“Anybody can be an explorer if they want to be. You can be an astronaut if you want. Figure out what you want to do, and then go do it.” – Helen Thayer explorer and first woman to travel solo to magnetic north
The best thing about doing these interviews is that I now want to be friends with all of you. The UK is filled to the brim with intelligent, brave, strong woman. Definitely a gang I want to be in, including this little ball of light, Sarah I will come and get a tattoo with you! You can find Sarah on Instagram @nerdygrrrl
1. Can you tell us something about yourself?
Sarah, 37 and I enjoy hiking and travelling.
2. What is the first memory of an adventure you had? And why does it stand out?
As a teenager my parents used to take us to Ingleton Falls in Lancashire. I remember scrambling all the way around the rocks with my cousin to get underneath the waterfall. It sticks in my mind as I can still remember the roar of the water going over the top of us and being amazed by it.
3. What are three things on your bucket list?
- Climb all 3 British ‘highest’ mountains (Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis)
- Road trip the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
- Get an Octopus tattoo – My favourite creature…not built up the lady balls to do it yet though!
4. Are there any women that inspire your adventures or that you look to for inspiration?
Obviously you Emma! I love seeking inspiration from all the strong amazing woman in the hiking/adventuring community on Instagram. I have only recently dipped my toe into this community and I have been taken aback by how kind and welcoming everyone is and how many inspirational women there are out there adventuring in my local area. I wish I had found it years ago.
5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
It sounds cliché but just do what makes you happy, life is too short to be anything but happy. I have recently learned this the hard way after going through a painful divorce, but to live a life that isn’t true to yourself or where you are not comfortable to be yourself will, quite literally, destroy your soul! When you are comfortable in your own skin you feel so much more alive and open to happiness, so I am actually quite thankful for everything that has got me to this place.
6. What advice would you give someone who is just starting their outdoor journey?
The right clothing and shoes is EVERYTHING, wearing normal clothes on a hike will make you sweaty and uncomfortable and put you off doing it again. Also start small and build up to bigger hikes as your body adjusts.
7. What is the hardest adventure/hike you have done and why?
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand. A 12 mile hike up a dormant volcano to around 6100ft. It was spectacular, we were way above the clouds looking down across central New Zealand and crossing a volcanic crater. It was very difficult in parts as the highest point was essentially a steep sand dune that you had to slide down, it completely sapped my energy for the journey down. Still I would do it again in a heartbeat!
8. What is your favourite thing about the outdoor community?
Finding people who share the same interests, who aren’t afraid of a little mud and rain and who are more interested in the beauty of nature than materialistic things.
9. Is there anything you would change about the outdoor community?
Not right now…I am a newbie though!
10. Is there a sport/adventure pursuit you would like to try? If yes what’s stopping you?
I would LOVE to try paddle boarding. I am a water baby at heart and something about it calls to me! However I have the core strength of a jellyfish so i’m not sure how good I would be!
11. Has the outdoors impacted your mental health?
I definitely feel soooooo much better mentally if I have been outdoors. I always say that we obviously lived outdoors for tens of thousands of years before we evolved enough to build ourselves houses so there’s definitely something rooted deep in our psyche that finds nature and being outdoors calming. If you think about it calming ‘outdoor’ sounds like water flowing, a crackling fire, birds, wind, rain, etc are all sounds that are soothing for the soul. My theory is that there is a deeply instinctual link from the tens of thousands of years of our ancestors living outdoors.
12. What does a typical adventure day look like for you?
Up early and out, or even better find somewhere local to stay the night before! I like to take snacks, water, etc and plan somewhere to stop for a pub lunch later!
13. What is the one song you would pick to sum up your time outdoors?
Not sure what song I would pick for that but I am totally feeling Lizzo at the moment!
14. What three things do you always carry on your adventures?
Water, snacks and my phone for snapping pictures
15. Has Covid-19/Lockdown affected how you will go on adventures in the future?
If anything it made me excited to get back out there and hopefully continue to become part of the outdoor community and make new friends.
16. What kind of adventures did you have during Lockdown, in your area?
Local walks and exploring my local area, I have been surprised to find some nice places I wouldn’t have thought of going to before
17. Do you solo travel? If so what advice would you give another woman considering solo travel?
I have travelled around New Zealand solo when I was younger. My advice would be to do your research and go for it! Stay at hostels but ask for female only dorms if the thought of sharing with too many others makes you uncomfortable. You will always meet people and make friends in hostels of all ages. Also never pack more than you can comfortably carry, being like a packhorse will make it difficult for you to move around and make you more vulnerable to pickpockets, etc.
18. What are your three favourite outdoor brands?
I am really intrigued by the ACAI Activewear trousers, they look amazing so i’m currently trying to work out if I can justify the money for them sometime soon! I also like Merrell shoes and Dare 2b for Jackets and fleeces.
19. Are you happy with their selection of women’s clothing?
I always find the women’s selection in outdoor shops quite disappointing and ill-fitting if i’m being totally honest!