Do the unconventional!

As a kid, I never knew what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. And to my dismay, that sense of no direction lasted well into my young adult years. I had hobbies, sure. I loved to write, and I loved to travel and be outdoors – ever since I was a toddler, in fact. I’d go outside and search for “natures” – which were usually just pine cones and mossy rocks. But those were only hobbies, and my family was more geared towards practicality.

So, not wanting to waste time or money on a college degree I may or may not use, I started working. From the time I was old enough to be working, really. I worked at a chocolate shop, hardware store, restaurants, title insurance company and then finally I landed a job at a law firm as a legal assistant. It was a great job, but it was overwhelming. I was afraid to ever take a sick day since I knew I’d come back to piles of work. I was often working overtime and honestly; it was taking a toll on me. I was temperamental, I complained all the time, and I was starting to fear I might push the people I care about away. I mean, who wants to hang out with someone who’s miserable 24/7?

So I decided, to keep my sanity, I’d set a “quit by” date. At the end of that year, I would quit my job. I’d take whatever money my husband and I had saved, and we’d travel the world and write about our experiences. It was perfect! It was everything I ever wanted to do.

I could tell people thought we were crazy. And there was always those questions “What is your plan?” “How will you make money?” “What will you do when you get back?” – I never had an answer. But it didn’t matter to me. I was over the moon. I was living my dream! It honestly didn’t even matter to me if I made no money at all. I just loved my life and loved what I was doing.

It’s been almost a year now since I quit my job and got on that plane, and I still haven’t run out of money, I still haven’t given up, my relationships are healthier than ever, and I’m happier than ever. And honestly, even if I walk away with nothing, I feel I’ve still succeeded – because I took a risk and did something that brought value and meaning to my life. Something that healed my mind and made me kinder, wiser and more confident.

Maybe travelling and living out of a tent is unconventional, but who’s to decide what’s conventional anyway? Do what you love. And when someone tells you it’s crazy, take it as a compliment. Because it means you had the guts to do something most would never dream of doing.

Submitted by Kristin Quinn – visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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.

Leadership

I often find that when I’m in a mixed group, there seems to be an assumption that (usually older) men will lead it, often regardless of experience, knowledge or ability. I feel that if women put themselves ‘out there’ it can feel risky, as if a man makes a mistake that general assumption of entitlement to lead means it is generally seen as just that, a mistake. However, if a woman makes a similar error, it can be seen as incompetence.

Of course, this isn’t always the case, and I don’t have an easy answer for when it is, but I do encourage both men and women reading this to perhaps question how they go about things. There is a wide range of courses available for women who might like to lead activities but currently lack confidence and indeed women-only groups that might appeal to some.

I started mountaineering at an older age than I’d guess is average and was surprised of what I was actually capable of. That openness to pushing yourself and supporting others to do likewise is invaluable, whether in terms of leadership or just getting more out of what you’re doing.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Learn to live with uncertainty

I was always waiting for the right time; I lived my life dreaming of all these cool adventures, waiting for the perfect time to go off and do them. That time never comes.

At some point, you have to be really brave. I dropped everything; my well-paid job as a graphic designer, my flat in central Manchester, my life pretty much. That was three years ago, and since then I’ve spent a winter in Lapland, crossing fjells with a team of huskies and climbing frozen waterfalls. I’ve cycled round the Italian Dolomites, kayaked around the Sicilian coastline. I still have no money, and I still have no idea what is coming next but that unknown feeling the one that used to scare me and push back my plans is now what drives me.

The unknown holds so many possibilities, and I’m the one that can fill it. Those dreams are real now, and the more I explore and learn the more I want to continue my journey. It was people like you, and other adventurous women that gave me that push to do it and I am forever grateful to you wonderful, strong, inspirational bunch.

Submitted by Sophie Nolan – visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

The battle within…

Running, cycling and kayaking is keeping the demons at bay.

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.

Start with a short hike

For those woman wishing to get outdoors more often and become more adventurous, grab a friend, find a local hiking trail, and just start with a one hour walk. Over time invite another friend and find new hiking trails, just keep doing it. When you are ready, seek a more adventurous trail, hiking group, local hiking guide and explore more great activities in the great outdoors. Get amongst it.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

You won’t know if you don’t try

You will be surprised at what you’re capable of if you allow yourself to be fully immersed in different experiences. An opportunity might seem scary or unfamiliar to begin with, but trust yourself as you jump in wholeheartedly. You will only grow greater if you try in the first place.

Submitted by Rachel Gibson – follow her on Instagram.

Wilderness Therapy

Journey inside, outside with IPSE Wilderness. Inspire yourself, prove yourself, serve yourself, empower yourself by taking part in a therapeutic walking pilgrimage for women.

We guide groups through different landscapes and moods, relishing the simplicity and freedom of a slow-paced walking journey with a shared purpose; to find well-being in life. We give time and space to de-tech, de-stress, de-contextualise and enjoy quiet immersion in nature, dropping into a softer rhythm of life where peace, joy and self-actualisation can be accessed. We use counselling skills, co-listening structures, meditative practices and sharing circles to help you to open up and speak their truth with honesty and integrity. We build isomorphic connections between the features of the physical landscape, and the emotional landscape of the participants, creating resonances which can generate insight and clarity. We create empowered, strongly-bonded groups which support you to walk the talk, enacting change in life back in the real world.

Submitted by Julia Gillick – follow Julia on Twitter or visit IPSE’s website or follow them on Facebook.

Invest in you

It’s easy to be put off making the initial leap into an outdoor activity by the cost of kit. Think of it as an investment in you. I spent a fair amount of money on a wetsuit, socks, gloves, tow float, hat, in order to start going wild swimming. It is without a doubt, the best money I have ever spent. I feel happier, healthier and more in control of my life than I can ever remember.

Submitted by Diane Cannon – follow her on Instagram.