5 STEPS TO FINDING A WILD CAMP SPOT

Sometimes the hardest thing in getting out there adventurin’ is not knowing quite where to begin. In a recent Adventure Queens survey we found that the second biggest thing from stopping people going wild camping, is not knowing how to find a good spot for a wild night out. So below are the five steps that I go through myself before heading out there.

ONE: THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU START

No one likes too much choice – choice can be debilitating. We don’t want finding a wild camp spot to end up like a trip to the milk aisle in the supermarket (do I want almond, soya, skimmed, goats, semi-skimmed….. COCONUT?)

So here are a list of questions to ask yourself before even starting the search for a spot – they’ll help you home in on what’s going to make it is great night out on the forest-tiles. Continue reading

The 5 Things You Need To Go Wild Camping

This is the first in a series of ‘how to’ posts on wild camping. This summer, I’m ramping up the vibe with the Adventure Queens – encouraging as many women in the UK and abroad to get out wild camping. That’s not to say this post isn’t for you boys too however.

If you’d like to register for updates on all things Adventure Queens, you can do that here.

We’ve sat down at Adventure Queen HQ, eaten copious packets biscuits, drunk many cups of coffee and pulled together a recommended kit list based on favourites that have been tried and tested, as well as advice from other adventurers.

When it comes to outdoors kit, we definitely agree with what your mum says:  ‘you get what you pay for’ and the good old ‘buy cheap, by twice’. That said, you don’t want to be splashing all your hard earned spondoolies on something you’re not sure you enjoy yet. So we’ve giving options for ‘just giving it a bash’ and ‘keen for the long haul’ below. Don’t forget that borrowing is an option too – borrowing is very 2017 dahhlings.  Continue reading

Riding The Rollercoaster: 10 Tips To Cope With The Post-Adventure Blues

Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics could not be more appropriate as I stare down the barrel at a period of confusion, frustration, sadness and anxiety that inevitably follows a large adventure.

Although this article focuses on the post-adventure blues, I’ll be quick to add that the topics discussed could quite easily relate to many other milestones in a person’s life. A big project at work. Writing your first book. Completing your first half-marathon. Getting married. Anything which you have worked tirelessly for, and focussed single-mindedly on for a significant period of time – only to find yourself on the other side of it and asking ‘Now what?’

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble. (22)

As I write this I have been home from the Andes Mountains for almost three weeks. There I pedalled for 6 months – covering 9,000km through three countries and tackling over 100,000 metres of ascent. But I know full well that the challenges of the road pale in comparison to the challenge of returning home.

I’m rather proud of how I’ve done on the blues front so far. Alas, this week they have proudly announced their arrival. Characterised by a desire to lock myself away and not speak to anyone, bouts of frustration, teariness, feelings of hopelessness and an overwhelming sense that I am wriggling in a pool of quicksand, and could go under at any minute.

So let us start with where it all begins…. Continue reading

Book suggestions: A reading list to keep you sane for 6 months

Books, glorious books! One of the best things about adventure is the gift of time. Hours spent turning pedals on deserted trails means hours dedicated to listening to audiobooks, and long evenings in the tent means time to curl up with my Kindle.

I’m always looking for inspiration on what to read or what to listen to next – so I thought I’d share my reading list from the last six months with you all.

If you’ve read any of these titles and want to add your thoughts, or have a questions about a specific book – go buck wild and leave a comment at the bottom. Enjoy!

THE TEN BOOKS I ENJOYED THE MOST

1. The War of Art: break through your blocks and win your inner creative battles – by Steven Pressfield

Pressfield is an absolute genius, with a fascinating personal story about his own journey to success. If you’re a creative soul – this book explains why sitting down to do your work is a real struggle, and offers tips on how to get your muse to ‘show up’ every day. Expect a gigantic kick up the bum.

The-War-of-Art_straight_1024x1024 Continue reading

Wild camping: your questions answered

The two words ‘wild camping’ can strike fear into the heart of even the most willing adventurer. Where do I go? What do I take? Is it even legal?? To help answer these questions, women’s outdoor brand Lily Wild recently organised a wild camping Q&A evening. On a panel made up of me and fellow wild camp keen beans Laura Kennington and Helen Proudfoot, Lily Wild founder Adelaide Goodeve guided the audience through a series of burning questions pitched in by the general public, and later gave them the opportunity to ask some of their own. Although the event was aimed at and attended mostly by women, all of the questions are applicable to both genders.

Below is a full account of the chitter chatter on the night. You can read the whole shebang through from start to finish (recommended), or just click on which question(s) interest you in the list below. You’ll then be whisked down the page as if atop a magic wild camping carpet, to the relevant section. Continue reading

UK adventure festivals

It’s that time of year again. The days are long, the nights are warm, those of you with hay fever look like something from the Zombie apocalypse and (if a city dweller) your face is forced frequently into the armpit of a sweaty, topless man on the tube. Yes folks – it’s summer! And that means there are even less excuses to be cooped up inside. Especially when there’s whole host of places to unleash your inner adventure-beast over the summer, and beyond. 

Here’s a run-down of some of the UK’s best outdoor and adventure festivals for your diary. You’re welcome. You can hug me later. Continue reading

To scoot or not to scoot, that is the question.

Here goes an experiment. Because it strikes me that all-too-often we only get to hear about adventure plans when they are unveiled / announced / launched / released, and above all… final. The reasons for that are valid – you don’t want to look like a prize banana after all – shooting your mouth off and then not doing what you said you would. But it always seems a shame that the journey to the start line of an adventure should appear so effortless.

And so this time, I’d like to roll a little differently. To share with you the jagged and jumbled mess of musings that unfold before things are set in stone. Because, like anything else in life it ain’t plain sailing. Plans are made, dashed, changed, turned upside down, and dashed again before finally, hopefully settling at something that definitely (possibly) maybe floats the adventure boat. Here’s the story so far… Continue reading

Meet the Adventure Queens

I’m staring at a picture of a girl on her first bicycle tour. Her wayward hair is kept only slightly in check by a helmet perched awkwardly on her head. Her arms, now sun-kissed after a few months on the road lead down to legs muscles, now slightly tighter than they once were. As she moves to pose for the photo, her jersey shifts to reveal a small white area on her upper arms that the sun has yet to reach.

She is brimming with enthusiasm. She has dreams that seem too big for her head. She has no clue what’s she’s doing and a bundle of fears to face up to on a daily basis. She isn’t quite sure where to start, but start she has. And by goodness she’s happy that she did. 

FROM ROOKIE TO REALITY

The UK adventure community is a wonderfully supportive place. I’ll never forget the first email I sent to Dave Cornthwaite announcing that I wanted to head off on a 50 state cycle, but I had no idea where to start. I was scared of wild camping (which I had never done) and terrified I would buy all the wrong things. His reply was swift, funny and reassuring. As was Alastair Humphrey’s the first time I reached out to him. Continue reading

Behind the scenes at Women’s Health

I emerged from the myriad of tunnels that form Old Street underground station and picked up a message from my good chum Laura K. She was in the coffee shop next door to the location for today’s shoot. I still had plenty of time to spare, so I tracked her down and we got to natterin’. We gassed, chitty-chatted, chinwagged, talked the hind legs of many donkeys, before suddenly realising that the 30 minutes to spare had now reduced to just 2 minutes before we were due in the studio. Panic. We dashed outside, desperate to find the venue, which was apparently ‘just next door’.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FIND THE STUDIO

Alas, it seemed that finding the entrance to the studio was like finding the Ministry of Magic. Somewhere, in the gaps between these tall, ancient buildings and old industrial works was an entrance. But where, oh where in the world, was anyone’s guess. Just as I was beginning to wonder if perhaps we should retreat to the phone box across the street and go in underground Harry-Potter style, I spotted a glimmer of hope. Two ‘model’ types were hanging out on the steps of what we thought could potentially, possibly, definitely-maybe be the entrance. Continue reading