guilt and struggle around having to return to risk-laden work and that ever elusive balance mothers everywhere seek amidst it all. 

As the newness of her twins fades into a permanent reality, Burhardt turns her attention towards her marriage and the collateral damage as she and her husband, Peter, struggle to navigate their new normal. As anger and resentment threaten the foundation of her family, Burhardt courageously looks to her past—and her own mother's tumultuous and confusing history of success, violence, and ragged divorce—to better understand her own way forward.  How will she break free from the legacy of her own childhood to start fresh with her own family? 

Raw, candid, and galvanizing, More is a passionate and poignant testament to the enduring power of love and our lifelong journey to understand ourselves as we strive to always pursue more.


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 to contribute. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Majka
  • Living in Jackson, New Hampshire
  • Her early years growing up
  • Being very sporty and adventurous
  • The toughen up Majka campaign
  • Doing a 45 day canoe expedition in the Arctic
  • Her love for being on trail
  • Mentors and role models
  • Kitty Calhoun - Alpinist & Activist 
  • Lynn Hill 
  • Getting into climbing at at 15/16 years old and how it started gradually 
  • Taking a year off from college to climb full time 
  • Feeling drawn to ice climbing 
  • Wanting to make climbing her job
  • Writing for climbing magazines to make money and to combine her passions
  • Climbing in Ethiopia, Africa
  • Climbing a first ascent - The Sandstone Towers of Tigray, in northern Ethiopia.
  • Book: Vertical Ethiopia published by Shama Publishing, an Ethiopian Publisher.
  • Legado
  • Brining in scientists to climb around the vertical granite terrain on Mount Namuli in Mozambique 
  • Shifting the focus of Legado from being a conservation organisation to one that activates climate justice with indigenous people and local communities throughout the world
  • Working in Mozambique, Kenya and Peru to help create a thriving future 
  • Motherhood and not being sure if being a mum was part of her agenda
  • Meeting her partner, Peter in 2008 in New Hampshire at an Ice Climbing Festival
  • Getting pregnant and finding out it was twins
  • Book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood. 
  • Trying to hold onto her career during pregnancy and motherhood
  • Working with Patagonia 
  • Micro moments of balance 
  • Training and exercise during and after pregnancy
  • The impact of pregnancy on her core
  • Getting outside and adventuring with the children
  • Writing the book and reflecting back over that time
  • Focusing on showing up and being as present as possible
  • Practical advice and tips for new mothers
  • The importance of friends and community 
  • Dividing up domestic labour and having systems
  • Waking up at 5.30am
  • Morning routine 
  • Rest and recovery
  • Mantra and words of empowerment
  • Being a warrior goodness
  • How to connect with Majka
  • Final words of advice to encourage women to go after their own dreams


Social Media


Instagram: @majkaburhardt 

Facebook: @majka.burhardt

Legado Activates the Power of Legacy - So that people and nature can thrive together - now and into the future. 

Buy the book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood

Nov 7, 2023

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, I speak with Lucy Coppack, a finance manager by day and an outdoors enthusiast by weekend. 

Lucy shares her love for the hills, her experiences as a female in the outdoors industry, and her personal challenges including the loss of her mother to breast cancer. 

Lucy talks about her decision to raise money for the East Cheshire Hospice by completing the Peak District 88 Trig Point Challenge, and how the outdoors helps her process her emotions and grief. She also shares advice and tips for girls who want to spend more time in the outdoors.


Subscribe to the Tough Girl Podcast to listen to more inspiring stories of women breaking barriers and pushing boundaries. New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time. To support the mission of increasing female role models in the media, visit


Show notes

  • Who is Lucy
  • Living in Macclesfield, just outside the Peak District, UK
  • Working as a finance manager during the day
  • Her love for the outdoors, the hills and living van life during the weekends
  • Her early years growing up and spending loads of time outdoors
  • Being into climbing, biking and hiking 
  • Her teenage years and spending time in Guides and Explorers 
  • Cheshire Hike 
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award 
  • Being the only girl 
  • Starting to see more women in the outdoors
  • Female instructors and leaders
  • Studying Adventure Sports at Reaseheath College 
  • Getting other basic qualifications for use in the outdoors
  • Struggling after leaving college to find work
  • PGL Summer Camps 
  • Doing ski seasons for 3 years
  • Teaching herself how to snowboard
  • Working long shifts, but having the best time of her life
  • Working her summer seasons in Cornwall, UK
  • Wanting a bit more of a normal job
  • Losing her mum at 3 years old to breast cancer
  • Deciding to raise money for
  • Wanting to do a local challenge to raise money and awareness for East Cheshire Hospice
  • Deciding to do the 'Peak District Trig Point Challenge’ 
  • Wanting to complete the challenge in 88 days
  • Dislocating her knee and needing to go to hospital 
  • The outdoors and how it helps with her mental health
  • Being a mental health first aider 
  • Using hiking to help process her emotions and feeling of grief over losing her mum
  • Van life and the realities 
  • Pooing and peeing 
  • Wanting to hike all 214 Wainwrights 
  • Becoming a Boobette with Coppafeel
  • The importance of checking your boobs on a regular basis
  • The BRCA Gene - BReast CAncer
  • Starting to get breast screening at 25 years old
  • Coming to terms with her risks of getting breast cancer
  • Thinking about doing her Mountain Leader Qualification 
  • Thoughts on working full time in the outdoors industry full time
  • Wanting to work with outdoor brands as an ambassador/influencer 
  • Thinking about the financial side of working in the outdoor industry
  • Advice and tips for girls who want to spend time in the outdoors
  • Starting with local walks to build up your confidence
  • App: All Trails 
  • OS Maps 
  • Check out FB Groups, Meet ups and connect with people on Instagram
  • How to connect with Lucy online
  • Nicky - IG @nicky.walks 
  • Anna Blackwell - @annablackwell 


Social Media

Instagram: @lucy.does.trigs 

Just Giving: 

Nov 2, 2023

Today, I'm excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and preparation for my upcoming adventure on the 3,000km Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. I recorded this episode, hours before I headed down to London to catch my flight to first Korea and then on to Aukland, New Zealand. 

In this podcast, I'll take you through the meticulous planning and preparation that goes into making these epic adventures come to life. From the nitty-gritty details on my to-do list to managing setbacks and equipment challenges.

I share the story behind my sponsorship with ZOLEO and the invaluable benefits I've gained from their products. I'll also break down my approach to planning big adventures. Starting by dividing it down into the mental, physical, logistical, and practical aspects, offering insights that hopefully will add value as you plan your adventures.

Throughout this episode, I'll candidly share the intricacies and hurdles I've encountered and why I take full responsibly for all my decision, even when those decision put me under huge amounts of pressure/stress to deliver. 

So, if you're curious about what goes into planning an adventure as massive as the Te Araroa Trail while running a business and keeping that business going while travelling. Then this podcast is a must-listen!

Join me on my journey as I navigate the world of planning, preparation, and ultimately, adventure. 

Follow my Te Araroa Challenge on Instagram @toughgirlchallenges. I’ll be sharing daily updates on the main page and instagram stories.

A massive thank you to ZOLEO for sponsoring the challenge #ChallengeWithZOLEO 



This episode is sponsored by ZOLEO. #ChallengeWithZOLEO

ZOLEO connects with your phone to provide seamless global messaging that follows you in and out of mobile network coverage — plus added safety features you can count on worldwide including industry-leading SOS alerting features. 24/7 monitoring and 24/7 access to non-emergency medical advice, check-in and weather forecasts. ZOLEO offers unmatched peace of mind for you and for everyone waiting at home. 

Stay connected and safe while doing what you love. 


Show Notes

  • Planning and preparation episode for the Te Araroa hike
  • 10.50pm the day before heading down to London 
  • Setting the scene - Working from my bed ‘aka my office’
  • Why I’m not complaining - I’m just sharing the challenges and loving my life
  • Blessed, lucky and very privileged
  • 9th year of the Tough Girl Podcast in 2025
  • Why I’m grateful and full of gratitude - This is what I dreamed about
  • Do I complain all the time? Vlog 5/17 Camino Frances
  • Sharing the realities of what it is like while on challenges
  • Why can I do so many challenges in a year?
  • Planing, planning, planning and more planning 
  • Pitching for work in 2024/2025
  • Having to look far ahead
  • Planning to go to New Zealand since April/May time
  • Future adventures and challenges need to be planned quite far in advance
  • The work that goes on behind the scenes
  • Working super far ahead to ensure Tough Girl Podcast episodes go live every week
  • Being home in March and then away on the 1st April
  • National Outdoor Expo 23rd - 24th March 
  • Me putting pressure on myself 
  • These are my choices 
  • Wanting to walk the main 7 camino’s by the end of 2025
  • Doing the Camino Primitivo as a training hike 
  • Total Stats from the hike 
  • I should have worked out the average time on feet
  • Planning to do list and using my apple notes while hiking 
  • Very specific to do list and really breaking it down into small manageable points
  • Trying to reduce the overwhelm
  • Setbacks and challenges over the past 23 days
  • Having a detailed daily plan of what needs to be done e.g. 4 days to edit 16 days worth of vlogs into 7 vlogs and for them to be uploaded to Youtube.  
  • Broken laptop and needing to send it off to be repaired - there were tears
  • Editing and getting caught up with the vlogs
  • Getting my laptop back up and running and setting everything up again from scratch 
  • Editing - loving the creative process - the stress comes from not having the time to dedicate to it
  • When good enough is good enough 
  • Why I edit the TGP how I edit them. 
  • Why my priority is my guest and their story. 
  • Having challenging conversations and navigating through that
  • Thinking about how to approach these topics, what’s the best way to support the guests 
  • The challenges of batch interviewing and having multiple interviews per day 
  • Building work being done and not being able to record during the day
  • Earning money and taking a one day job in Manchester with OfftoWork and the opportunity cost of earning money and not having time to do my podcast/editing work
  • Taking responsibility for my choices
  • What it means being a sponsored hike. Not all my costs are going to be covered. 
  • First world problems 
  • How did the ZOLEO sponsorship come about?
  • Starting to use ZOLEO in April 2023
  • The benefits I’ve found 
  • Needing to figure out a way to attach the ZOLEO to my pack when running
  • Reaching out to ZOLEO for sponsorship, putting a pitch together and having a meeting.
  • New Zealand - Land Safety Code 
  • Carrying emergency food - apricots and walnuts 
  • The hiking community and the amazing supportive people out there
  • Sharon Evans @freewheelingkiwi 
  • Breaking down the planning into 3 parts; mental, physical, logistical & practical 
  • Starting to plan during the covid years
  • How I start off my research and using apple notes 
  • Facebook: Te Araroa Trail: Women's Group 
  • Working backwards, dates, timeframe, flights accommodation, getting to the start line and getting home from the finish line,
  • Having a plan B, C, D
  • Discover how to get anywhere 
  • Going from Auckland to the top of the North Island 
  • Not being able to plan for everything 
  • Using for accommodation - cheapest in the best location for me
  • Insurance 
  • Visa for New Zealand - British Citizens don’t need a visa - they get a 6 month visa waiver
  • Having another start date for the South Island 
  • Booking the ferry to the South Island 
  • Why sometimes you can’t just go with the flow
  • Gear - Upgrading my tent from a Terra Nova Laser 2 person tent to MSR 2 person tent (900g) the red palace.
  • Can I get lighter in my gear? Maybe change my backpack next year
  • Clothes and trainers provided by Inov-8
  • Get a 15% discount - using this link 
  • The challenges with the waterproof trousers
  • Food boxes? Why I don’t do them 
  • Facebook groups and why I don’t like them in relation to challenges
  • Wanting to figure out stuff for myself 
  • Is it adding value - no - then step away
  • Mental side of planning for a challenge and why I haven’t done a huge amount this time
  • The tools in my tool kit
  • Why the TA is in my comfort zone (which doesn’t mean it’s not going to be tough or hard)
  • Feeling mentally prepared and ready but thinking I could have done more
  • Am I feeling physical ready for the challenge - yes and no….
  • Being joined by Sara Crosland for a walk
  • Wishing I had longer to train and prepare, but doing the best I could do with the time available. 
  • Working with my PT - Franco @HumalForces 
  • Getting my hiker legs back after 7/10 days and being able to push bigger miles towards the end of the trip
  • My weight and being very lean at the moment (which I like, but need to be aware of especially when taking on a big physical challenge like this)
  • Having a vision board on my laptop and phone (created in
  • Flight on Sunday, Korea for 3/4 days, before flying to Auckland.
  • You can follow along on Instagram @toughgirlchallenges
  • Should I share my ZOLEO phone number and e-mail so people can contact me?
  • Having tomorrow morning to do the final bits of work
  • How to reach out - send me an e-mail or send me a DM via Instagram 
  • Thank you to ZOLEO for sponsoring the podcast and the Te Araroa Challenge. 


Previous Challenge Solo Episodes 

Apr 26, 2016 - Sarah Williams - Shares her journey of getting to the start line of the Marathon des Sables (MDS) & running the toughest footrace on earth!

Sep 19, 2017 - Sarah Williams - Thru hiking the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) in 100 days!

Sep 4, 2018 - Sarah Williams - Planning and Preparation for the Pacific Coast Highway & the Baja Divide!

Dec 25, 2018 - Sarah Williams - Cycling the Pacific Coast Highway & Baja Divide


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 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


Instagram: @marifunabashi


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 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


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 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



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 -


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 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


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 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


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 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


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


Sep 26, 2023

Today, we delve into the inspiring story of Dr. Hannah Lock, 33, a British doctor and mountaineer living on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, Wales. With a deep passion for medicine and a love for the mountains, Dr. Lock has embarked on thrilling adventures, led expeditions, and shared her invaluable knowledge of mountain medicine. Join us as we explore her remarkable journey.

Raised near the Peak District, Dr. Lock's childhood was filled with outdoor adventures. From hill walking to rock climbing and skiing, she developed a deep connection to the natural world. A pivotal moment in the French Alps introduced her to Alpine mountaineering, sparking a lifelong love for high-altitude environments. Her subsequent expeditions took her across the globe, from the Brazilian Amazon to the Bolivian Andes and the Swiss Alps.

Dr. Lock found her true passion in Emergency Medicine. Today, she skilfully balances her work in the ER with mountain medicine teaching and expedition support. She provides medical support for ultra marathon trail events in the UK and has expanded her reach to cover mountain marathons in the Nepal Himalaya. Her true calling lies in supporting groups on remote, high-altitude expeditions, empowering them to push their limits while ensuring their safety.

Dr. Hannah Lock's journey as a British doctor and mountaineer exemplifies the power of pursuing one's passions and bridging different worlds. Driven by her love for medicine and the outdoors, Dr. Lock continues to empower others through her invaluable knowledge of mountain medicine.

Her story inspires us to merge our passions, conquer new heights, and make a positive impact in our chosen fields.


🎙️ 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 to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Hannah
  • Working as a portfolio Doctor
  • Being based in Bangor, North Wales
  • Growing up in Macclesfield on the border of the Peak District
  • Spending lots of time in the outdoors as a child
  • Fitness and spending time in the outdoors while studying at university
  • Doing Duke of Edinburgh as a teenager and how it inspired her love of the outdoors 
  • Doing a World Challenge Expedition to Bolivia 
  • Her first taste of big mountains and travelling in South America
  • Going to Leeds University and joining the hiking club 
  • Combining her passions together
  • Learning more about becoming an Expedition Doctor 
  • Doing a Chemistry Degree first 
  • Going and finding opportunities 
  • Going to medical school at University of Warwick 
  • Gaining mountain skills via Mountain Leader Qualification 
  • Wilderness Medicine Society
  • Professor Chris Imray - (Vascular & Renal Transplant Surgeon based in Coventry, climbed the 7 Summits, & world expert in frostbite) 
  • Dong a Diploma in Mountain Medicine 
  • Starting off on UK Event Work - supporting runners on ultra marathons and multi day ultra marathons
  • Supporting runners in Nepal and gaining more experience 
  • Risk assessment planning
  • Working within your competency level - but also being competent to deal with challenges
  • Her first solo trip as a medic on Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) and the challenges of altitude 
  • Heading to Northern India - Summiting Stok Kangri (6,154 m) - highest trekkable summit in India
  • Starting to teach Mountain Medicine 
  • Realities and Risks 
  • ER (Emergency Room (USA)) -  ED (Emergency Department (UK))
  • Views on life and risk taking
  • Why you should tell people you love them
  • Working in intensive care
  • Deciding to work part time and how her schedule looks
  • Risks in the mountains and how it’s changed over the years
  • Being a climber who is scared of heights 
  • Joining Ogwen Mountain Rescue team 
  • Dream mountains & wanting to climb a 6,000m peak
  • Introduction to “Humans at High Altitude” 
  • CPD Credits 
  • How to connect with Hannah on the socials
  • Working on a 2nd course - which will be specific to women mountaineers
  • Final words of advice and wisdom
  • Trying to fit her work life around the mountains 


Social Media


Altitude Course: 

Instagram: @hannah_lock_exped_doc


Sep 21, 2023

In this episode of  the Tough Girl Podcast, we talk with 26-year-old Claire Wyatt, who is currently cycling 16,000km around Australia. Claire is passionate about solo bicycle touring and sharing stories of kindness from around the world. She tells us about her big adventure in Australia, her passion for cycle touring over the past four years, and her early years growing up as one of five children.

After studying criminology at Loughborough University, Claire moved to Cambodia to work for a travel company. It was there that she got into cycling in her 20s and eventually went on her first cycle tour around Cambodia for three weeks. She tells us about the lessons she learned on that trip and how it inspired her to continue exploring the world on two wheels.

Claire also shares with us the challenges of cycle touring, from budgeting to communication and staying safe on the road. She tells us about the magical moments she's experienced while out on the road and the kindness of strangers she's encountered along the way.

Throughout the episode, Claire provides practical advice for women who want to travel by bike, including how to plan a trip, what equipment to invest in, and how to communicate with locals. She also shares the story of how she was inspired by Dervla Murphy, an Irish travel writer who cycled from Ireland to India in the 1960s.

If you're interested in following Claire's journey, you can check out her blog and follow her on Instagram at @exploringbybicycle. And don't forget to hit the subscribe button for new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast every Tuesday at 7am UK time. You can also support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media by visiting Thank you for listening!


Show notes

  • 26 years old
  • Travelling by bike
  • Her big adventure in Australia 
  • Her passion for cycle touring over the past 4 years
  • Her early years growing up and being 1 of 5 children
  • Getting into cycling in her 20s after university 
  • Having a twin sister
  • Studying criminology at Loughborough University 
  • Moving to Cambodia to work for a travel company
  • Her decision making process
  • Taking redundancy
  • Going on her first cycle tour around Cambodia for 3 weeks
  • Figuring it out on the first trip
  • The magic letter and how it helped her communicate with local people
  • Staying with local family and cheap guest houses
  • Heading home during COVID 
  • Setting up a small project called Mind over Miles 
  • Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) to raise funds for the Adventure Therapy Charity 
  • The lessons from cycling LEJOG and why it was a good experience
  • The bike - Surly Ogre 
  • Investing in new equipment 
  • Power while on the road
  • Carrying her laptop and working while on the road
  • Money and budget while on the road
  • Cycling 16,000km around Australia 
  • Starting in Tasmania and ending in Perth
  • Planning to cycle from Cambodia back to the UK
  • The challenges of cycle touring 
  • Magical moments while out on the road
  • Using Warmshowers for accommodation 
  • The kindness of strangers
  • The Great Queensland Rail Adventure 
  • Learning mechanics for the bike 
  • Communicating with family and using a Zoleo
  • Communicating via radio (Channel 40 in Australia) with the truck drivers
  • Advice for women who want to travel by bike
  • Being inspired by Dervla Murphy 
  • Book: Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy 
  • How to connect with Claire
  • Her blog


Social Media


Instagram: @exploringbybicycle 


Sep 19, 2023

In her own words:

“Hi! I'm Kalyani, a freelance photographer, biologist and wildlife filmmaker, born and raised in the city of Leicester, what felt like miles away from the countryside and the outdoors. 

With no role-models or influences in my life to steer me to the natural world, it's a mystery to my whole family how I ended up loving the outdoors and everything in it, but somehow I did. 

My love for nature fuelled me to pursue a BSc at the Royal Veterinary College where I studied a whole range of aspects of animal biology; from anatomy and physiology to behaviour and evolution. My research into kangaroo biomechanics and limb bone scaling was part of a paper published in the Royal Society Open Science in 2018. I then completed my MSc at Imperial College London, where I fell in love with science communication and story telling.

I first picked up a camera at 19 years old when my parents sent me to live in an ashram for 6 months (of course, as a teenager, I wasn't too thrilled at the prospect initially) and that's how I accidentally got into, and got hooked on, photography. I am self-taught and now specialise in travel and wildlife photography.

I love exploring the world, often travelling solo, and learning about different cultures beyond stereotypes. Having Indian heritage, I have a deep understanding of the need to look beyond imperialist and colonialist generalisations and I am able to truly connect with people around the world.

As a biologist, there's something so incredibly special about seeing the most breathtaking animals in their natural habitat and experiencing the sheer magnitude and magic of the world around us.

I have been fortunate enough to have been to the Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of people on Earth, the forests of Finland to photograph brown bears and the depths of the South African ocean, surrounded by thousands of hammerhead sharks.

My photography work has been featured by UNICEF and the BBC and I have had the opportunity to have worked for Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Light for the World. I have also had footage featured on BBC AutumnWatch and one of my photographs was selected for the long list of the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I work full time as a freelancer on science and wildlife documentaries, where I am currently working as a researcher for the BBC's Natural History Unit on a landmark natural history series for National Geographic.”


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 Kalyani
  • Her love for the outdoors and nature
  • Wanting to be a vet when she was younger
  • Being sent to India by her parents
  • Accidentally getting into photography
  • What did her daily life look like in the Ashram
  • The moment when it all came together for her and started to enjoy taking photos
  • Going back home and doing a 3-year science degree
  • Still unsure what she wanted to do
  • Getting her Master's at Imperial Science Media Production
  • Working in a restaurant
  • How did she get her first job in The Great British Bake Off
  • Starting out as a runner and what she does
  • Taking every opportunity that is given to her
  • How does she cope with the stress
  • Her trips to other countries and what was it like for her
  • Her main job as a wildlife filmmaker
  • Working on a big series for National Geographic
  • Interesting place in Africa called Mauritania
  • Doing a shoot for three and a half weeks with a small crew
  • Why she's less tired than many others and her exhaustion-coping advice
  • Biggest challenges she's faced and had to deal with
  • Kalyani's trip to Iceland and why it was one of the best wildlife moments for her
  • Taking a trip to Finland for her birthday
  • Diving in the South African ocean with the hammerhead sharks
  • Climate change and figuring out shoot dates
  • The reality of nature
  • Where to find more information about Kalyani
  • Top tips and advice


Social Media


Instagram: @kalyanilodhia 

Twitter: @kalyanilodhia


Sep 12, 2023

Alice is passionate about solo female travel, adventure and eco-tourism. A 7x telly award winning host, filmmaker, writer, and photographer, Alice has travelled to some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world. 

Alice  has documented her solo adventures on her popular youtube channel “Alice Ford Adventures”. Alice creates videos on adventure travel, National Parks, hiking, outdoor exploration, sustainable living and wildlife.

 “I'm an adventure filmmaker, travel addict and a Stuntwoman, but most of all a traveler, explorer and lover of our earth.  I love to get outdoors and hike in the mountains, explore off the beaten path destinations and get up close with wildlife.”

Alice's first solo travel experience in her late 20s was a life-changing one. Travelling to Europe, she was inspired to see more of the world and to do more adventuring by herself. Despite concerns and fears, Alice managed to overcome them by being in contact with local people and having an agenda when she travels. Alice wants to encourage more women to get out and explore the world.

One of Alice's most memorable experiences was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on a safari in Tanzania. The challenges of hiking at high altitude were mitigated by the support and encouragement of other women.

Alice Ford is truly an inspiration for all those who love adventure, nature, and eco-tourism.


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, which are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay up-to-date and inspired by the incredible stories of female role models from around the world. 

If you believe in the importance of increasing female representation especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges in the media, please consider supporting our mission by visiting Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Alice Ford
  • Being a solo female traveller who loves adventure
  • Being passionate about eco-tourism and exploring indigenous cultures 
  • Wanting to teach people about the world, nature, ecology and wildlife
  • Wanting to empower other women to get out and explore
  • Where her passion for adventure came from 
  • Growing up in the woods in New Hampshire, USA
  • Starting out as business major before changing her major to community development  
  • Transferring college and changing to sociology and public administration 
  • Getting a Masters in Environmental Management 
  • Being athletic at college and doing; track & field, spring board diving and gymnastics
  • Her first big solo travel experience in her late 20s
  • Travelling to Europe and how it changed her life 
  • Being inspired to see more of the world and wanting to do more adventuring by herself
  • Concerns and fears before travelling solo
  • Tips for managing fears and concerns 
  • Being in contact with local people 
  • Having an agenda when she travels
  • Spending time in Tanzania
  • Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on a safari
  • The challenges of hiking at high altitude
  • Being supported and encouraged by other women
  • Training for Kilimanjaro
  • Hiking with an altitude mask on 
  • Eco-tourism and climbing mountains
  • Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) a not-for-profit organisation, is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) 
  • Hiring guides in other countries and wanting to support local communities 
  • How can people fly ethically?
  • The challenges of travelling in a green way in America
  • Buying carbon offsets 
  • Exploring the National Parks in America 
  • Working as a stuntwoman on movies and TV shows
  • Training in marital arts and learning how to do film fighting
  • Keep fit and healthy 
  • Women in the stunt and film industry and how it’s changed over the past decade
  • Solo female travel, eco tourism and indigenous communities 
  • Staying with a Sami Family (reindeer herders) in Norway 
  • Putting grass in boots to keep your feet warm
  • Future travel plans for 2023 - Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon, The Vancouver Island West Coast Trail, GR20 in Corsica, The Great Western walk in Australia and The Trans Bhutan Trail, plus hikes in New Zealand and South America
  • How to connect with Alice 
  • Final words of advice to encourage more women to go travelling 
  • Vision boards 


Social Media


Instagram: @alicesadventuresonearth 

Twitter: @alicelford 

Youtube: @AliceFordAdventures  


Sep 10, 2023

Hey hey, it's Sarah Williams, your host from the Tough Girl Podcast, and today we're diving into something a bit different. 

In this special solo episode, I'll take you through my personal journey, looking back on the end of 2022 to the adventures and challenges of 2023, and my exciting plans ahead.

I'll share highlights like my journey to the Outer Hebrides, health changes, and unexpected twists like catching COVID while in Australia. Plus, insights into projects like Project 7, and "7 Women - 7 Challenges”.

Discover how I navigated an empty diary, contemplated future adventures, and decided on my next big challenge—the Camino de Santiago. You'll also hear about changes in the vlogging format and deciding between hiking and fastpacking the PCT. 

Plus, insights into how I choose my adventures, my favourite one so far, and the vision board guiding my future goals.

Join me on this adventure and get inspired to set your own goals and chase your dreams. 

Thanks for being part of the Tough Girl Podcast community, and don't hesitate to share your thoughts, questions, and comments!


🎙️ 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 to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes


Social Media


Instagram: @toughgirlchallenges

Twitter: @_TOUGH_GIRL


YouTube: @toughgirlchallenges


Take a listen to the previous solo reflections episodes 

4th Aug 2022 - Sarah Williams - Reflects on the end of 2021 and the start of 2022.

4th Aug 2021 - Sarah Williams - Reflects on the end of 2020 and the start of 2021

7th Aug 2020 - Sarah Williams - Reflections on 2019 & and the start of 2020. 

4th Aug 2019 - Reflections on 2018 and the start of 2019. Plus plans for Tough Girl Challenges. 

30th Dec 2017 - Reflecting on 2017 and the plans for 2018 

30th Dec 2016 - Reflections for 2016 & Plans for 2017  


Sep 5, 2023

Meet Anna Stishova, an adventurous paddler hailing from Russia, whose paddling journey began in the UK in 2011. With a strong initial focus on white water kayaking, Anna's path took an unexpected turn towards flat water marathon racing due to various challenges she encountered along the way. As a dedicated paddler, Anna not only pursued her own goals but also became a staunch advocate for inclusivity in the sport. Let's delve into Anna's inspiring story of determination and community impact.

Overcoming Obstacles and Chasing Dreams:

In 2015, Anna faced a significant setback when an elbow injury from a bike accident forced her to put her athletic pursuits on hold for six months. However, Anna's indomitable spirit remained unwavering. In 2016, she earned her Coaching Paddlesports qualification and generously volunteered at the Leaside Trust in London, sharing her knowledge and passion for the sport.

Anna's ultimate aspiration was to complete the formidable Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, a challenging 125-mile-long journey often referred to as the "Kayaker's Everest." Undeterred, she participated in this demanding race twice, first in 2017 and then in 2018, paddling in a K1 kayak. Although her first attempt resulted in disqualification on Day 3 due to a minor time delay, her second endeavour faced unexpected adversities as adverse weather and treacherous water conditions forced the entire race to halt on Day 2.

During her time at Leaside, Anna crossed paths with Sirin Arif Gisel, a young Turkish girl who had relocated to the UK from Romania. Recognising Sirin's potential, Anna invited her to be her Junior-Veteran kayak crew for the 2019 DW race. Their collaboration paid off handsomely as they successfully completed the race, becoming the first female Muslim K2 crew to conquer the DW challenge. With Anna's achievement, she became the first hijabi Muslim woman, to finish the race.

Life's Transformations and Continued Resilience:

In 2019, Anna tied the knot shortly before the DW race and subsequently moved to Bolton. The following year, she experienced the joys of motherhood, along with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Anna herself contracted the virus in April 2020 and continues to deal with its lingering effects. 

Furthermore, the combination of a demanding pregnancy, labor, and the pandemic led to a decline in her fitness levels. However, Anna discovered solace and rejuvenation by joining the Bolton Canoe Club toward the end of that challenging year. Her passion for paddling even inspired her stepchildren to explore the sport.

Advocacy and Recognition:

Anna's dedication and remarkable achievements within the paddling community did not go unnoticed. In 2021, she was honoured to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador for British Canoeing, serving as a role model and advocate for female participation in the sport. She also joined the Inclusion Advisory Group for British Canoeing, actively contributing to the development of the organisation's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) strategy for the years 2022 to 2026.

Looking ahead, Anna continues to be a shining example of perseverance, determination, and the power of inclusivity in the world of paddlesports. Her journey serves as an inspiration to all those who dare to chase their dreams, overcome obstacles, and make a lasting impact on their communities.


Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast! Tune in every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay updated and ensure you never miss a show.

If you believe in the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media, especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. You can show your support by visiting

Thank you for joining me on this journey.


Show notes

  • Who is Anna
  • Moving to the UK in 2003 at 20 years old
  • Her love for paddlesports
  • Her childhood and growing up in Russia 
  • Getting introduced to the outdoors
  • Festivals and kayaking in Siberia
  • Wanting to start over in the UK
  • Her first big rafting trip at 18
  • Not knowing where to paddle in the UK
  • Converting to Islam & getting married 
  • Losing herself and going through a hard time
  • Visiting her parents in 2011 and going on a 21 day kayaking trip with friends in Siberia 
  • Wolves & bears!
  • Getting back into paddling again once back in the UK
  • Finding a local canoe club
  • How things have changed over the past 10 years
  • Hiring a coach 
  • Struggling with barriers in white water rafting and needing to make a pivot
  • Getting into flat water marathon racing
  • Being better suited to endurance 
  • Kayaking marathons
  • Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race 
  • Persevering with the race and going back 3x
  • Deciding to enter as a Junior (aged between 15-19 years old) & Veteran Team 
  • Finding her team mate, Sirin Arif Gisel
  • Dealing with the death of a competitor during the end of the race
  • The lessons and learning from completing the race
  • The support from the flatwater community 
  • The mental challenges while being out on the river
  • Being a role model
  • Feeling judged by the non paddling muslin community
  • Using water sports as a way to have time to herself 
  • Motherhood and continuing with paddlesports
  • Not being able to get out and paddle during the lockdowns
  • Getting back into paddlesport 
  • Dealing with a back injury and not being able to get back into a kayak
  • Taking up Stand Up Paddle boarding 
  • Being a She Paddles Ambassador (2021-2022) 
  • Being a member of the Inclusion Advisory Group for British Canoeing 
  • How to connect with Anna on Instagram & Facebook
  • Follow #ShePaddles hashtag on Instagram
  • Advice for women who want to try new things 


Social Media

Instagram: @KayakingHijabi 

Facebook: @KayakingHijabi 



Sep 3, 2023

Em will be coming along to this year's festival with Molly, her super cute Mongolian street dog, Grettle, her awesome, intrepid scooter AND Arty Bakes, her seriously tasty looking catering business!

If you've not come across Em before then you're in for a treat - quite literally...Em's a baker by day, an artist by nature and an avid traveller at every other opportunity! 

Having bought her first and only bike in 2013; a mint green 125cc vespa, otherwise known as Grettle, she has driven around Europe three times and tackled the Indian Himalayas on several occasions! 

But even better than that, she has ridden her Vespa from the UK to Mongolia and back again, carrying with her a street dog named Molly, who she rescued in the far East of Mongolia and brought home as her pillion passenger! The journey took her two and a half years and she crossed 32 countries racking up 30,000 km en-route!

***This episode was recorded live at the Armchair Adventure Festival 27th - 30th July 2023. Buy tickets now for #AAF24 - THE UK'S MOST ADVENTUROUS FESTIVAL. Mt Edgcumbe, Cornwall, 25-28th July 2024. Use TG10 to get a 10% discount on tickets. ***


Show Notes

  • Who is Emma
  • What Emma does
  • Starting on a journey at 24 from the UK to Mongolia
  • Finding and adopting Molly
  • Being an artist
  • The dream of an overland trip
  • Setting off as a learner with no tools and very little money
  • Doing a TEFL course and teaching English to earn money
  • Traveling the Silk Road
  • Being warned by everyone she knows not to trust anyone
  • Meeting amazing people despite the language barrier
  • Molly the dog and the route she took to get to Mongolia
  • Coming to a point where she doesn't know what to do with herself
  • Starting to bake cookies for fun
  • Advice for people who are going through a wobble
  • Why did she stop doing what she loved
  • Future journeys Emma would like to go on
  • What was it like going to Afghanistan as a single woman
  • How did she build up her knowledge of mechanics
  • Having a bad crash in Istanbul
  • The aftermath of the accident
  • Her bike Gretel and the story behind the name
  • Getting back on the bike
  • What sort of food does Emma eat
  • How does she keep her blog updated throughout her journey
  • Where would she go back to and why
  • Dealing with extreme cold
  • Final words of advice


Social Media 



Sep 2, 2023

Guliafshan Tariq is a trailblazer who has made history in the world of biking and adventure travel. Born and raised in Pakistan, Guliafshan has always been fascinated by the world beyond her doorstep. Despite facing numerous obstacles and challenges, she has pursued her passion for exploration with unwavering determination and courage.

Guliafshan became the first Pakistani female biker girl to break gender stereotypes and venture into areas that were previously considered off-limits due to Taliban activity. With almost no support from her family or community, she taught herself how to ride a motorcycle and set out on a journey to discover her country. Despite facing many hurdles along the way, including dangerous river crossings and treacherous mountain paths, her passion for travel kept her focused and alive.

In addition to exploring Pakistan, Guliafshan has also recorded her journey in the form of videos, which she shares with the world. Her efforts have earned her three consecutive national records, including cycling to Khunjerab, the highest border in the world, from Islamabad in 2015, a 20-day motorbike ride through the whole KPK Province in 2016, and a solo paragliding jump at a height of 7800 ft in Chitral in 2016.

Guliafshan's achievements have not gone unnoticed, and she has been recognized by both the Pakistani government and the international community. In 2017, she received a gold medal from the Government of Pakistan and the Nazariya Pakistan Council for her lifetime achievements from AQ Khan. She has also hosted a travel show on BBC and appeared as a motivational speaker on TedX.

By profession, Guliafshan is a computer engineer, but her passion for adventure travel and biking has taken her far beyond her chosen field. Her ultimate goal is to become the first Muslim Pakistani woman to cover the world on her motorbike. Through her daring exploits and unwavering determination, Guliafshan has broken down barriers and inspired countless people around the world to pursue their dreams, no matter how challenging they may seem.

***This episode was recorded live at the Armchair Adventure Festival 27th - 30th July 2023. Buy tickets now for #AAF24 - THE UK'S MOST ADVENTUROUS FESTIVAL. Mt Edgcumbe, Cornwall, 25-28th July 2024. Use TG10 to get a 10% discount on tickets. ***


Show notes

  • Who is Gul
  • Sharing her early childhood years
  • What it was like growing up in Pakistan as a female
  • Being told just to stay inside their house
  • Getting more education than the rest of Pakistani girls
  • How she was encouraged to pursue a career in computer engineering
  • Failing her medical exam intentionally to get into computer engineering
  • Losing his father in 2011
  • Her dream to spend one whole night outside the house with her friends
  • Earning and saving money to leave home for her first trip
  • Going on her first cycling adventure with one other friend
  • How her family reacted to her adventure
  • Her mum trying to stop her
  • Becoming an inspiration to a lot of women from Pakistan who wants to follow her path
  • Progressing from bike to motorbike
  • Doing her first longest trip on a motorbike
  • What was the journey like
  • Meeting her future husband, a filmmaker
  • Resigning from her job and focusing on a business with her husband
  • Road to equality with McDonald's
  • Meeting women on the road and one that touched her
  • Visiting one of the most dangerous places in Pakistan - Balochistan
  • The challenge of getting a good bike in Pakistan, and how she dealt with it
  • Learning how to repair her bike and how to fix it
  • Being invited to a motorbiking show in London and meeting a lot of women
  • Moving to the UK in 2021 and being pregnant with her first baby
  • Stopping riding her bike because of her health issues
  • How her husband pushed her to come out of her home and ride her bike
  • Her dream to explore India and other parts of Europe and America
  • Advice for women to learn how to ride a bike
  • Final words of wisdom


Social Media

Instagram @guliafshan_tariq 

Facebook @guliafshantariq 

Sep 1, 2023

Born and raised in England. Vanessa grew up in the great outdoors, getting muddy with escapism always being through sports. Whether that’s kite surfing, snowboarding or mountain biking, it’s always been about getting physical. 

However, life took a turn in 2014 when Vanessa was hit by a red-light-jumping car while cycling. Since that day she’s made it her goal to make the most out of life.

With a 6.5 year recovery seeing 7 surgeries and two reconstructed body parts, it’s been a roller coaster for Vanessa, but through this she discovered motorcycles. Starting with cruising but rapidly ramping up to trials, adv and now even full hard enduro as her body healed. Bikes have swiftly become Vanessa favourite form of adventure; the open road, the power, the ability to simply disappear into the unknown and travel the world.

Vanessa is known for sharing her journey with the world, but not just the happy days you expect on social media. She’s real and honest, showing the rough and the tough days too

Vanessa’s love for two wheels has seen her riding all over the world in recent years, including Bolivia, Ukraine, Sardinia, Iceland and many more.

*** This episode was recorded live at the Armchair Adventure Festival 27th - 30th July 2023. Buy tickets now for #AAF24 - THE UK'S MOST ADVENTUROUS FESTIVAL. Mt Edgcumbe, Cornwall, 25-28th July 2024, Use TG10 to get a 10% discount on tickets. ***


Show notes

  • Who is Vanessa?
  • Vanessa’s early sports memories
  • Growing up in a very active childhood
  • Living on a remote island in Bahamas in her early 20s
  • Working as a marketing and PR for marine biology research
  • Going out doing shark research
  • Getting her first motorbike
  • Getting hit by a car while cycling
  • 7-year recovery from the accident
  • Being diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders
  • Having a hard time dealing with mental health recovery
  • What Vanessa has learned from being in recovery and how it has given her a new perspective in life
  • Starting to post pictures of herself from before the accident
  • Wanting to be something real on social media
  • Quitting her full-time job
  • Why sharing her story helps her overcome the pain
  • Talking about Tunisia desert challenge
  • Getting stranded in dunes
  • Mindfulness and how it helped her manage her pain
  • Having the biggest panic attack of her life
  • Being in 46-degree heat with no shade for the day
  • The helicopter that saved her life
  • Advice for women who want to get into the sport
  • Nutrition and fitness; Fitness vs. Skill
  • What is the hardest thing to go through
  • The next big race, the Africa Eco Race
  • Working with a charity, Tools for Life
  • Doing free workshops in any school in the UK
  • Vanessa's words of wisdom


Social Media


Instagram @thegirlonabike

Facebook @thegirlonabike

YouTube @TheGirlOnABike

TikTok @thegirlonabike


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 



1 « Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 29