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Elise Wortley (Adventurer)

Elise Wortley is a female adventurer bringing to life the incredibly lost history of female adventurers by literally walking in their footsteps, using what was available to them at the time. The expedition highlighted these groundbreaking women’s stories and achievements with the hope to inspire women and girls today.

After returning from this life-changing first expedition, she realised that the stories and achievements of female explorers like Alexandra should be celebrated and never forgotten and made it her mission to bring these stories back to life, inspire this generation and the next the same way they have inspired her. In July 2019, she set off on my second adventure to the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland to follow Nan Shepherd’s footsteps, one of the UK’s best-known nature writers and mountain wanderers.

We talk about her incredible journey across India and towards Tibet on the podcast, how she coped in sub-zero temperatures, and how this trip changed her life.

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Transcript of our Conversation

Elise Wortley

[00:00:00] Elise Wortley: My next guest is an adventurer who is on a mission to inspire women into adventure, being inspired by so many female adventurers. She reads the books with these incredible FEMA adventures back in the day, and then recreates their stories right from scratch. What she does is incredible. And I was so happy to have her on the podcast to talk about these incredible trips from India to Scotland.

She recreates these stories. In such an amazing way. So I’m delighted to introduce Elise, welcome to the show. Thanks very much for having me well, it’s an absolute pleasure and what I absolutely love your about your story is the extremes you go to, to sort of look back in history and then recreate these incredible adventure.

Through these books that you’ve read before we sort of jump into that probably the best place to start is at the beginning. And how did this all sort of come about? [00:01:00] Reading these books and getting into these adventures. So I don’t really remember how I stumbled across the first book. So it was by Alexandra David, Neil, who actually, most people I speak to date, really know who she is.

And I came across her book when I was about 16 and I read it and I just thought, wow, this is. Amazing that this woman’s done this. So she was quite famous for a 14 year journey through Asia and where she left European about 1912 and traveled all through Asia just to get into Tibet where she could learn more.

But isn’t because obviously back then, you know, there wasn’t the internet there wasn’t, you didn’t have a face. So you actually had to go and, you know, find these things out for yourself. And I was just so amazed reading that book, you know, it’s actually just the last six months of this 14 year journey, but she touches on, you know, how grueling that trip was, how ill she got, how long it was.

She had to do things like sleep and [00:02:00] cold mountain passes with just her coat. And I just read it and I was like, I just don’t know. How she did this and also like, why don’t I know about this woman already? Like, why wasn’t I taught about her at school because she’s so inspiring. And then yeah, I read that book and I just, after that, I just always had it in my mind that I wanted to recreate her journey in some way, then I didn’t think, oh, I’ll do it without modern equipment, but yeah, I always wanted to do it.

And then about. Yeah, 12 years later, I decided it was kind of time to do it. I kind of went back to the book and re-read her story and thought, you know, I think people need to know about this woman and I really need to highlight, especially in a bit of a man’s world, like how epic her journey was and what she actually managed to achieve.

’cause a lot of people when they sort of recreate these stories as I was saying before, they sort of say, oh, well, I’ve got the socks from 1912, but underneath I have the north face jacket. You go for the real extremes [00:03:00] right down to everything, the small hot water bottles, the alpaca coats. So for people listening, why don’t you tell it how the sort of planning of these, this adventure sort of came about?

Oh, see, it’s not, I can just Google this stuff because back then, so women like Aleksandra, they were already fighting to be taken seriously. So in their writing, they would never. You know, if they felt vulnerable or weak or what they were wearing under that, they only just say undergarments and then whatever their coat is because they want to be taken seriously.

So they’re not going to talk about things like that. So I ended up doing so much research into what they actually had in 1912, and it’s quite surprising, like what they actually did have back then. But yeah. Going down to the same night bra and pants, she would have had say like rocket bras and yeah.

Like cotton undergarments and things like that. [00:04:00] So, yeah. I decided that I think to do her journey justice and to kind of show how difficult it was, it would never have been the same. If I was in, you know, like a north face jacket, I would have never. What she felt, and I would never be able to highlight, you know, the amazing journey that she did.

So yeah. I ended up researching reading all her books, actually going back to, you know, olden days when there was no internet and yeah, just reading through and I picked out everything that she mentioned. So she had your hot water bottles, like wooden ball, kettle matches all these little things. How yak coat.

So I ended up just picking all those out and yeah. Going, going with that, what was the sort of kick for this journey? What sort of kicked you into action 12 years later to really pursue it? So I’d actually, I I’ve always very open about this, but I actually had really bad panic attacks, like all through my twenties to the point where.

It still actually does really affect my life now, [00:05:00] but they would be so bad. I couldn’t go to work and I had to get loads of therapy and go medication and stuff. And actually, while I was going through. I re-read this book, because to me it was so brave. I really struggled with doing things like even getting a bus for me, which sounds crazy to someone who’s never had anything like this, but the amount of physical symptoms that brings up.

So like your legs would shake, I’d be totally dizzy. I wouldn’t be able to see properly. And for me reading this book, you know, she must’ve been so brave back then just to kind of leave everything behind. So, you know what I don’t want to. Traditional, I don’t want to have a traditional women’s life I’m going to, going to go off.

And the amount of people that, you know, must have fought back and thought she was crazy. And I think actually reading that and thinking, oh, you know what, if she can do that back then when she would have gone, she wouldn’t have even known where she was going. You know, she wouldn’t have had, she maybe would have seen a photo from India.

Like that was all she would have seen. So actually really helped me. And then after the. [00:06:00] Yeah. I just thought when I started to feel a bit bad, I thought now’s the time. So I sort of started putting the feelers out, seeing if I could plan a route and get a bit of sponsorship and then kind of before I knew it, I was, I was going, I was off.

And so how, how did it feel arriving in India? Was it, yeah. Arriving in India heading up into the mountains first day. What was the sort of feeling like? The thing I was most worried about was the wearing the old clothes. Cause I’m quite Obviously, cause I was quite a quite nervous person. Anyway. I thought everyone’s going to be looking at me.

They’re going to wonder. Oh, so I built actually built the old backpack I had out of an old chair because I kind of run out of my money. By the point I went to buy like a 1912 backpack and they’re really expensive. They’re like 500 to 800 quid. So I ended up doing laser research. Like what does a backpack actually look like?

And I built my own. How about this [00:07:00] chair on my back with a basket, all these old clothes. And I was just really, self-conscious more than anything, but you know what, it’s fine now. And even blinked in Ireland. So it was kind of that. And I just, the whole thing, you know, organizing a trip like this. It’s actually, I think harder than actually doing the trip.

So I had, cause we went to second, which is a really small little bit of India at the top and it’s really sensitive area because it’s so small and we had to get like five different permits. We weren’t allowed satellite phones or drones or anything like that. So organizing, it was a bit of a nightmare. So actually when I was there, it was quite a relief that it actually made it.

But yeah, it was probably. I think a bit overwhelmed, to be honest when I got there. And so how was the sort of experience of, because I then when I try on stuff from 1912 or 1920, which is very rare, I have to say. Yes. That’s [00:08:00] basically what I was trying to get at. Isn’t it really? Yeah. And I’ve actually got a picture of my, by the end of, so it’s there for a month in these old clothes and I just had a rash all over my body because.

The weather was, it was freezing, but in the morning it was actually really sunny every morning. So from about 7:00 AM to 12, it was really sunny. So I’d be walking and I’d be getting really hot. And then after 12, the clouds would come in and it’d be freezing. So I think my skin was just going through. So many different temperatures and, you know, sweating, they’re not suppressing.

And then yeah. Well, and it, yeah, it wasn’t pretty I actually had to put my arms in the code, like glacier rivers, quite a lot. And that really helped cause it put the itching down, but just shows, I guess like what they, you know, what people back in the day went through and they did these things. I mean, India and mountains towards sort of Tibet is some of the most beautiful scenery and theme imagery you must have [00:09:00] seen on a day to day.

Although it chain and freezing cold at times was probably was probably absolutely breathtaking. And I still learned to appreciate it. Surfacely the first two weeks I was just completely out of it, you know, like trying to deal with everything that was going on. And then, because it didn’t have any modern.

I would go, you know, there’d be a beautiful mountain or the sun would be setting or something amazing. And to begin with, I’d go for my phone and to be like, oh, I’ll take a picture. But then I realized I didn’t have it. So actually I really, really, I think appreciated it a lot more because I just had. My eyes and my mind to look at, to look at everything.

And I remember that trip so vividly. I mean, obviously I was doing something a bit crazy, but also I remember it more than anything else, any holiday I’ve ever been on, anything like that. And I actually put that down to. Not having anything modern to distract me. And to just really, I dunno, engaging with my [00:10:00] surroundings and really feeling it as well.

I think that’s what the clothes did. I really felt that weather and I would like be freezing cold at night, just waiting for the morning, just sitting up with my hot water bottle, waiting for the sun. So obviously then. You know, start loving the sun and yeah, it was really interesting actually doing it that way and how it changes your relationship with what’s around you.

And I suppose who’ll say sort of being in the moment gave you that time to reflect and take it off. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And we did a lot, so we were all day long. We were kind of walking and walking in which again gives you, you know, a lot of time to kind of think and look around. And once I’d got everything on, it was a bit of a pack cost on his side, everything that she would have had on me.

But once I was going in, it was just all that time to kind of yeah. Reflect and take in. And obviously I had her book with me, so I was reading what she would have written when she was there. And yeah, it [00:11:00] was amazing. It was me. And food. Is that quite difficult or was it very much sort of buying local feed?

From the, well, from the locals? Of course. But it was, it, was it sort of difficult to get, get hold of. No, not really. So I did what she did and she would just go into people’s houses along the way and give them a bit of money and they cook her food. So we took quite a lot of food with us. So I tried to keep the team, I think, because this whole project for me is kind of about inspiring women and showing what these amazing women are the past it, I try to keep the whole team female.

So I had a female mountain guide and I had Emily who came along in the film. But female porters, aren’t a thing in India. They are in Nepal, I think now. But we were joined by five, like amazing guys from latching, which is this really amazing town, like nestled deep in the Himalayas most beautiful place.

So they came with us and they carried sort [00:12:00] of emergency equipment, cameras, staff bits of food, but we shared all out between us. And yeah, we just cooked as we went and we also stayed in. As we pass people’s houses, we just ate amazing. But potato Curry basically, which they were all cooking, which was incredible and get to meet people, a lot of Tibetan refugees in the area as well.

So they will have amazing kind of stories and lovely, like gentle, beautiful people. So yeah, that’s kind of what we did for food, which was amazing. Cause that’s what she would have exactly what she did as well. So, and also, I suppose, when you are up in the mountain, Not much probably has changed in those hundred years.

Yeah, exactly. And I see when we got to her cave, this is where it really hit me. So. Her cave was really important part of her story because she, she was actually the first Western woman to meet the Dalai Lama. And he told her she needed to learn to better learn and practice more Buddhism. So she [00:13:00] basically got herself, a teacher who was a really high Buddhist in latching and they went.

She lived in one cave for two years and he lived in the other and she basically meditated there learn her to my breathing, which kept her warm, which is only how she kept warm I’ve discovered because I couldn’t do that. And yeah, and so when I was in her cave, looking out, I was actually thinking, you know, this landscape, it won’t have changed in a hundred years and India, the country and our surrounding.

Everything, you know, culturally it’s changed loads. So second was its own country until 1975. So when she was there, it was completely different. But yeah, looking at the mountains, I was like, this is amazing because this is exactly. What she would have been looking at. And what’s the sort of moment that you look back on that trip, where was the sort of, one of the amazing moments that really stuck out for you?

I think so the whole point of doing that bit of the trip. So I did the. A bit of [00:14:00] her 14 year journey. And this was where she got the first views of Tibet and it kind of triggered her the rest of the 14 years, you know, going, I need to get into this country because Tibet, it was very closed off as it is now.

You can’t just, you couldn’t travel around freely. So she went up this path to look over and to try and find a way in. So that’s why I wanted to do this, but, and actually the main point where you can look over. And see into Tibet is near Mount Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest peak in the world, which I didn’t even know was there, like it’s up there with Everest in these, in this.

Second wreck. It’s crazy. So that was the bit where we were trying to aim to get to, and it was kind of the last bit of the trip. And so much had happened before we got there, but we managed to kind of climb up the side of this. It’s called the zooming glacier. So it comes all the way down from out contingent.

Like absolutely amazing. So we climbed all the way up there and the end and got the same [00:15:00] views that she would have had all those years ago across into Nepal and Tibet. So that was definitely the highlight. And also because we thought had quite a lot of points, we weren’t going to make it. So just being there with a pretty, pretty great.

And so she took 12 years to do this. Yeah, not that bit of the, the journey. So she was, yeah, the entire trip. Yeah. She took 14 years basically. Cause she just kept, she went through China, she went all different ways. Just trying to get into Tibet. And every time she got to a border, they would turn her away or she’d be like, So one would tell on the British and they’d come and get her and bring her out.

So yeah, she just, and that’s another thing, just persistence, 14 years of trying. And eventually she managed to get in and she described herself as that sorts of pilgrims that go into laws. But his program. So she kind of dressed as a man and covered her face and certain, obviously she could speak the language at the time.

So she [00:16:00] managed to disguise herself and get in and. Read these ancient Buddhist doctrines, which we’ve received, no one else had ever seen before. So yeah. Wow. God. And I suppose what was the sort of moments we should look back on or say. Did you have any sort of scary times? Yeah, I think mainly it was the code.

Cause obviously I was in an old canvas 10. I had, my yak will co and then I was just sleeping in blankets, which is all I could find that she had. But luckily she had the two hoard bottles and pretty much all night. Refill them and sleep with them by the, I didn’t even sleep in the tent. I just called up by the fire.

So you can imagine kind of what state I was in by the end of a month. But yeah, I, it just got so cold at times. It was scary, like really, really cold. I mean, it would go. Minus 10 minus 15. It was really bad. And then and I, I liked the warm, [00:17:00] I like being on a beach. So for me it was a real shock because I’d never actually been to mountains like that before.

And the hot water bottles saved me. I mean, I didn’t sleep much because I was just by the fire all night, making sure it didn’t go out. And then also when you get above a certain altitude that the trees were going. So that was, I was walking around kind of collecting sticks, manically, just thinking, God, if we get any higher, I’m not gonna be able to have a fire.

So I think it was the cold. Yeah, there were times where it was so cold. Yeah, it was, it was scary because up there, what sort of altitude are you at? We went up to 5,100, I think. Which obviously if you kind of do it slowly, it’s fine. But we did feel basically all the different permits and second, they all got a bit mixed up.

So we have. A different bit of the trip. First, we ended up going really high quite quickly, which I know absolutely you should do, but we didn’t really have a choice. [00:18:00] So yeah, the first week was we were all quite sick to be honest. But yeah, I mean, yeah, about 5,000, which is high and it means you just, I mean, I was going slow anyway, walking, but yeah, it was slow, slow going.

And you were there for how long? A month. Oh, God. Wow. And, and I suppose, sort of coming back, did, do you feel because as you said, you suffered with anxiety, did that sort of help not cure it, but alleviate it and you know what? I really thought it was. Thought, oh, I’ve done this amazing thing now, you know, I can do anything.

And then I actually got back and I just, you know, it was almost worse than ever. It was, it was crazy. But I think it was just such a big change, you know, and actually over, you know, over the next few months, it definitely helped. But initially getting back, I mean, you might know if you’ve been on sort [00:19:00] of long trips, it’s a big assault on the sense, especially if you’ve been in the mountains with.

No equipment and no one talking to you is quite overwhelming. Yeah. I, I always find when you sort of been out in the countryside and then you come back to a city it’s incredibly overwhelming, probably for people listening. In a sense lockdown. You were three months not being able to see anyone talk to anyone, then suddenly be chucked into a birthday party.

Oh, my worth. So yeah, it was a bit of a shortcoming back, but I think in the long term then, yeah, it’s definitely obviously helped. But yeah, I always say speed. We know you don’t need to, don’t need to go and walk through the Himalayas with a chair on your back to kind of get through your anxiety and help, you know, even if you just have a walk in the park, like anything like that is good.

Yeah, you don’t need to see why I did, although it sounds like the most [00:20:00] incredible event. Yeah, it was, it was amazing life changing, I’d say. Yeah, and yeah, and just the people I met and Django who was my fit, the guide that I found, she was absolutely amazing and actually was told by so many people you’ll never find a female mountain guide in India.

It’s not something that women they’re doing. And I looked for months and months, and then actually a friend of a friend of friend knew someone who might know someone. And yeah, I ended up being put in touch with her and she was incredible, you know? Blazing the way for women. And she’s now open to homestay that has kind of a training school for girls who want to be mountain guides.

She’s really like blazing the trails for women out there. So yeah, she’s yeah, a friend for life. So, yeah. Also really inspiring so many ways, I suppose that was your first sort of big trip in a sense, or really not about [00:21:00] past. And spirit inspirational female adventurers from the path, let’s say.

And then you went into nine shepherd, the living mountain. Yeah. So I wanted to do someone closer to home and I’d always known of this birth. And my mum gave me a copy. She was like, you have to read this. It’s amazing. And I read it and I thought, oh, I need to do that. I need to go and find these places and try and understand this book on a deeper level of what Nan would do.

Kind of experience while she was writing it. And then the more I looked into it, the more amazing her story was, you know, she’d put that book in a drawer for 70 years or something because no one would publish it at the time because it was an unusual format. It was, she wasn’t taken that seriously. And yeah, eventually it got published.

This sort of masterpiece and really, really sort of celebrated book now. So yeah, so I wanted to do something close also again, cause a lot of people I know hadn’t really heard of [00:22:00] Nan shepherd. Even though she’s on the she’s on the new Scottish five pound note now even when I was there and I said, oh, people are, do you know who this woman is?

No one really knew. But yeah, she’s amazing has an amazing story. And I’d also never been to Scotland. Could you believe it? So I just really wanted to go. Yeah. I only discovered her actually on this podcast because we had Jenny tough on an episode three and it was her favorite book and I’d never sort of heard about it.

And then your story as well, trying to recreate Nan Shepherd’s experience in. And Scotland was just incredible. Yeah. And I think, I just, cause that trip was more, I didn’t have a plan route cause she just writes about different locks and different places. And so I just went round with the book. It had all my stuff on my back and I just went around and found all the places that she talks about in the book.

And it was [00:23:00] really amazing to kind of be there and again with the old clothes. So. She wrote that at the end of the second world war. And it was actually going into the mountains, was her kind of escape from all the horrors that were going on. And I think that’s why that book is so strong and powerful because all that was going on around her.

But I ended up. Searching like what she would have had to eat. And then obviously it was the war, so everything was rationed. But again, I was really surprised. So there was mass bars, they were around things like this. They had, they have tampons that, oh, there’s lip balm. So I was like, great. I can take all this stuff with me.

So yeah, and then I just kind of wandered around in this old Tweed coat again, very itchy and this old sort of army 10 and found all the places that she writes about. And again, in the old clothes, it was amazing. It was just sideways raining when I first got there. And I just was like, this is miserable.

This is horrible. But [00:24:00] actually after a few days, I really kind of learned after reading the book, she kind of talks about the ecosystem and how everything has its place. And in the end, I kind of thought actually, yeah, like the rain is here because it’s doing something. So I shouldn’t hate the rain and things like that.

And all this stuff, you know, it became a bit of a. It’s like a mindfulness journey. Wow. And say for people listening, you know, going back to sort of 1940, what what sort of food were you eating when you were up there? Apart from deep fried Mars bars? Oh, they weren’t that you fried, unfortunately. And also I think.

A few too many miles, but it’s because they were rationed. Right. You’ve got the tiniest bit. I had a hole there. Maybe I cheated a little bit. But now it’s like potatoes jam eggs. Oh, start of, I just made stews like Kara. Things like that. And actually that was the best bit of the day, get [00:25:00] my little army stave out and I’m kicking up my carrots and having a wash in the, in the river and the logs.

But yeah, it was after the initial week of the torrential rain and sideways wind. Yeah, it actually, the sun came out and it was the most incredible experience. It was incredible that that whole landscape in the catacombs there’s amazing. Yeah, I went swimming the locks and did everything that she does an amazing passage in the living mountain where she goes naked into one of the locks.

So I did that as well, just on my own, like in the middle of nowhere CA it was really incredible. Wow. God. Yeah, it’s got Scotland has a habit of throwing up some extreme weathers from time to time. I thought it’d be warmer in June. That’s why I chased Jean. Was that the sort of, same as Nan shepherd.

Well, she, she actually lived there. So that was the little differences that [00:26:00] she, she had a house there, but she’d wonder across, you know, the whole Kango plateau for days, but she did it over a lifetime. So yeah, so I just went for three weeks, I think it was in the end. So yeah, so she would have kind of kept going back all the time, but.

Yeah. I just immersed myself in the three weeks I had. What was the sort of feelings like between Scotland and India in terms of recreating these two store? The themes. Did you say the feeling? Oh, the feelings. Yeah. They were really different actually. I think India, because it was the first while it was really overwhelming.

And I think the whole time I was just kind of overwhelmed and I’d never been to that kind of scenery. I’ve never really seen anything like that. So the whole thing was just. Not overwhelming in a bad way. Just everything was, I was just fascinating and I don’t really know how to explain it. Just overwhelming, [00:27:00] just the word.

But with the Scotland one, I was a bit more confident in myself and I kind of knew a bit more about what I was doing. So I think I had a bit more time to appreciate it. And also India, it was manic. We had a lot of ground to cover. So we were walking for eight or nine hours a day constantly. So by the time we kind of set up camp and I made my fire, I’d just pass out on the floor.

So I didn’t have that much time, I guess, for reflection or to write my journal. Whereas in Scotland, I had all the time in the world. So I was just wondering around and my own pace. And that was the hardest thing at first was actually. Just learning to be still. And I’d be sitting there with no modern stuff thinking, oh, what do I do now?

Set up camp. Like, what do I do? And by the end, I just learned to just sit there, literally just sit and look around. And I’ve definitely taken that from that trip. You know, how often do you just sit on your sofa and just do nothing? And I’ve tried to kind of bring that into my life now where you don’t have to be.

Doing [00:28:00] something all the time. It’s fine to just set. Yeah. And appreciate things I suppose. And I did a lot more writing on, on that trip because I had the time we kind of went to bed when the sun did and got up when the sun rose. So yeah, it was, there were really different, really different trips, I suppose.

It’s sort of like a form of meditation. Just being there with your thoughts and breathing without the sort of stimulation of. In a modern calms of your Fein TV computer. Yeah, absolutely. And also I find walking is quite meditative as well. So the whole thing, yeah, it was just like one, maybe it was my pilgrimage tense.

I don’t know if I came back actually feeling very Zen. I have to say. Yeah, I’m very clear headed. And how did that sort of, that sort of trip sort of adapt you into going back into London again? Yeah, again, I [00:29:00] think it’s, it was really hard. And also I got the train overnight train. So you literally get in at 7:00 AM.

When all the commuters are going to work and it was just, and I didn’t have any other stuff apart from what I’d been wearing, because I didn’t have room for anything else. So I was just walking through Euston station at 7:00 AM, literally just. Yeah, I think coming back is always hard, always hard.

Especially if you’ve been that detached from modern life, like, I didn’t even really know what was going on in the news apart from a few people I met on the way and I’d ask them, oh, what’s going on in the world? Yeah, it takes a bit of time to settle back in.

When I got back from one of my runs and Friday, I finished then on Monday, I was back into work, taking the tube ATM rush hour, and suddenly I was just like, it really does come over. You. I don’t know how to explain it. You just get this kind of overwhelming [00:30:00] feeling. Isn’t it. It’s, it’s really strange. It takes, it takes a while to sort of adjust back.

I always find, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Kind of get back in the routine. Yeah. And is there a sort of plan for the next. Yeah, definitely. I’ve got lots of, I actually had another one planned in Ireland, which was all funded for, and then obviously COVID happened. So that one is following in the footsteps of an old Irish pirate queen.

Who’s really, really epic. She’s called grace. So Molly and she was from like the 15 hundreds. So I would just love to get into that history and see what they actually had back then. I don’t even know what they had, but because she, yeah, she was. She traded a lot overseas, so she actually had a lot of stuff from Africa.

So her little bit of Ireland, you know, her castle apparently was full of spices and different animals, skins, and all this kind of thing that the rest of Ireland didn’t have. And yeah, she was quite famous because she [00:31:00] was the only female clan leader kind of in history. And I really want to recreate.

A journey. She did in a boat to Greenwich where she met with queen Elizabeth. So that’s definitely one I want to do. And also Freya stark in Iraq and Iran. So I’m working on that one at the moment. So hopefully that’ll be next year as well. And there might be another Scotland one next year, too.

So first up, what did she do in Iraq? So she raise a bit of an archeologist, so she actually. Went around looking for archeology, basically. But she did lots of other stuff as well, but she wrote a book called the valley of the assassins, which is quite famous. Actually. It’s one of the more famous female Explorer books.

Cause they’ve all got all these amazing books, but no one ever really bought them at the time. So yeah, so she went and did that when all through that, which is around, which is actually, it’s been quite hard for British [00:32:00] passport holders to get into recently, but I think it’s changed. This month, actually.

So hopefully we can do around. And then she also went to Kurdistan, which is the bit at the top of Iraq which has beautiful mountains and she just traveled around there. Yeah, looking for archeological sites basically. So I’d love to. Do that and following her footsteps as well. So yeah, there’s lots.

I mean, I’ve got a list now of about 50 women say sinless. Yeah. I suppose once you find one or two, certainly they will come. You suddenly find this amazing collection because over history you do hear these sort of stories about these incredible women doing amazing stuff from flying, driving. Doing these incredible hikes and all sorts, and they’re there to be discovered.

But as I say, the sort of publicity back in the day was a bit more difficult. Yeah. And [00:33:00] I think, yeah, it was very, obviously the guys, the men got all the glory, but I always say these women have it. And a lot of them disguise themselves as men as well. They would dress up one of them. Boat a sailing boat full of men for six months and pretended to be a man.

And I don’t know how that’s possible, but she did because otherwise they weren’t allowed to go a lot of the time. Which again is fascinating that they would do that just to kind of go on a trip somewhere. It’s yeah, it’s incredible. So yeah, there’s a lot of them. Yeah. Wow. God, what a, what an absolutely incredible story.

And it was one of the reasons when I sort of discovered what you did. I was just so keen to sort of hear the story about it because it’s such a cool way of recreating these adventures from the past. But you do take it to quite an extreme for last, the fun bit. Right. And that’s the thing, sorry. Yeah. The other piece, I think other [00:34:00] people have also, you know, followed in these women’s footsteps and kind of highlighted their journeys.

Again, I think it’s so important to do what they have because that’s just showing how hard it was. And I think we kind of forget that now because we’ve got all our amazing equipment. Don’t get me wrong. I love her. I love a north face jacket, but I appreciate that even more now. No, I know. Yeah. I’m sure.

Especially with the itchy Tweed or whatnot. Yeah, exactly. It’s been absolutely incredible sort of hearing these stories. There’s a part of the show where we ask the same five questions to each guest each week. And this is probably going to be a bit difficult, this first question, because it’s what gadget do you always take with you on

No idea how it’s not a gadget, but it’s a wooden. And I’m a tiny little mirror. That’s actually completely ruined now. And this mirror has been through a lot with me. It’s [00:35:00] been to festivals festival and I got it. Like my stocking, my dad put it in my stocking when I was really young and it’s completely ruined now, but I always have this tiny little mirror.

That’s actually only got half a mirror left in it. And my wouldn’t comb. So those two things. Yeah.

Yeah. When I, when I sort of bounce Rita, I was like, catch it. This is going to be difficult with yeah. You get some people talking about camera lenses, and exactly. What about your favorite adventure or travel book? I was, so now I have lots. But yeah, so overseas, my journey to laws. Alexandra David nil.

But I’ve actually been reading so many now. And I just read a modern one called the salt par by rhino in, and I think that might be my new favorite. It’s absolutely amazing. So obviously the old books, but [00:36:00] yeah, that’s probably my new favorite travel book and she walks around the Southwest Cove coast coast path of the UK.

And it’s just so, so beautifully written and it’s made me want to go and walk around there. Maybe I’ll do that in my spare time. Yeah. Around the sort of Jurassic coast area. Yeah. Y while these adventures important. Oh, I think, oh, they’re important because it’s kind of shining a light on these women that were kind of forgotten all those years ago.

And still now I think they’re becoming more forgotten. So for me, it’s just really about highlighting their story. And also, I guess, just trying to inspire people to go and do their own adventure. Like I said earlier, you know, you don’t have to. We’re a chair on your back, goes to them. He can do anything.

And I really believe now in, obviously it’s been proved that, you know, how nature can help your mental health. So even if it’s [00:37:00] just going to a park for a little bit of time, things like that, I just, yeah, I think that’s kind of just to show that as well. I think that’s so true. It’s the idea of adapting and getting outside because it’s so easy.

Nowadays sort of be insight, be on your phone and unfortunately sort of social media and all sorts are, they’re just such easy conveniences and it’s so easy to be on your fence suddenly for like 20 minutes, half an hour. Where did that just go? Absolutely. And I’m guilty of it too. Like I actually hate social media, but I do it because, but I end up scrolling and scrolling.

Okay. I have to be really strict myself, but it’s addictive and sometimes you just need to put it away and. Yeah, yeah. Outside, especially the last year. It’s been really tough. So yeah.

designed to be yeah. Yeah, definitely. That’s why you’re [00:38:00] sort of like, oh, that’s cool. That’s interesting. A little rabbit hole people you’re able to look out. God horrible. The joys. Yeah. I think it’s so important. This. Put it down, go outside, go for a run, go for a walk, whatever it may be. And just give yourself the opportunity to have that time and space to yourself.

Yeah, absolutely. It’s so important. Definitely. What about your favorite quote? Oh, well I know that one, I found to show what the will of a woman can do. Alexandra David deal with 1912.

Yeah, that’s probably my favorite. Great. I would say and finally people listening are always keen to go on these sort of adventures. What’s the one thing you would recommend for people wanting to get started by a map that has walking routes rather [00:39:00] than roads or. Okay. Well, I just, so when I first I’d never organized anything like this, I’ve never done something like this.

So ordered all these maps. Cause I was like, oh, I need to look at the route where I can walk, but they will just wrote, you know, you need to get specific, which I’m sure everyone already knows that, but that’s something I didn’t know. I didn’t really know anything about this kind of thing. So that was probably my first light bulb.

Yeah, I would say that. And also the, if you think something’s not possible I would say it probably is. So just keep, keep going. Cause especially in India where I wanted to go or the people I was trying to organize it with. Like, no people don’t go there. We don’t walk there. That’s not where tourists go, but I kind of made us go, you know, you just have to keep pushing and then you can eventually get to these places.

I think anything’s possible. Yeah. Keep pushing, keep trying perseverance. That’s the word I’m [00:40:00] looking for? Yeah. And finally, what are you doing now? And how can people follow your trips and adventures in the. Amazing. Yeah. So I mainly on Instagram actually, so that’s a good place to follow and I’ve got website as well, which is women with altitude.com and then the Instagram is women without to change.

And yeah, and then you can follow me trying to get funding for my next, my next trip. And I put everything on there, so yeah, you can chat to me on there and send me messages or whatever, if you’ve got any questions and I suppose, sort of funding. So we’re doing two things at the moment. I’m going out to channels at the moment to try and get like a series.

Funded, I suppose. So we can kind of highlight a load of these women, which is obviously really, really difficult. So in the meantime, I’m just going to companies. And so for instance, for the grace O’Malley trip in Ireland, I’ve been writing to Guinness [00:41:00] who are yet to reply. But just companies like that because I get a lot of press coverage from these trips.

So there’s a lot in it for them. So, yeah, so just trying to find companies that are willing to kind of sponsor me and help me out really. So yeah, that’s what, I’m what I’m doing at the moment. Yeah. Because you’ve been recently all over sort of BBC. Yeah. That was yeah, that was crazy actually.

Yeah. We just filmed a little piece for BBC London. Cause obviously I live in London. And then it kind of went a bit. And I ended up on BBC breakfast, which is so funny, but yeah. So it’s going really well at the moment. So yeah, now’s the time to kind of get on the funding and try and sort out the next trips.

Well, it has been such a pleasure listening to your stories. Thank you. I can’t thank you enough for coming on today. Thanks for having me. [00:42:00] Oh, well, I can’t wait to sort of follow your adventures in the future. And hopefully if this podcast can help towards funding and anyone out that would be amazing.

But yeah, it’s just been such a pleasure listening to it’s been a great chat, so thanks very much for asking me. Well, that is it for today. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you got something out of it. If you did hit that like button and subscribe, if you haven’t already, and I will see you in the next video.

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