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!