Not so much Julie Andrews, more where the story starts. Where do you begin an adventure? Is it the decision to go, or does it start way before that?
After the death of my father I promised myself that I would say yes to every opportunity that came along. This led to snorkelling in Cyprus, speaking at a major event, and eventually to doing my first tandem skydive. I guess there was something about ‘life’s too short’ – and my father always taught me to make the most of every moment.
If I’d announced when I was little that I wanted to be a ‘lady adventurer’ (if that is even a job title, if it isn’t, it should be) no one would have told me that was impossible. My father encouraged and nurtured any interest – buying me a geology hammer and a book about rocks for our many walking holidays, and later a decent camera to document life’s journey.
After my tandem skydive, I told my family I was going to become a qualified skydiver. No one told me it was impossible – even though they thought it was nuts they didn’t doubt for a second that I’d do it.
A year later; and whether it was skydiving, my father’s death or just the whole mish-mash of life experiences have taught me that nothing is impossible, that you really can achieve more and push yourself more that you ever thought you could, a new challenge awaits.
I’m working on a project to get six men across Antarctica this year (www.spear17.org if you’re interested). At first, the idea of going to somewhere so isolated and inhospitable was distinctly unattractive (especially if you include cold injuries ranging from frostbite to ‘polar knob’). As time’s gone on, their enthusiasm has become infectious and I find myself inspired to have my own Polar adventure.
They have spent two years planning and training – can I do it in a year?
And so I found myself announcing that I was going to cross Greenland in October 2017 on skis, unsupported. This means I will be pulling everything I need to survive behind me in a specialist sledge called a pulk for at least 30 days, through crevasse fields, snow, ice, whiteouts and many more things I don’t even know about yet.
And although there have been many things which have led me to this point, this, I think, is the beginning.