Rise to the challenge – FACE IT, DON’T FLEE IT!

I’m here at the moment in a sport’s rehabilitation centre in France recovering from my shoulder surgery. I’ve been told I will probably not regain full mobility with my arm… But how many times have I been told that I won’t be able to do something in my lifetime of 46 years!

As a youngster, I would come back from my winter holidays and say, I want to be a ski instructor, my brother would say, “that’s not a real job”… I went on to join the Austrian ski school in the early 90s before going to university. I then worked as a ski rep for PGL school ski holidays, where I met a snowsport’s instructor who I fell madly in love with (and looking back, I think I must have been mad at the time!). When I said I liked the idea of doing the job of a ski patroller… he replied, “that won’t be possible, you can’t ski!”.

I went on just under ten years later in 2007 to pass the formidable French ski test and gain a place on the sought after ‘Pisteur Secouriste’ (ski patrol) training and earned the 1st degree.

In my workplace, the ski resort’s name I won’t mention, many of my male colleagues said I didn’t have the experience to go to the next level. I soon rose to the challenge and gained a place at ENSA, the renown Alpine school in Chamonix to do the 2nd degree – which I passed.

This was when I was given the privilege of taking on a puppy with the French fire brigade mountain rescue unit to train as an avalanche search and rescue dog handler. Again, I was told that I was probably not up to the standard to pass the exams. But when I left for the course two years later, my boss just said with no encouragement for my own competence in this field, that “I had a good dog”. I passed the 2-week course with flying colours. It is often said a dog is what it’s owner makes it.

Maybe every time I am goaded, the fire in my belly gives me the force to go forward in these male-dominated professions. I have learnt that even if someone says I’m not capable, and yet I feel the capacity deep down – I keep pushing forward. Also in those bleak moments, and we all have them, I get outdoors with my best friend, my dog Fjord. I feel so much better after a stride into the hills in the rawness of nature. I am now channelling my energy into educating British children on mountain safety, viewed through the eyes of Fjord, my search and rescue dog. Don’t be put off by a challenge, RISE to the challenge and push through, it will make you stronger. We all need a purpose in life!

Submitted by Caroline Elliott – visit her website or follow her on YouTubeFacebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thought I couldn’t

I was the oldest person in my diving class.

One of our learning skills had us watch the instructor remove all their equipment piece by piece and give it to their dive buddy (the last being our tank and bcd fin), surface, take a breath and descend before reversing putting the equipment back on.

We students politely clapped underwater – I thought to myself I will never in my wildest dreams ever do this.

When we surfaced the instructor asked who wants to be first to do this, and it just came out of my head to say ME!!. And I did it and it was one of if not the greatest achievements in my life. Diving is a pure joy. It opens up another world of adventure to experience the underwater world.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

You are never too old

I’ve surfed for over 50 years but my body was struggling with old injuries started nagging at me. So at 58, I started a new water sport. Surf ski paddling. That has grown into racing. And outrigger canoe paddling.

The best part? I don’t have to wait for the waves to be good to go and have a wonderful time. It’s never too late to toss things up a bit!

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Depression

Physical activity is the best treatment for mental health issues. Sometimes at the start of a run I’m still trying not to cry from tearfulness. I’m never still crying at the end. Always have a goal! No matter how small or stupid. When you accomplish it, have another.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Stop

Life is too busy, so when taking the time for the outdoors, pause, stop and enjoy the moments. Breathe the air so deeply your lungs could pop, stare at the views so long your eyes fill with tears at the beauty. Talk about it… share your happiness.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Sometimes life gets in the way…

We are all human and as women often have a million other things going on in our lives, be it work, partners and/or children. When you feel a bit low, a bit fed up, remember to seek out some inspiration for your next run, ride or whatever you love doing outside.

We all need to be inspired by someone to keep the circle going because you are the inspiration for the next person. Go forth, find a beautiful picture of someone running, riding or swimming in a beautiful place, be inspired, head outside and take a beautiful picture to inspire the next woman looking for a pick up when life gets in her way.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Solo adventures

The past few summers I have found it really hard to find friends with the free time and the same interests that want to go out adventuring with me…so I decided I’d go alone.

This seemed like a big thing at the time, but now I am yearning to get back to my solo adventures. Walking in the countryside and adventuring around new areas in my camper van gave me so much confidence to take on new things.

Not only did I benefit from time to myself doing something that I loved, I dove into challenges and obstacles and came out the other side, stronger, more aware, happier and motivated for more. Lots of people around me tell me “oh I’d never go and do that on my own” but I encourage them to give it a try, to wander and explore your thoughts or immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings.

I’m no super hero, I don’t do anything that radical but it always surprises me how shocked people are that I simply walking and exploring on my own. So go for a walk, do it for you, do it alone, it doesn’t have to be hard…see what you learn.

Submitted by Melissa Schubert – follow her on Instagram.

Don’t get trapped in your 9-5

There is so much more out there. Especially at my age, it’s easy for people to worry that when coming out of university they must get themselves on the career ladder and secure a 9-5 (or longer) job in London. There is SO much more out there.

I worked in London, then at 24 realised I had nothing holding me back or down to staying here. Go and explore, I went to work in Kenya for a year and it was hands down the best thing I ever did. Working outside revolutionises how you think and work. I enjoy working with different people and exploring new places so that helped.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Gig Rowing

I row in a Ladies crew competing in Cornish Pilot Gigs over the South West of this country, but also special events in London and Holland.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.