Night of Adventure
Posted on July 12 2018
This blog post might seem a little out of place among the interior and textiles blogs we have written to date. Please keep reading! You will see that whilst this blog is based around the fabulous adventures of some totally inspiring women. It is most importantly about the power within us all to be the best possible version of ourselves, in any sphere that we chose to take.
Last night, I went to an evening called "Night of Adventure" in Bristol where 12 amazing women talked about their own extraordinary and very different adventures, in aid of a wonderful charity called Hope and Homes.
My utterly incredible elder sister, Zanna Baker was one of the speakers, talking about the expedition she took on last year - as one of the first ever, all female team, to cross Antartica by muscle power alone. She has since, along with the team, been travelling around the country giving talks to audiences of all ages, with the message that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. With the tag line "find your Antartica". My sister was the perfect little girl, she had pretty blonde hair tied up with a ribbon, a hatred of mud or getting wet and would cry before she even hit the ground. She then went through a few years of having to be pushed to spend time outside by our mother. And now, she is a world class female adventurer. One thing that has never changed is her determination and ability to achieve anything and everything she puts her mind to. And I truly believe that I could not be more in awe of her.
Enough gushing, and on to the the other women who set the room on fire. I will list at the bottom of the blog the instagram names of all the girls who spoke in case you want to check them out and I urge you do so. For now, I will mention just 4 of the other girls who took my breath away, whilst sending tingles all over my body with admiration.
First off, Sally Orange. I had the pleasure of first meeting Sally whilst competing in the Blenheim Triathlon - which for me was a huge triumph but for Sally was just a normal Saturday morning, leisurely stroll. She has competed 5 Ironmans, the Marathon des Sables (a gruelling 6 day ultra marathon held in the Sahara Desert) and competed in the 2016 Invictus Games. However, her most recent adventure saw her compete 7 marathons on 7 continents, and each one dressed up as...wait for it...a piece of fruit! From a kiwi in New Zealand, to a banana when in Afghanistan and as a pear running a marathon down in Antartica. Whilst her surname had inspired the fancy dress, her reason behind it was to show that sport and fitness doesn't have to be about being the fastest or the fittest but about having fun and making others smile. She was as fabulous to listen to as you can imagine.
Next, Hannah Maia. An award winning filmmaker who likes to tell stories about things that make life worth living. Her award winning film is called "My Big White Thighs and Me." It's a story of womanhood, miscarriage, healing, loving your own skin and wild swimming. "I was allowing bulllshit pressures of body image stop me from being me, and doing the things I love" - so Hannah decided to take on a series of low key adventures and to embrace her feelings that actually life was better in a swimsuit. Her goal was to seek out open water, and swim in it at least once a month for the next year. She now carries a swimsuit with her wherever she goes and is ready to be hit with that rush of adrenaline and endorphins whenever possible. You can watch the trailer here, and I really encourage that you do.
Kiko Matthews clearly has a spirit that is full of intrigue and adventure. From driving from London to Capetown, another trip driving to Uganda and circumnavigating Ibiza by SUP, Kiko is always chasing a new dream. But the biggest one so far was deciding to row across the Atlantic single handed, having never rowed before...and not only did she complete it, but she also is now a Guinness World Record holder for the fastest woman to complete this trip. Now, this is all impressive enough, without me adding that on-top of all this, Kiko was suffering a life-threatening disease called Cushings, where side-effects included diabetes, insomnia, memory loss, psychosis and muscle wasting. This didn't stop Kiko, in fact it pushed her further to live her life challenging her mind and body to see what they were capable of. Jaw dropping passion and determination.
Rosie Swale-Pope MBE
Finally, Rosie Swale-Pope MBE. Now where to start! Rosie comes across as a complete force of nature. At 71, Rosie bounded onto the stage and spent the next 6 minutes racing through a handful of her adventures. She is the only person in history, man or woman, to have undertaken an epic solo, unsupported run around our world – over 20,000 miles facing extreme danger, bitter Siberian winters, wolves, axe men and desolate loneliness over nearly five years. Rosie was brought up with the mentality to reach for far horizons and never give up. She has written a book called "Just a Little Run Around the World: 5 Years, 3 Packs of Wolves and 53 Pairs of Shoes". I have just bought the book and can not wait to delve in.
This talk not only set alight a desire for adventure, however small the challenge, it also sent the message that we all have the tools to be the best that we can be. "Finding your Antartica" doesn't have to mean being the first to climb a mountain with no assistance, it means giving your all to do the things that you want to do, with all your heart. Empowering you to step outside your comfort zone and achieve. There is competition all around, we can chase our challenge and we can do it. These women were all ordinary women who have acknowledged a dream and given their all to make it happen. One piece of advice was, when things get tough, think of 5 things to be glad about and power on!
So a huge well done to all these ladies, their passion was completely contagious, and I hope that I have managed to pass even a small amount of this on in this blog.