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Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - www.toughgirlchallenges.com and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: Page 2
Oct 5, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

None 

 
Oct 3, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Website: stephjagger.com  

Instagram: @stephjagger 

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

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

 

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast 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

Website: www.drhannahlock.co.uk

Altitude Course: humans-at-high-altitude.teachable.com/p/course1 

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast. 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

Blog: https://wanderingwyatt135121267.wordpress.com/ 

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast 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

Website: www.kalyanilodhia.com

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast. 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

Website: alicesadventuresonearth.com 

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!

***

Show notes

 

Social Media

Website: www.toughgirlchallenges.com

Instagram: @toughgirlchallenges

Twitter: @_TOUGH_GIRL

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ToughGirlChallenges

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast

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.  www.armchairadventurefestival.com. ***

 

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 

Website www.emmatrenchard.com 

 

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.  www.armchairadventurefestival.com. ***

 

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. www.armchairadventurefestival.com. ***

 

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

Website www.thegirlonabike.com

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast. 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

Website: www.lisaclimbs.com

www.alpineathletics.net

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast 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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast 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

Website www.anjanakhatwa.com 

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 www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast 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

Website: cathbishop.com 

Instagram: @cath_bishop 

Twitter: @thecathbishop

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

 

 

Aug 4, 2023

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Website: www.alexandraallred.com 

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

 

 

Aug 4, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Website: www.rogeemakenny.com 

Instagram: @rogeema 

 

 

Aug 4, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

What does it mean to “decolonize” something? 

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

Cory and her friends “Decolonized Thru Paddling” by: 


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

 

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

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

 

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Women on the Water Website: www.women-on-the-water22.com

Instagram: @corymaria13 

 

 

Aug 4, 2023

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

 

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

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

 

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Website: www.resiliencework.co.uk

Instagram: @resilienceatwork

Facebook: @resiliencework

Podcast: The Everyday Adventure Podcast

TEDx Moseley: The Life Changing Power of Everyday Adventures

 

Aug 1, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

Show notes

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

 

Social Media

Website: www.walkingthethingreenline.com 

Instagram: @walkingthethingreenline 

Facebook: @walkingthethingreenline 

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

Website: thingreenline.org.au 

 

 

Jul 27, 2023

Anna is an Outdoor Instructor working for Land and Wave in Dorset. She loves being on the water, or in the woods, every day sharing her love of adventure with everyone she instructs. 

Anna has always loved being outdoors and wanted to find a job that would allow her to enjoy that all year round. From school, she followed a conventional path to university, and became a Civil Engineer working in construction.

Recently she decided to take the leap and turn her passion into a job. It was quite a drastic shift from Engineer in London, to Outdoor Instructor in Dorset, but one she is loving. 

She was able to change career so quickly following an intensive Outdoor Instructor Training Course in the winter, where she gained qualifications needed for the job, and is now gaining experience every day.

***

Get ready for an exciting month of July on the Tough Girl Podcast, as we shine a spotlight on women working in the outdoors. Sponsored by Land & Wave - join us as we delve into their stories, gain insights, and discover valuable tips from their incredible experiences. 

Don't miss out on these empowering episodes released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - hit the subscribe button and be part of the adventure!

***

Show notes

  • Anna working as a newly qualified Outdoor Instructor 
  • Working for Land & Wave
  • Living in an 8 person tent on site at Land & Wave (excuse the noise from the wind!)
  • Growing up near Birmingham 
  • Being a member of Scouts 
  • Doing Duke of Edinburgh Award 
  • Joining the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) 
  • Taking a gap year after university and going travelling around South East Asia for 4 months 
  • Moving to London to work in construction 
  • Thinking about making a career change and wanting to work outdoors
  • Not knowing what she wanted to do
  • Making the decision to change careers and what that looked like
  • Googling - Outdoor Instructor Training (OIT) Courses 
  • Picking Land & Wave 
  • The challenges of the course and the realities of spending 15 weeks training in winter
  • Dealing with the cold weather 
  • Enjoying spending time on the water and learning new skills (Canoeing, SUP & Kayaking)
  • Loving the variety of the work
  • What happened after the 15 week course
  • Challenges of working in the outdoor industry
  • Sharing her love of the outdoors with clients
  • What it’s like being a woman in the industry
  • Learning new skills and why it take time to build experience 
  • Outdoor Instructor Apprenticeships 
  • Having a long term career plan?
  • Thinking through different options 
  • Why age doesn’t matter
  • Working towards her own personal goals training to become a Paddlesports Leader 
  • Working towards her Mountain Leader (ML) Qualification 
  • Doing her ML training with Louise Tully
  • The struggle with getting Quality Mountain Days (QMD) in while living in Dorset
  • Connecting with other women in the outdoors who are also doing their qualifications 
  • Magical moments 
  • Helping people to build self confidence
  • Why the first step is always the hardest
  • Remembering what it is you love about your job and why it’s important to enjoy the journey and appreciate each stage your at. 

 

Social Media

Website: www.landandwave.co.uk

Instagram: @landandwave

Facebook: @landandwave

Youtube: www.youtube.com/@landwave9920

 
Jul 25, 2023

Sian Sykes was born on the edge of Snowdonia and enjoyed growing up in beautiful North Wales. During her adult life, she used to work in Creative Media in London as a Project Director. However after working 15 years and working 18 hour days in the industry, she wanted a better balance in life, to reconnect with nature and to be closer to the sea and mountains. 

That's when she re changed her focus in life and moved back home, to do what she loves doing. Now she guides people stand up paddle boarding in beautiful places.

Since working in the city, Sian has travelled the world, building up vast experience of leading expeditions to Nepal, Mongolia, India, China, Peru, Morocco and the Alps.

Sian loves a SUP challenge! Sian has completed a number of record breaking SUP challenges. She was part of the first team to cross England on a paddle board, she was then the first person to ever SUP solo the 3 British lakes, Llyn Tegid, Windermere Lake and Loch Awe in 3 days, all unsupported. Sian was also the first person to circumnavigate Anglesey on a SUP which took her 5 days to complete the 120km journey in very challenging sea state conditions.

Sian is a real activist, Sian’s recent achievement was a big expedition with a real purpose by highlighting the epidemic we face with disposable single use plastics. She was the first person to SUP circumnavigate Wales (solo and unsupported), a 1000km journey along canals, rivers and sea. She raised money for charity, collecting plastic along the way, inspiring others to make a pledge against plastics and educational talks.

Sian enjoys linking her love for the water and mountains through SUP. Her love for the outdoors is infectious, and she’s inspired people of all ages and from all walks of life to get out and SUP.

***

Get ready for an exciting month of July on the Tough Girl Podcast, as we shine a spotlight on women working in the outdoors. Sponsored by Land & Wave - join us as we delve into their stories, gain insights, and discover valuable tips from their incredible experiences. 

Don't miss out on these empowering episodes released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - hit the subscribe button and be part of the adventure!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Sian
  • Growing up and being introduced to the great outdoors by her mother at 3 weeks old
  • Her love for the outdoors 
  • Her teenage years 
  • Going to university and how she changed 
  • Chasing wealth and status
  • Working in Advertising in Manchester and London 
  • Making a career change after 15 years 
  • Living for work
  • Feeling detached from who she actually was
  • Not feeling fulfilled anymore
  • Wanting to make a U turn 
  • Getting qualification in the outdoors
  • 6 months working in London and 6 months working in the outdoors
  • Separating from her ex-husband 
  • Discovering paddleboarding by chance and loving it
  • Crossing England from Bristol to Reading on a paddle board
  • Gaining experiences and choosing the qualifications
  • The community in Llanberis, Wales 
  • Building up contacts and connections
  • Volunteering in outdoor centres and taking groups on Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Needing to prove herself 
  • Going after her International Mountain Leader Award which took 3 years to achieve
  • Talking about the financial concerns of making a career change
  • Making the transition into the outdoor industry
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding Adventures and Expeditions
  • SUP around Anglesey 
  • Plastic Pollution in coastal areas
  • Being warned about adventure blues 
  • Starting up her own business and becoming freelance 
  • Finding your passion
  • Surfers Against Sewage - We are Ocean Activists. We are the voice of the ocean. Campaigning for a thriving ocean, thriving people.
  • Anglesey becoming the first county to become plastic free
  • Water Skills Academy (WSA) 
  • WSA - SUP Expedition Guide 
  • Advice for women who want to get more qualifications in the outdoor industry
  • How to connect with Sian
  • Final words of advice for other women who want a career in the outdoors

 

Social Media

Website: www.siansykes.com 

Instagram: @sian_sykes 

Youtube: www.youtube.com/@psychedpaddleboarding 

 

 

Jul 20, 2023

In today's fast-paced world, many of us dream of breaking free from the shackles of the corporate world and embracing a life filled with adventure, purpose, and personal fulfilment. Meet Tatty Pettigrew, a courageous woman who made that dream a reality. With an unwavering spirit and a thirst for spending time outdoors, Tatty escaped the confines of her corporate career in London and embarked on a remarkable journey that combines people, education, adventure, and the great outdoors.

Growing up, Tatty was sporty but never considered herself particularly outdoorsy. It was during her teenage years that she discovered the transformative power of outdoor adventures while participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE). This experience ignited a spark within her, and she became an advocate for the program, recognising its ability to shape young minds and in-still a love for the outdoors.

Her journey into the outdoor world began with thorough research and introspection. Tatty wanted to ensure she was making the right decision, and her meticulous nature led her to spend two years weighing her options and considering the potential risks and rewards. Supported and encouraged by her family, she finally found her path.

Committing to the Outdoor Instructor Training Course offered by Land & Wave. This intensive 15-week residential program immersed her in the world of outdoor instruction. From coasteering to climbing, she pushed herself outside her comfort zone, developing not only her skills but also her self-confidence.

Building a career in the outdoors wasn't without its challenges, but Tatty persevered. Starting as a seasonal instructor, she gained valuable experience in various locations, including New Zealand, where she volunteered for a children's charity. Over time, she transitioned into freelance work, relishing the flexibility it provided. Through dedication and hard work, she built a strong portfolio of clients and established herself in the industry.

Tatty Pettigrew's story serves as a powerful reminder that we all have the ability to break free from the ordinary and pursue a life filled with passion and purpose. Her unwavering spirit, determination, and love for the great outdoors exemplify the essence of the Tough Girl Podcast. Join us in celebrating Tatty's remarkable journey and be inspired to create your own path of exploration, challenge, and transformation.

***

Get ready for an exciting month of July on the Tough Girl Podcast, as we shine a spotlight on women working in the outdoors. Sponsored by Land & Wave - join us as we delve into their stories, gain insights, and discover valuable tips from their incredible experiences. 

Don't miss out on these empowering episodes released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - hit the subscribe button and be part of the adventure!

***

Show notes

  • Who is Tatty
  • Living in Dartmouth, Devon for the past 3 years
  • Working as an outdoor instructor
  • Growing up, being sporty but not outdoorsy
  • Doing Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) in her teenage years and why she’s a massive advocate for it now
  • Deciding to give up her corporate career in London and retrain as an outdoor instructor 
  • Experiencing the outdoors during a team building day at work
  • Finding out about Outdoor Instructor Training Course
  • Attending an Open Day with Land & Wave 
  • The questions and concerns before making the decision 
  • The fear of making a mistake and doing the wrong thing
  • Researching and thinking for about 2 years before making the final decision.
  • Doing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
  • Exploring all of her options for getting into the outdoors
  • Her process for making decisions 
  • Trying to figure out what the right option is 
  • Being an over thinker and suffering from ‘analysis paralysis’ 
  • Being supported and encouraged by her family 
  • How the pandemic impacted on her decision making 
  • What the Outdoor Instructor Training Course looked like 
  • 15 weeks, full time residential (including food & accommodation), kit package, and training Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm 
  • Building up experience during the summer months 
  • Enjoying all the waterspouts especially coasteering 
  • The challenges of climbing and being pushed outside her comfort zone
  • The challenges of training over the cold winter months (Oct - Feb) and being lucky with the weather
  • Working as a volunteer for a children’s charity in New Zealand (food and accommodation covered)
  • Not being able to move to New Zealand due to lockdown.
  • Building up a career in the outdoors and what that looks like
  • Starting off as a seasonal instructor and doing seasonal work in New Zealand
  • Branching out into the freelance work and being able to get plenty of work
  • Enjoying the flexibility of freelance work 
  • Building up her portfolio of clients over the past few years
  • Working hard during the season April - October
  • Using the winter time to work on gaining new skills and focusing on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 
  • What it’s like being a woman in the outdoors 
  • Being surrounded by good female role models in the industry 
  • The women who’ve inspired Tatty on her journey
  • Anna McNuff 
  • Sue Barrett - Adventure Queen Mother follow on IG @adventurequeenmother
  • Getting the balance right between work and personal time
  • Working towards her Mountain Leader Qualification
  • Sea Kayaking Leader Qualification 
  • Forest School Leader 
  • Volunteering with the Lifeboat Crew for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) 
  • Discussing, the potential for injury, the wear and tear on your body as you get older, and the potential impact of motherhood on your outdoor career
  • Moving from the steady pay check from the corporate world to being freelance and being self employed
  • Financial stress? Especially during the winter months when there isn’t as much work.
  • Keeping track of finances, being planned and organised. 
  • Doing the last two legs of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
  • Spending 3 months sailing from Seattle to London   
  • Making friends for life and why the people made the challenge
  • How to connect with Tatti on Instagram
  • The 3 words which resonate - Explore. Challenge. Transform.

 

Social Media

Instagram: @tatti.pettigrew

 

 

Jul 18, 2023

Patricia Boardman, a former textile designer, has transformed her love for the outdoors into a thriving career as a freelance outdoor instructor. With a strong belief that anyone can pursue their passion for the outdoors, Tricia's journey showcases the power of perseverance and a deep connection with nature. From teaching young adults the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award to leading groups on mountain expeditions across the UK, Tricia's days are filled with diversity and adventure.

For the past 15 years, Tricia has dedicated herself to working as an outdoor instructor. A few years ago, she made the courageous decision to transition into full-time freelancing, allowing her to fully immerse herself in her passion. Her genuine love for the outdoors and her desire to push herself out of her comfort zone have been the driving forces behind her success.

Growing up in South Manchester, Tricia developed a love for hiking and camping in her late teens. She found like-minded individuals who shared her passion for walking, forging lifelong friendships along the way. Inspired to progress further in the outdoor industry, Tricia pursued her Mountain Leader (ML) Qualification, a milestone she achieved despite not having the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award during her school years.

In a male-dominated environment, Tricia persevered, accumulating quality mountain days and fitting in training around her work commitments. She honed her skills in navigation and micro-navigation, pushing herself to be the best she could be. Gradually, she began picking up weekend work and building her reputation through word-of-mouth recommendations, steadily establishing a network of connections in the industry.

Tricia reflects on the early years of her career, recognising the challenges she faced as a woman in the industry. However, her unwavering determination and passion for working with people propelled her forward. Over time, she had the opportunity to lead expeditions with children in destinations such as India, Peru, and even climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Witnessing young adults progress and grow, particularly during her time in Peru, solidified her love for her work.

The pandemic brought about changes in Tricia's life, including being made redundant. However, armed with some savings, she took the leap into full-time outdoor work, embracing the freedom and fulfilment it brought. She shares practical advice for women seeking to gain experience in the outdoors, emphasising the power of asking and being truthful about one's abilities.

As a sole trader using her own name, Tricia finds joy in the variety of her work and the balance between her personal love of the outdoors and her professional pursuits. She plans to expand her qualifications, particularly in water-based activities and cave leading. Despite the occasional challenges, Tricia remains motivated, continuously striving to improve her climbing skills and push her boundaries.

Tricia is passionate about promoting diversity in the outdoors and is particularly motivated to inspire girls, especially in faith schools, to embrace nature and adventure. Being of mixed heritage—half Indian and half Scottish—she takes pride in being a role model for the girls she teaches and strives to make the outdoors accessible to all.

With her infectious enthusiasm, Tricia shares magical moments she has experienced in nature and her unwavering dedication to helping people reach their full potential. Her final words of advice serve as an inspiration for women who aspire to work in the outdoors, along with valuable guidance on obtaining qualifications and pursuing their dreams.

***

This episode of the Tough Girl Podcast was sponsored by Land & Wave! We hope you've been inspired by Patricia Boardman's incredible journey and her passion for the outdoors. Remember, with perseverance and a love for nature, anyone can turn their dreams into reality. 

Stay tuned for more empowering stories and don't forget to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on new episodes, released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time. Thank you for joining us on this adventure!

***

Show notes

  • Tricia Boardman
  • Woking as an outdoor instructor for the past 15 years
  • Deciding to go full time as a freelancer a few years ago
  • Her love for the outdoors 
  • Making friends with people at 17/18 years old with people who loved walking
  • Liking to push herself out of her comfort zone
  • Going on day hikes and camping
  • Growing up in South Manchester
  • Studying textiles at college and working in a bar part time 
  • Deciding to take on her Mountain Leader (ML) Qualification 
  • Not getting the chance to do the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award as it wasn’t available at her school 
  • Meeting people who already had their ML qualification and being encouraged to do it.
  • Wanting to progress further in the outdoors
  • Learning in a male dominated environment 
  • Getting her quality mountain days in and fitting in the training around work
  • Doing solo days and spending time walking in the outdoors 
  • Focusing on navigation and micro navigation 
  • Starting to pick up a few pieces of work here and there at the weekends
  • What it was like being a woman in the industry when she first started working in it 20 years ago
  • Thinking about working full time in the outdoors
  • Getting the opportunity to lead a few expeditions with children abroad, to India, Peru, and taking on Kilimanjaro 
  • Helping young adults progress and grow 
  • Loving her time spend in Peru
  • Making changes to her life after the pandemic
  • Being made redundant and having some money behind her while making the transition to working outdoors full-time.
  • Her love for working with people 
  • Getting work when she first started out 
  • Building up a network and connections, and being recommended via word of mouth
  • Gaining experience in the industry via work shadowing and volunteering with waking groups
  • Practicalities of getting work experience and how to go about it
  • Advice and tips for women who want to gain more experience in the outdoors
  • The power of asking people 
  • Why it’s important to be truthful about what you can and can’t do
  • What a typical week looks like during busy season
  • Loving the variety of the work 
  • Working as a sole trader and using her own name
  • The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) 
  • Thinking about getting further qualifications - especially water based qualifications 
  • Cave Leader Qualification 
  • Tips for dealing with the bad days 
  • Balancing work with her personal love of the outdoors 
  • Working slowly towards climbing all of the Wainwrights 
  • Wanting to go up a grade in climbing 
  • Climbing with friends who climb harder than her, in order to push herself to get better and make progress
  • Buying a van in September 2022  (Transit - long wheel base) and doing the renovation with her partner (Nick).
  • Take the van on a climbing trip to the South of France and following the sunshine before heading back to the UK
  • Living in the van (instead of camping) to help keep costs down while working
  • Pay for a day’s DofE work (£130 - £150)
  • Making a living from working in the outdoors and taking on other additional jobs throughout the winter months.
  • Being booked up with work throughout the summer months
  • Diversity in the outdoors and her thoughts of working in the industry 
  • Working in Faith Schools and helping to inspire girls to get outdoors and spend time in nature
  • Being half Indian and half Scottish and feeling proud that she can be a role model to the girls she is teaching
  • Wanting to make the outdoors accessible
  • Being encouraged by her mum “don’t let anyone stop you, just do what you want to do” 
  • Discrimination in the outdoors? And how things have changed over the years
  • Magical moments in the outdoors and why she loves spending time in nature
  • Her passion for helping people to reach their potential 
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to work in the outdoors
  • Advice for getting your qualifications 

 

Social Media

None 
 

 

Jul 13, 2023

Tori is one half of West Country Adventures. She is a qualified teacher, and kayak coach turned climbing coach, aiming to inspire and support women in their ambition to become independent rock climbers.

During our conversation, Tori candidly shares the challenges of working in the outdoors, particularly the wage disparities and financial challenges faced by women. She offers advice on how to gain experience, emphasising the importance of volunteering, shadowing, and observing others at work.

Tori's own journey involved studying outdoor education, travelling, managing a climbing retreat in Spain, and joining a team of polar explorers going up to the North Pole. Through these experiences, she has gained a wealth of knowledge and skills, and now offers valuable insight into the opportunities available for those interested in pursuing a career in the outdoors.

Tori is passionate about the outdoors and the benefits it offers, particularly for mental health. She also highlights the changing landscape of the industry, with governing bodies working to encourage women to work in the outdoors and provide support for them.

***

Get ready for an exciting month of July on the Tough Girl Podcast, as we shine a spotlight on women working in the outdoors. Sponsored by Land & Wave - join us as we delve into their stories, gain insights, and discover valuable tips from their incredible experiences. 

 

Don't miss out on these empowering episodes released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - hit the subscribe button and be part of the adventure!

 

Show notes

  • Who is Tori
  • Working with female clients 
  • Being athletic and loving team sports
  • Studying at Exeter College 
  • Being a member of the Scouts 
  • Embarking on a career in the outdoors
  • Teaching in a formal classroom setting 
  • The wage disparity between the outdoors and other industries
  • Studying outdoor education and what it was like
  • Starting out with very little knowledge 
  • Developing personal skills
  • Needing to be to 18 to work in the outdoors
  • Doing her Bachelor’s degree (Geography and Outdoor Education) at Manchester Metropolitan University 
  • Is university worth it?
  • How to connect with and contact employers
  • Advice for getting experience
  • Why a wide range of experience is essential
  • Looking for volunteer opportunities 
  • Shadowing and observing others at work
  • Don’t go too niche too soon
  • Going travelling to Europe after university 
  • Managing a climbing retreat in Spain
  • Taking on a full time apprentice role in Yorkshire
  • Joining a team of polar explorers going up to the North Pole
  • Teaching polar explorers how to canoe on their sledges
  • Loving paddlesports and climbing 
  • The opportunities available 
  • Leading overseas expeditions (After qualifying as a Mountain Leader (ML) and First Aider)
  • Teaching on youth development programs
  • Making the time for experiences outside and why it’s important
  • Benefits for your mental health
  • The challenges of working in the outdoors
  • Wages and money 
  • Costs of equipment and clothing 
  • Dealing with the miserable days
  • The financial challenges of women working in the outdoors
  • Women dropping off in the qualifications/award system in their late 20s
  • Flexibility and wages and why it’s even harder when you have children
  • How the Industry has changed over the past 16/17 years
  • The support from governing bodies to encourage women to work in the outdoors
  • Dealing with knocks to her confidence
  • Mountain Training and their 5 year plan (2021 - 2025) 
  • Gear for women that fits 
  • Running women only courses
  • Concerns about dealings with periods
  • How to connect with Tori
  • Final words of advice

 

Social Media

Website: www.westcountryadventures.co.uk

Instagram:

@itsadogslife_climbing
@westcountry_adventures 

 

 

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