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Mollie Hughes (EXPLORER)

In today’s episode, we have Mollie Hughes a British sports adventurer and explorer who in 2017 broke the world record for becoming the youngest woman to climb both sides of Mount Everest and in 2020 became the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole. In this podcast, we talk about those expeditions and the highs and lows of solo travel. We talk about what it takes to climb Mount Everest and the psychology of it.

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Transcript of our Conversation

Mollie Hughes

[00:00:00] Mollie Hughes: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the modern adventurer podcast coming up. The wind’s just raged. A couple of days it was like 45 knots going or 50 nights. Super strong winds. And every day I had to try and get out and try and ski in these conditions. Cause I had, you know, miles to make, or you had a certain amount of food and my sled behind me.

So the first year, nine days of this trip were absolute hell

On today’s show. We have Molly Hughes, a female Explorer who broke the record for becoming the youngest woman to summit both the North and South part of Mount Everest, as well as the youngest person to ski solo to the South pole. On today’s podcast. We talk about the highs and lows of [00:01:00] those expeditions and some of the amazing moments she’s had along the way.

I am delighted to introduce Molly Hughes to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. Well, you’ve been on quite a few adventures in recent years and. I mean, it’s truly incredible. You became the youngest person to summit both the North and South of Everest. And recently you’ve just got back from Antarctica after being the youngest person to solo ski to it.

But probably the best place to start is with you and how you got into these grant expeditions. Yeah, always good to start the beginning. So I grew up in Devin. I live up in Edinburgh now. But I grew up on the South coast of Devon little place called Torbay. Probably as far from any mountains as you can get in the UK.

So I didn’t climb any mountains until I was 17. And when I was 17, my school organized one of those [00:02:00] expeditions where you go off around the world. And we went to East Africa, we went to Kenya and did lots of charity work. And then at the end of the trip had the chance to climb Mount Kenya. And that was my first proper mountain climb to my first kind of taste of a bit of high altitude.

And I obviously loved it. And I think I did okay on it. I did pretty well. And like getting to the top of that mountain. I knew I was hurt. I knew that climbing mountains was something I was probably gonna do for the rest of my life. So then after that, I kind of kept going to school, went to uni and each kind of term, I would save up as much money as I could.

With random part-time jobs, I did everything from like selling ice cream on the beach in toll Bay to a lifeguard at the Lake was William pool. And I was say anything I could, and then in the summer girl from a different expedition with some friends around the world and climb as much as I could.

So yeah, I guess that’s, that’s kind of the beginning of it. So when you say you were sort of claiming we’re friends before the sort of big [00:03:00] ones, what, what were you sort of climbing? Was it mom belong or was it up in a sort of around sort of kurgastan or usually kind of big expeditions? And I think my first kind of.

The thing that drove me at the beginning was like a love for travel. And I love seeing the world and just kind of opening my eyes where I, where I came from a Devin is pretty small town. So that first trip to Kenya definitely opened my eyes. And then I wanted to see more and more. So the year after that, we went on that expedition to India, to the Himalayas there and did a bit of climbing and all sorts of other things.

The year after that, I think I was maybe. 19 the, after that, and we did a quick trip at the beginning of the summer to Morocco and climbed in the Atlas mountains. And then later on in the summer, we went off to the Andes in South America, Ecuador and decent climbing there. The year after that, I think we went back to East Africa, the Kilimanjaro but to the Alps, it’s in the pool quite a few times.

So yeah, just as much as I possibly could [00:04:00] to see the world, but also to incorporate a bit of climbing into those trips. Good. Wow. And so when, when did you have the idea? To climb Mount Everest. Yeah. So Everest came up when I was in my last year uni and it never been, yeah, my radar before. Like as I said, I wasn’t like seriously going after mountaineering or climbing.

I just did it as part of these trips. Cause I loved it and I loved it. Getting high on mountains is amazing. But Evers came up cause I was studying sports psychology at university, and I had to write my dissertation, which I’m sure, you know, it was a massive project, 10,000 words of writing. And there wasn’t particularly academic.

I was pretty disliked. I’m pretty dyslexic. So the idea of like sitting down and writing 10,000 words was terrifying. So I kind of like racking my brain of something really interesting. I could write about. To make sure I actually sat down and wrote this project. And I kinda thought what’s one of the biggest, like psychological challenges in mountaineering.

Cause I wanted to focus on [00:05:00] mountaineering cause I’ve been doing so much of it recently. And obviously Mount Everest brings to mind cause it’s the highest month in the world. It’s the most famous mountain in the world. And for this project I interviewed seven guys. Who do submitted? I can only find men at the time, unfortunately, but I found seven men around the UK and I went and met them all and interviewed them and asked them kind of about their motivations for doing it, their kind of ability to control, fear and anxiety on the mountain, the kind of psychological pressure that they all faced when they sat down at base camp, looking up at that huge mountain.

Just kind of talking to these guys and hearing their stories of walking through the Western Coombe or along the Northeast region, Mount Everest just totally inspired me. And I knew probably the first time I started writing about it. I didn’t want to just write about it. I want you to see these places with my own eyes.

And if I was lucky enough to get, get to the top. Gotcha. And so in terms of the psychology of climbing, Mount Everest [00:06:00] what do you think one of the biggest psychological barriers to climbing Mount Everest is good question. And th there’s tons like the guys that I interviewed all successfully submitted over a period of about 10 years.

But they all have really different psychological journeys on the mountains, different motivations for going there. And I think a strong motive for doing it is one of the most important things. There are two guys. I interviewed two, we’re doing it for a friend that they’d lost and it was always their friend’s ambition to summit Mount Everest.

But he unfortunately died. So they did it in his honor. And that seemed like such a strong motivator for them to keep putting one foot in front of the other. A couple of the other guys just did it as friends. They’re like a friendship group and it sounds like they had a super fun expedition just with people they knew really well.

And they just enjoyed the whole kind of journey on the North side. And that sounded like a really great way to do it as well, doing it with friends and just kind of enjoying it, not focusing too much on the summit. So [00:07:00] yeah, everyone had really different motives for being there. One of the challenges or one of the biggest challenges, I think it’s definitely the pressure that climate’s face on Everest.

And no matter what motive you’ve come from, the pressure is always there because you’ve either spent up to 50, 60,000 pounds to get there. Or you’ve raised the funding 50, 60,000 pounds, which I think is actually harder than spending your own money. So you spent all that money into it, you, but all that time and training into it.

You’ve probably been speaking about this for years, and then you’re sat down at base camp looking up at that huge mountain and you’re feeling rubbish. Like you’re a 5,000 years, you’ve got a headache. You’re pretty terrified. And as mountain, and you’re thinking, how enough am I going to get to get up there?

So really kind of work out how to balance us psychological pressure, I think is one of the only ways to kind of succeed on the mountain. And what was the psychology behind yours? Was it very much about, about the thrill to experience [00:08:00] it? Or was it more about something that had happened to you? Yeah, really good question.

And one, I don’t think I really. Analyzed or thought about it actually until quite recently. And when I was like a kid and when I was at school and even at uni, I was like pretty shy. I was always one of the shyest kid in the class. I would never put my hand up and say, you know, answer question. I remember just always going to bright red in class.

If, if a teacher asks me a question so never had that much like self-confidence, but I always kind of felt deep down inside of myself. I could do something and I could hopefully achieve something cool with my life. Even if I didn’t have that kind of. Confidence to shout about it. So I think in a way, when I started learning about Everest learning about the journeys that these guys went on, I thought, Hey, I could probably do that.

I might not have the confidence to start shouting about it just yet, but I think that might be something that I could do to prove to myself that I can actually achieve something with my life. Which is a bit weird in a way and a weird place to, to choose to do [00:09:00] that. But yeah, I think it was great. And I went in there and we had a great expedition and kind of the back of it.

I definitely gained so much more confidence. And just that kind of self-belief that I can do things and I can achieve things. So I think that was actually my motive for doing it at 21 to prove to myself that I could. Yeah. Nah, it’s a good, that’s a good one. And so you, the first one was when you were 21, the first summit was at Athene North or South face.

So that was on the South side. So the Nepalese side, Nepalese side. And how did the North and South really sort of compare because we’ve, we’ve had a few people on from Jordy Stewart to Lucy rivers, Buckley, and you know, they’re both, Stamets at different different sites. What what was, how did you find the sort of difference between them both?

Really different, really different. And I feel very lucky that [00:10:00] I’ve had a chance to do both the North and the South. The thing it’s hard to compare it too much because obviously I was very different when I went. And the first time when I was 21 on the South side, too, when I was. 26 on the North side, when I was 26, I was a much better Mountaineer, felt much older.

I’m much more sensible, much more experienced on the North side. And I think that’s probably why I love the North side way more than the South side. The South side, I was there in 2012 and it was a very busy season. It was the kind of the first year you saw all those cues on the Hillary step and people getting into trouble because of the overcrowding, many due to a small weather window.

But it just meant the mountain. The day I was up there was horrifically busy. And we had an amazing expedition on the South side is an incredible place like going through the country-wise fall. And the Western Coombe is gala. Lucy faces is absolutely amazing, but yeah, th the busy-ness of it. Was dangerous.

Absolutely. Whereas comparing [00:11:00] it could be the North side feel so much more reboot. It probably had about a third of the climbers on it. So when I submitted on the South side, I think about 150 to 200 submitted the same day when assumptions on the North side, we think there are probably around 25 to 30 people spread out over a whole day.

Which, which made such a huge difference. The nose had felt remote. It felt like proper mountaineering in a way, which I know is stupid to say on that Everest, but it felt, yeah, it was cool. They had a very small team on the North side and we just had a lot of fun. So yeah, I think fun and less busy was, was good.

And with the reason to go back again in summit, was that the motivation of the record or was that motivation? Just to try the North side. Yeah, I think it was a few reasons. Like I it’s been such a long time preparing to get to Everest the first time and interviewing all these guys and learning about it.

Half of them had done it from [00:12:00] the South side and half from the North side. So after I did the South side, I kind of always had this feeling that I only really seen half of the mountain and then experienced half of it. But I spent my life talking about it and I felt like I needed to go and see and experience the other side.

And that was, that was definitely one of the motivators. Also the North side is like steeped in history is where the first British teams were going in like the 1920s. And I wanted to see it, see Tibet and experience it. But then it also, I guess the South side, I did suffer a lot every day, every minute of every day, probably.

And the summit night was so tricky with. Or the people and just like my first time above 8,000 meters. So I suffered a lot and I got myself to the top button down just about. So I think I wanted to go back and really experience it as an older, slightly older person and more competent Mountaineer.

And just with that experience, I wanted to actually enjoy Everest and see if it [00:13:00] was everything I’d kind of built up in my head. And the North side definitely did that. We had an amazing couple of months on the North side. Yeah, it’s cool. It’s such a rich history behind it, then. I’m not surprised you wanted to go back.

And so that was 2017, and then you had the drive to go to Antarctica. Well, what was behind that motivation or was it simply by sort of pushing yourself a little bit further each time? So at Everest I got home and it always takes a good, like 12 months after big expedition to even start to think about what’s next because the suffering is still so fresh.

So after about 12 months, you kind of forget the pain a little bit. And just remember the good things. And I started to get a little bit obsessed with Antarctica, probably around that time. I used to live with a guy at a housemate who worked with a British Antarctic survey and he spent like a couple of field seasons down there [00:14:00] and he’d come back in the spring with amazing photos and stories and videos of Antarctica.

And that’s kind of when I, my eyes started opening up to this continent and I feel like once I get. A place or a mountain or something under my skin is all I can really think about. And I know that I want to go there and just experience it. It’s never really about these records or achieving anything.

It’s just about wanting to travel to these places and see them with you’re in eyes. Like you can read about them, you can hear about them, but it’s not until you’re actually bad that you can fully experience a particular environment. And Antarctica was so interesting. Like it’s this huge bust frozen continent.

It’s the world’s biggest desert? No like humans have ever permanently lived there. There’s hardly anything like in the center of Antarctica. There’s nothing there not even bacteria can grow because it’s so cold and so inhospitable. So yeah, obviously I wanted to go and see it, see it with my own eyes.

[00:15:00] But getting to Antarctica takes a lot. If you don’t work for something like the British Antarctic survey, if you’re not a scientist you can go as a tourist, but that costs crazy amounts of money. So I knew I had to go and do an expedition down there, an expedition that I could hopefully get funded by, by sponsors like I do with, with all of my trips.

So yeah, I found do some research and found the expedition that would go from Hokies and look, which is kind of where. The landmass meets the sea ice and the Tosca right on the kind of edge of the continent. And if I skied from there to the South pole like 700 miles and if I did it solo, then I would be the youngest woman to do it solo.

So we’d getting sponsorship and, and trying to fund these experts. You always had to find like a USP or a record or something that you can target. So yeah, I found that. That record, they will be the youngest at the age of 29. And so, okay. That’s what I got to do. And this is my, my target to try and raise the thousands and thousand pounds I need.

Good. And so in terms [00:16:00] of sponsorship, how, how long did it take you to raise that sort of money? Almost 12 months, I think for Antarctica is it always incredibly hard? And I kind of thought it would start to get a bit easier because I’ve started to get a track record of, you know, being successful on these trips, but it did it, it was unbelievably hard.

But yeah, in the end I managed to see a secure or by about six weeks before I was going to leave. Wow. God, which was good. Cause Everest, the first time was four weeks before, a little bit better. So six weeks before signed the dotted line, the contract and you’re like, Oh my God. Amazing. Right. Yeah. And so landing in going from.

Edinburgh or, or at the time to Antarctica, it’s quite a mission in terms of you have to fly to Chile or New Zealand and then fly from Chile to. So you [00:17:00] fly from Purina and Chile to a big camp could union glacier. Cause the majority of the kind of expedition on Tosca are run by an American company called Antarctic logistics and they have a big camp called union glacier on the kind of close to the kind of edge of, of Antarctica an amazing camp.

Like people go there who are going to do trips like I’m going to do. People go there. If they’re going to go and climb Mount Vincent, or if they’re going to go to visit like the penguin colonies on the coast. So it was like a hub of all sorts of random people from around the world. All there to do different trips and different expeditions.

So yeah, I really cool place to, to start a big expedition like that. Huh? Good. And so how did it, how was the feeling like when you sort of arrived and you were sort of prepping, you’d got your sledge and you knew that you were about to spend two months in complete isolation. Yeah. So arrive at union glacier had about three days there [00:18:00] to do well, the kind of last minute prep pack up my sled.

Do you mind kind of checks with the comms team? Cause there there’s a small comms team who every evening I would have to ring them up on my sat phone and give them my location, let them know I was okay. And so do all the checks for them. Meet the doctors that are, the camp goes through my first aid kit.

Get to know them. So if I’ve got any problems, I can ring them up and have a chat. So doing all that kind of last minute prep also getting used to the cold a little bit, getting used to the 24 hour daylight, which was really cool. And yeah, just in all the last minute checks over there three days, and then suddenly it was time to fly to hope isn’t it, which is just like a short half hour or so flight from union glacier.

And then getting dropped off, that was kind of the start of the trip. And I was, you know, finally alone in Antarctica. And so you’re sort of taking off, you had two months where there was this sort of amazing moments from that trip. [00:19:00] Many amazing moments. Should I, maybe I talk about the hardest moments first, because.

It started. Okay. You started really badly. Okay. Let’s let’s, let’s start with a terrible thing. Okay. The good stuff happened later. But I guess like the first two hours were quite good. I’ve began two, two hours out of two months. So I’ve forgotten the plane flew off. Leslie now. I began along the, kind of the CIS of Hokies and LA, which is flat, the sled that was pulling behind me with all my gear in it was moving really well.

Cause it’s flat really hard packed after about two hours, I kind of got to the edge of the inlet and started on the incline. And actually most people don’t really realize, but if you do a trip like this, To the South pole, you’re basically going uphill the whole way. Cause you start close to sea level.

And then the South pole is at like 2,800 and something meters above sea level. So it’s pretty much uphill the whole way. And as I hit that incline, that [00:20:00] first incline, the winds really picked up and they were kind of flowing downhill towards me. At that point I remember looking behind me and seeing these massive clouds coming over the horizon.

And I didn’t realize at the time, but. These clouds and this weather front that was coming in was going to stick to me for the next nine days or so. And I experienced the worst weather I’ve ever experienced in my life. The following morning, my first proper morning I woke up and my whole temp was shaking violently in the wind.

I looked out and it was a complete whiteout. So I don’t know if you’ve been in a whiteout before, but it’s basically when the cloud comes into your, basically less than a meter of visibility. And left looks the same as right. And not looks the same as down. And it’s so kind of disorientating and that white out just stuck on me for eight days straight.

I say eight days, it didn’t let up. The wind’s just raged. A couple of days it was like 45 knots going or 50 knots super strong winds. And everyday I had to try [00:21:00] and get out and try and ski in these conditions. Cause I had, you know, miles to make, or you had a certain amount of food and my sled behind me.

So the first year, nine days of this trip were absolute health. Yeah, it really kind of hit me straight away. Antarctica. Wasn’t like, let me add a tool. I’m just trying to get through this first nine days was the struggle. I was hardly making any progress I was aiming to do about 12 nautical miles a day.

And the first few days I did. Three and a half, four, five, if I was lucky, like hardly moving uphill, deep snow, it was, it was horrific. So yeah, not until day nine. Did the whiteout finding clear and when it did finally clear and I could finally see more than a meter in front of me. I just cried. I just cried so much, just like all of that emotion from nine days just, just came off and I, I cry is horrific, like hysterically to, to nobody in Antarctica.

We ha we had Jenny Wordsworth on the show in episode [00:22:00] 19, who I think was down there at a similar time. And she sort of said that she always made sure never to open the tent before she was dressed. Yeah, that’s a good, good technique. I’ll tell you. Did you, did you follow that? Did I find that? Yeah, I probably did.

But like the thing is you can, when it’s really windy and horrible, you can hear it, you know, you wake up in the night when it was like, yeah, exactly. But that is a good tip because if you were to look out, you maybe wouldn’t want to get out of your sleeping back in some of that weather. So once the sort of relief of that nine day storm had passed, you were probably opened up into this sort of.

Vast white expanse. Yeah, totally. It must been amazing. Yeah. I saw when I came out with the whiteout where these three mountains could the three sales mountains and luckily that was actually the point I was navigating towards for the last nine days or so. So it was good to know I was [00:23:00] in the right place.

But I think when it first started to kind of open up, I couldn’t tell what it was. I think maybe my vision had got a bit weird, cause I hadn’t seen anything like nine days, but it just looked like these three big gray things like, and it was hard to tell like the distance, how far away they were from me.

And at first I thought it was like a massive plane, just like hovering in the sky. I think I was probably getting a bit crazy at the time, but as the cloud cleared more and more, I realized it was these three beautiful mountains. And that was such a relief to see. And then kind of on from there, I guess I quite quickly realized that.

There’s not really much in Antarctica is basically just like white, as far as you can see in every direction. After those mountains, there were another small range around about my halfway point. Then after that, there’s just nothing. So there’s literally such a lack of like visual stimulation. So there’s nothing to see apart from white.

Sensory stimulation. There’s nothing too to smell or taste [00:24:00] or experience down there. So you’re so yeah, sensory deprived on an, on an expedition in Antarctica, especially if you’re doing it solo. There’s also no one to talk to you. I was about to say, and then another, along with all that, you’re allaying with your own thoughts.

I mean that it was quite something. Yeah, it’s a weird experience. And I think the beginning was such a struggle for me. It was unbelievably hard. And then when the sun finally came out I started making slightly better decisions and that was the point that I decided to get a resupply. So at the halfway point, according to get 10 more days of food drop that.

Because of my time, I was about seven days behind schedule and I kind of worked out that I would have to do like 16 nautical miles a day for the next 35 days to get to the South pole with the food that I had. And I realized that that wasn’t the kind of expedition I wanted to run down there. I didn’t want to be like, I didn’t go there to break any kind of speed or time [00:25:00] records.

I went in there because I wanted to see and experience Antarctica. And if I was rushing like that, just to get this kind of record of being unsupported, I knew that. That totally. Wasn’t what I was there for. I didn’t want to risk injury. I wanted to go and enjoy it. So after I caught in this resupply, I relaxed a lot more into the expedition.

I knew I’d have plenty of food, plenty of fuel to get me to the end. And I could just totally do it within my own time, under my own steam. And that’s when things totally starting to improve. And with that, I think I found some sort of Headspace. Because I would literally ski for like an hour and a half stop for a 10 minute break ski for an hour and a half.

And during that kind of hour and a half, my main aim would literally be to lose my head. And one of my head just to disappear away from this like white world into memories or into future. Plans, future ambitions. And it was amazing how much my, my head and my brain kind of opened up when there was [00:26:00] no other stimulation around me there was one day where for about an hour or so, I kind of relived this like school sports day from when I was like seven years old.

And it was all these memories that I didn’t even know where my head. But I kind of remembered it in every state, tiny minute detail from like the morning in the classroom to like the egg and spoon race at the end of the day. Like I remembered every tiny detail and it was amazing to find out that those kind of memories busted in my head, even though I didn’t know there were, so I think, yeah, that lack of sensory stimulation and in anything down there did do some amazing things to, to accessing different parts of my brain and my memory.

I think you’ve just given me flashbacks to my seven-year-old sports day as well. I can spin rates as well. Yeah. The sort of 17 meter dash in the field, little, little Oak tree in the corner. Yeah. Good thing to think about when you’re scan along in Antarctica, I think. Yeah, because I, [00:27:00] when you see the solo expeditions, it’s I find it’s a very sort of therapeutic and sort of like a form of meditation you are because your day-to-day life is you get up and you are walking, you know, And that’s all you do.

And so you have a lot of time to think, unless you have like a podcast or some music in your ears. But you have so much time with your thoughts. And so you get these sort of flashbacks all the time.

Unbelievable amount of head space down there. And I think you kind of appreciate stuff a little bit more as well. Cause I remember one day like Antarctica is a really windy place. Like. Almost every day I was horrifically windy and there’s always like a headwind as well, coming at you, but through a a couple of days where the wind just died off completely.

And when it does that in Antarctica and when you were alone the silences. [00:28:00] Incredible. I don’t think there’s silence like that anywhere else in the world, probably. And I remember one day because you don’t really hear it until you stop because as you’re skiing along, your skis are scraping your, your kit is rustling your sleds making noise.

But I remember one day I was probably about five days from the pole. And I remember just stopping and sitting on my sled for a break. And there was zero wind whatsoever. It was reasonably warm because the sun was shining down on me. And I just sat on my sled. And every other day I’ve been so regimented with my 10 minute breaks.

But when this day I just kind of. Melted away into the silence and the silence was so deafening and so kind of all encompassing. And I was probably Sam, I said for like half an hour before I realized I should definitely start skiing towards the pole. So yeah, there was kind of amazing parts of Antarctica I think will stay with me for a long time.

And how, how, what was the finish? Like how did you feel when you finally got to the little bull at the South pole? Amazing. Yeah, so I, I [00:29:00] stopped the night before, about five miles from the South pole. For a few reasons, I w I didn’t want to, cause if I’d kept going that night, I would have had like a 18 month day and I could have done it, but I really wanted to arrive at the South pole fresh.

And to remember it because I’ve read so many stories and accounts of people that push really hard for the last bit. And then they don’t really remember getting to the Poland sort of big rush, but I was like, no, this is what I’d been skiing towards for the last. 58 days, you know, I’m going to enjoy this.

So I stopped just five miles before, has a nice, slight final night by myself, which was kind of some kind of therapeutic thing I think, to ending the expedition. And then the next morning I woke at really early, because I was pretty excited to, to get into the pole and see other people. So I skied the last kind of five nautical miles to about three hours or so really pleasant, ski.

I came into camp. It was really early in the morning because. I left really early. So I was at eight in the morning and I skied into camp and unfortunately everyone was still in bed. [00:30:00] Her skied in, you know, expecting some like fireworks or something, everyone was just sleeping, but I managed to wake them up and yeah, there were a few people I knew there.

Jenny was there another female skier code Anya from Germany. Who’s who’s amazing. So she just arrived the day before me. And then Devin, the account manager who would help with all my prep phase petition. So it was great to see them get my first kind of hugs in a couple of months. And then from the camp, I ski down to the little ball, the, the actual South pole.

And yeah, it was quite emotional, you know, cause you’ve focused on that point for so long in the trip and then you’ve finally done it and you’re there because I guess on my Everest, by the time you get to the top, there’s never that. Sense of achievement or anything cause you still got to get down the mountain again.

But when I finally got to South port, I knew that was it. Like I could take off my skis and maybe never put them on again. And that was okay. Yeah, no, it was, it was a nice feeling. God, what a story? Well, [00:31:00] that’s amazing. I must say it just, must’ve been such a, an amazing moment as well to sort of finish it.

Yeah, I’ve, I’ve sort of always, I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica, so yeah. Oh, you should. It’s it’s incredible place like yeah, you could, it’s hard to describe because it’s so vast and. And white. Well, that’s kind of, it actually is vast and white. Yeah. I, it’s funny. You sort of, when you describe it, I, well, it must everyone listening must be just like why?

I mean, if it’s just a vast desert of whiteness, what would it, how does that appeal to you? But I don’t know. There’s, there’s some draw to Antarctica. I always find, and it unfortunately is becoming harder and harder, but no, it’s. It just sounds like an amazing place to go. It’s different to anywhere else.

Really just the scale of it. It kind of almost feels like you’re on a, another planet and maybe it’s partly due to like the 24 hour light or they’re just not being anyone there, but knowing that there’s no one around [00:32:00] you for such a long way, and there’s just nothing and you’re so independent and yeah, it’s amazing, amazing that you can survive and, and.

And work in those conditions and make things, make things happen and get to the pole. Yeah. It’s a cool place. You should go. Well, one day are we need to get out of this pandemic first? Well, Molly, there’s a part of the show where we ask the same five questions to each guest with the first beam on your trips, what is the one gadget or item that you always bring with you?

Good question. And probably have to say something like an iPod. And not even just my phone cause in Antarctica on my phone, but Spotify stops working after like 30 days without the internet. So it took a really old school iPod and filled it with all seven Harry Potter books and loads of [00:33:00] like nineties classics.

Got me through Antarctica. That is exactly the same story of my run across Katie. I went, I went, I went with Spotify, Spotify stopped working in Kenya and then because they don’t have a deal with them at the time. And then I had to listen to Harry Potter for the. Entire month. Where do you see how to it’s an honor.

Like when I run, I like to run to music, but then suddenly running into Harry Potter and listening to Stephen Fry as you’re running, sort of it’s very slow. And so you end up almost going to a walking pace, listening to him because you can’t really constant. Yeah. I know what you mean. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to get to the South pole.

It took me quite a long time as well. We can blame Stephen Fry then. Yeah. Good idea. What is your favorite adventure or travel book? Key question. The first, one of the first books I read about Everest [00:34:00] was from Steven . It was called higher than the Eagle soars. I think and an amazing book about his expedition on Mount Everest and getting to the top without oxygen and how much, like dig a snow hole close to the summit and spend a night there.

It was amazing to read about that story and really inspired me, I think, to get into the big mountains a bit. Oh, nice. What, why are adventures important to you? Good question. These are tricky. I think they’re an amazing way to grow and become more resilient and become the people you think you are like, you challenge yourself in the outdoors and yeah.

That’s the only really place I’ve ever grown and achieve things. So yeah, I think they’re important for everyone just to, to push yourself and work out who you, who you actually. Yeah. Yeah. I would, I would agree with that. What about your favorite quote? [00:35:00] Good question. Here’s one from Junco Tobago.

I always. You used to put in my, my talks when I do some school talks and it’s all about like willpower being the most important thing and like technique and ability or just things that you can kind of learn. But willpower is the one thing that’s gonna make you achieve things in life. And I think that’s totally true.

Like when I started with my idea to climb Everest, I didn’t have any other techniques or ability, but I had that one and that will, so if you can harness that willpower, you can learn how to do anything and you can really achieve anything. Hmm. Yeah. It quite from, from junkie, it’s a nice one. People listening are always keen to travel and go on these sort of grand adventures.

What’s the one thing you would recommend for people wanting to go out on an adventure? Just to take this first steps. Like I could say all sorts of things about trading and, you know, researching it all and doing it properly. But I think the [00:36:00] one thing is just committing to yourself that you’re going to do it.

And once you take that first step, and for me, it’s usually telling somebody else. Well, my time is in my head. And then after I’ve told them I’ve got to do it. So take that first step and then just put everything you possibly can behind it because we’re not on this planet for very long. So you want to go out and you want to see it.

You don’t want to end your life with regret this that you could have gone somewhere. You could have seen something. Cool. So yeah, take that first step and then wholeheartedly go for it because there was an amazing place. I always think the start is the most terrifying and exciting part, like planning these trips, but.

I think, I don’t know about you, but always the first, when you are there about to start, you’ve have all this moment of dread, but as soon as you take that first step, it sort of just washes over you. But before you’re like, Oh my God, all this fear and everything, but you, then you get into it and it’s a bit.

So much nicer. Yeah, absolutely. And the ball starts rolling and you kind of move along with it. Cause you’ve put all the kind of prep into it. Molly, how [00:37:00] can people find you and follow your adventures in the future? So social media or my website is just Molly Hughes, Molly with an I E here’s the credit UK and there’s loads of blogs and videos and all sorts in there.

Or on social media, I’m there as Molly J Hughes. So yeah, come in at the moment, come and see me sitting in my flat in Edinburgh, but in the future, hopefully, hopefully we’ll get a venture. And what, what is your plans for the future? It’s a good question. And I’m not really sure, like big expedition wise, it’s quite hard to plan it.

I think at the moment I’m hoping to do a lot more stuff kind of based out of Scotland. Lucky enough to actually like just recently in December become the new president of scout Scotland. So working a lot with young people and, and pushing for them to get more into the outdoors, to help with physical, mental health and everything.

So hopefully a lot more work with young people. And then hopefully some more big trips, [00:38:00] but we’ll, we’ll see when this pandemic finally finishes. Molly. Thank you so much for coming on today and telling your stories really, really something credible moments you’ve had along in the last three years.

Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah, I feel very lucky to have seen and done what I’ve done. And yeah. Thank you for having me on the show. Well, that is it for today. Thank you so much for watching and I hope you got something out of it. Hit that like button, if you did, and subscribe, if you haven’t already, and I will see you in the next video.

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