To WAEXPO 2018, this years event is packed with amazing women sharing incredible stories - don't miss out!
MAIN STAGE SPONSORED BY KOMOOT
We are delighted to announce that the WAEXPO 2018 Main Stage will be hosted by Anna McNuff with Official Sponsor Komoot. Anna will present a programme of extraordinary women, with incredible stories, who will inspire you beyond your expectations. A ticket to WAExpo gives you access to ALL these sessions. Only problem is choosing which ones to go to. Be entertained, be motivated and be included in this fantastic WAExpo programme!
Our headline speaker at WAExpo 2018 is Dervla Murphy in conversation with Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent. We know many of you are big fans of Dervla, and have been patiently waiting to hear her speak, your chance is now! This year we will also hear stories from Kate Rawles and her bamboo bike travelling through South America, champion surfer Easkey Britton talking about adventure and nature, water, health and cycles. Plus Paralympian and adventurer Mel Nicholls, and in her words: “Adventure has no prejudices, gender, race religion or disability. It is an idea, a dream, a journey. Adventure is a mindset and to making it happen, adventure is not purely a destination”.
Dervla Murphy (born Lismore, County Waterford, 1931) was determined to write, not to marry, and to travel to India. She realised two of these ambitions in Full Tilt, her first book, which describes her exuberant bicycle ride from Lismore – where she still lives – to India, through Iran and Afghanistan. It has been followed by some 20 further titles, including an acclaimed memoir, Wheels within Wheels. Her most recent book is Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine. Dervla has won worldwide praise and many awards for her writing. Now in her late 80s, she continues to travel around the world and remains passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer. She has a daughter, Rachel and three grand daughters.
Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent is a travel writer, TV producer and director of the travel company Silk Road Adventures. Her penchant for extreme travel has led to her writing three books, setting an unlikely Guinness World Record and filming in remote locations from Bolivia to Borneo and beyond. Her latest book, Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains, about her travels in the remote Northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, was runner-up Adventure Travel Book of the Year in the 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. Her articles have appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph, Geographical, Wanderlust and more. Find out more and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @AntsBK.
Kate Rawles is passionate about using adventurous journeys to help raise awareness and inspire action on our most urgent environmental challenges. She has recently completed the Life Cycle: an 8,288-mile largely solo ride the length of South America on a bamboo bike that she built herself. En route she explored biodiversity: what it is, what’s happening to it, why it matters and what can and is being done to protect it.
A former university lecturer, first in environmental philosophy and then outdoor education, Kate now works freelance as a writer, guest lecturer, public speaker and activist. She also runs occasional Outdoor Philosophy courses, using the power of wild places to support personal and professional positive action on environmental sustainability.
Her book, The Carbon Cycle, Crossing the Great Divide (Two Ravens Press, 2012; Rocky Mountain Books, 2013; Word Power Books 2nd Edition, 2016), based on a bike ride from Texas to Alaska exploring climate change, was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival Adventure Travel Book Award, 2013. Other ‘adventure plus’ journeys include the Gyre to Gaia ocean plastic pollution sailing voyage with Pangaea Exploration.
London and Rio Paralympian Mel Nicholls lives life in the fast lane in her racing career and in her passion for adventure.
A series of life changing strokes as a fit and healthy young woman and adrenaline junkie, Mel was left unable to walk and use much of the left side of her body following her third stroke in 2008.
…Fast forward four years after watching the Beijing Paralympics from her hospital bed, Mel raced in front of an 80,000 home crowd and the rest of the world, in wheelchair racing at the London 2012 Paralympics.
Mel’s mottoes “Dream Big” and “Live an Adventure” are no truer than her real life adventure tales as she continues to go beyond barriers. Not content to leave her outdoor world in her past life, Mel rediscovered her adventure off the west coast of Scotland, Mel’s spiritual birthplace of her discovering what is possible.
Mel brings a unique take on adventure with disability, the female role and as a sportswoman.
As the legendary story goes, in the 1960s Easkey’s grandmother, Mary Britton, a hotel owner, returned to Ireland from a trip to California determined to bring two Malibu surfboards back to her local beach, Rossnowlagh. Her intention was to offer them to hotel guests, but instead her five sons, including Easkey’s father Barry, took the boards to the waves, making the Britton boys some of the first pioneers of Irish surfing. By the time Easkey was born, surfing was a regular part of her family’s life. Her parents taught her to surf when she was four years old and her life has revolved around the ocean ever since.
Her father remains her number one surfing companion.
Easkey is the first Irish woman to be nominated for the World Surf League Big Wave Awards but there’s more to Easkey than surfing. It’s her intellect and her quest to learn and create change in an often-unfair world that really defines her. A scientist, academic and social activist, with a PhD in Environment and Society, Easkey is always one to look in places others aren’t for the answers to difficult questions. Her curiosity and passion for fairness and gender equality are the qualities that bring others to her.
Anna McNuff is an endurance athlete, adventurer and mischief maker. Named by the Guardian as one of the top female adventurers of our time, Condé Nast Traveller included her in a list of the 50 most influential travellers in the world. She has also recently been appointed as the UK ambassador for Girl Guiding, and is the co-founder of Adventure Queens; the UK’s fastest-growing women’s adventure community.
Anna’s major journeys include cycling a beautiful pink bicycle through each and every state of the USA, running the length of New Zealand, and exploring the peaks and passes of the Andes mountains – a journey in which she ascended the equivalent of 11 times the height of Mount Everest on a bicycle. She has also recently spent a winter travelling the width of Canada in a beat up Dodge Caravan called Magster – snow shoeing, husky sledding and snowboarding along the way.
Much closer to home, she has spent a month cycling across Europe directed entirely by social media, run the length of Hadrian’s wall dressed as a Roman Soldier, and the length of the Jurassic Coast dressed as a dinosaur. As you do. Passionate about the positive impact that adventure can have, Anna uses her human-powered journeys as a platform to inspire and others to get outside, and get exploring.
We know you like to ask questions and we know you like to get answers! The How to Guides deal with a number of topics, sharing information, the personal experience and stories of women who have been there and done it! From travel writing to breaking down cultural barriers, the How to Guides will help you navigate on your way to either your first or your dream adventure.
Attend these sessions to learn more, equip yourself, gain confidence, create ideas and work through a topic, leaving behind any self-limiting beliefs.
Misba Khan in Conversation with Poonam Taneja
In this workshop Misba Khan will be interviewed by senior BBC reporter Poonam Taneja on breaking down cultural barriers.Misba lives in Manchester with her husband and two children: daughter age 24 and son age 20. For the past 15 years she has been working as part of the finance team at the North Manchester General Hospital. Aside from her professional role, she is also a trained Chaplin, undertaking voluntary work with female patients in the mental health department. Although British born and bred, Misba is of Pakistani origin. She sometimes finds that women in her community are reluctant to stretch their abilities and reach their full potential: “Within my work place I am one of a small proportion of ethnic minorities, which can be challenging sometimes especially due to the current world crisis and representation of certain groups in the western media.” Committed to breaking down cultural barriers, Misba took part in an extraordinary expedition with Felicity Aston: the Euro Arabian North Pole Expedition. This involved an international team of women from across Europe and the Middle East successfully skiing together to the North Pole in April 2018, despite being predominantly novices. The expedition aimed to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arabian cultures, as well as to inspire all women to reach beyond the expectation of others and fulfil their own life ambitions.
Poonam Taneja is an award winning reporter working for BBC News specialising in original journalism. Her many assignments include reporting from the frontline of Afghanistan, investigating contract killings in India and uncovering the plight of “war babies” in Bosnia. Her work has featured on all the BBC’s flagship radio, television and online outlets. More recently she travelled to Svalbard to cover the Euro-Arabian team as they made their final preparations for their historic expedition to the North Pole.
Jini Reddy was born in London and raised in Montreal, Quebec to South-African born parents of Indian descent, Jini is an author, a seasoned travel and features journalist, and a consultant. Her travels have taken her to far-flung corners and she reckons she was welcomed most warmly by the pagan Kalash woman in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan and by Iranian poetry lovers amidst the cypresses and roses at (poet) Hafez’ tomb in Shiraz. She’s hiked through India’s mysterious Living Root Bridges, has practised her fledgling animal communication skills on rare white lions in South Africa, and once spent five days and nights fasting alone atop a mountain in the Pyrenees. Her first book Wild Times, is part-narrative, part-guide and was published by Bradt Travel Guides. It explores gentle, more creative experiences that aim to connect people with land and nature in Britain and has been described by BBC broadcaster Stephen Moss as ‘a wonderfully quirky and imaginative series of wild encounters.’ It won the book prize at the British Guild of Travel Writers Awards in 2017, and was runner-up at the Travel Media Awards in the same year. Jini is currently writing a new book for Bloomsbury, on her journey to explore the magical in the landscape. She can be found tweeting @Jini_Reddy.
Jen Claydon is an avid traveller, cyclist and freelance editor/writer in the international development sector. Among her most memorable journeys are retracing her grandfather’s WWII footsteps through the Far East, reaching Marrakesh by land and sea, and following the old silk road through the ‘Stans. Jen had no idea there was a burgeoning community of women adventurers until she happened across Women’s Adventure Expo 2017, and hopes life will never be the same again. This inspired her to experiment with combining travelling, cycling and freelancing in a lifestyle adventure with the research question: can I cycle tour and keep my job? She’s just finished cycling solo through the nine countries that surround the Baltic Sea and is surprised to find out that yes, she can! Jen thinks she might have the best volunteering role going, interviewing female adventurers for Women’s Adventure Expo.
Finding Your Own Way in Adventure – In conversation with Jen Claydon, Jini will help you to explore ways of unlocking the path to adventure that’s right for you, through a sharing of her own unconventional story. From the young girl who dreamt of globetrotting adventures, despite having no female role models to look to in the media and certainly none who looked like her, to acclaimed author and nature-loving wanderer, she’ll go beyond ego and gloss to the heart of her experience. Jini will also explain how, by spending time alone in the wild and, in unorthodox fashion, letting the land guide her, she’s come to experience the wonder and magic of a deeper connection with the natural world. Her enthusiasm for spontaneous, out-of-the-box adventure guided by intuition is infectious. Jini will inspire you to unlock your own passions and start from where you’re at, never comparing yourself with others, but allowing your own adventures, big or small, to unfold naturally. Jini will discuss her journey through the lens of her multicultural background – as the child of South Asian parents from South Africa, who moved to Europe, then North America with their children.
Jo Moseley, 53, is a Mum from Yorkshire, happily flying solo with her two sons. Juggling commitments at work, home and looking out for her Dad, she is firmly part of the “sandwich generation”. Like many women in midlife, time for herself is short and precious.
A keen waterwoman, she loves wild swimming with fins, bodyboarding and paddleboarding in the North Sea. Jo recently qualified as a Pool Lifeguard and an Aqua Fit coach, hoping to encourage more women to love the water. This summer she realised a life-long dream of learning to surf and for four glorious seconds had the thrill of riding a wave. She screamed with happiness the whole way! Her next water-y goal is a headstand on her paddleboard by Christmas!
A keen yet recent trail runner, Jo set herself a challenge to run 1,000km this year. She loves writing and speaking about being part of the 2-Minute Beach Clean family and is an enthusiastic “Plogger” (picking up litter as she runs).
Jo loved the outdoors as a little girl and in her early 20s kayaked in Alaska, dived in the Philippines and led an expedition in Tanzania. But for about 25 years she was very inactive until anxiety and lack of sleep led her to try rowing on an ergo. Feeling brighter in days, she went on to row a million metres and run a marathon, raising over £10,000 for charity.
As a result of her own experience, Jo is passionate about sharing the huge joy and sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing that tiny adventures in the every day can bring women in midlife.
Jo will be interviewing Dwayne about Unlikely Adventures and finding out more about his recent Street2Peak project. Accompanying Dwayne will be two of the young women, who took part in the Sreet2Peak expedition.
Born in Jamaica, Dwayne came to the UK at the age of six. His formative years in the UK were in inner city London and, wrapped up in the world of street gangs, he became a victim of both knife and gun crime. After a life threatening incident Dwayne made the decision to change his life… forever.
As a child in wild Jamaica, Dwayne loved nature and wildlife and wanted to reconnect to his early life in the forests and hilltops of Jamaica. So in 2010, Dwayne set himself his first of many challenges, becoming the first black Briton to walk over 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole. On his return he was invited to Buckingham Palace, joining other polar explorers and adventurers and at a reception to mark the centenary of Scott’s expedition to the South Pole.
Since then his life has become richer, living a life of adventure and exploration, Inspiring young people nationwide to explore the ‘great outdoors’ – wherever that may be. As a consequence Dwayne has been awarded the City of London’s highest honour, The Freedom of the City of London’ by the Lord Mayor, for his work with young people.
Dwayne is an advocate for encouraging people to get outdoors and explore the world around them. His focus is particularly on encouraging young people growing up in inner cities to get out and experience nature and a life with which they have not previously been engaged. In September this year, Dwayne lead a group of young people from inner city London to the top of Ben Nevis – #street2peak.
Jo Bradshaw is a former no saying, height hating, comfort loving Business Advisor who turned her life around to become an Expedition Leader, Outdoor Instructor, Public Speaker and Everest summiteer (via an earthquake!)
Leading a very safe life from behind a desk, on a whim to try to face her fear of heights, she signed up to do a parachute jump in 2003 which then turned into a charity bike ride in 2004 and gradually changed her life. The move from a well-paid job in local government to new lifestyle in adventure has afforded Jo a richness in life she never thought possible. Retraining as a Mountain Leader in 2010, Jo can now be found guiding clients on bikes and foot, from the oxygenated world at sea level in the UK to the lofty heights of 6000m peak mountaineering expeditions. A great supporter of our next generation of adventurers, Jo also teaches and assesses the expedition element of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as well as speaking to corporate clients, groups and schools about resilience, leadership and maximising our potential.
Jo also fundraises for children’s mental health charity Place2Be through her 7 summits and beyond challenges having climbed 5 of the 7. Just 2 to go!
From a happy, carefree mountain runner who becomes a reluctant, stay-at-home mother of two with her sights set on winning Ireland’s National Adventure Racing Series, to walking one of the earth’s most inhospitable environments, the Rabbit Proof Fence in Australia’s Outback, to a diving and mountaineering mission, conquering the three highest altitude lakes in Scotland, England and Wales, all in 24 hours. Be inspired, be amazed, be there!
Bring your adventure aspirations to these sessions and watch them ignite, as you hear and see first hand the amazing stories of four inspirational speakers.
While hauled up in Byron Bay with a broken leg in 2007, I came across the film and book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence. It’s a moving tale about three young aboriginal girls who were forcibly removed from their families in Western Australia and placed in a settlement to be assimilated into white society. The girls escaped and walked 1,000 miles through some of the country’s most inhospitable environments, following the Rabbit Proof Fence. They had no maps. No provisions. No shoes. Nothing. All they had was each other. They made it home despite being tracked by police and search parties.
A few months after I read their story my dad suddenly passed away. Finding myself lost and deeply depressed I though about their courage, resilience and determination to get home. Their characters helped spur me on through a difficult time, so I always wanted to return to Australia to retrace their journey.
Mountain runner, adventurer racer, author, wife to Pete, and mum to their two young sons, Aran and Cahal. Moire is three-time winner of Ireland’s National Adventure Racing Series and the first person to complete the Wicklow Round, an endurance mountain run spanning 100 kilometres over 26 of Ireland’s remotest peaks.
In her latest memoir, Bump, Bike and Baby – Mummy’s Gone Adventure Racing, Moire describes how she originally had no interest in children. She was far too busy mountain running and working abroad to be responsible for another human being. So she was understandably perturbed when she discovered she was pregnant.
At first she tried to ignore the foetus growing inside her, continuing to work and train as before. But as the bump grew bigger, so did the realisation that her life would have to change forever once the baby came.
Moire ultimately navigated the world of buggies and nappies, with inevitable distain. She struggled with sleep deprivation and maintaining her post-natal sanity. She only survived with the help of her husband and a string of childcare providers. And thanks to post-pregnancy hormones, Moire bonded fiercely with her new babies.
Spurning breastfeeding support groups, Moire instead attempted to claim Ireland’s National Adventure Race Series within months of giving birth. But Moire needed to climb more than a few mountains to win the coveted title. Blocked milk ducts, stress incontinence, maternal guilt, and unwanted parenting advice all stood between her and her ultimate prize. Could she really become Ireland’s top adventure-racing mummy?
Sarah is a scientist, expedition leader, scuba diver, artist and outdoor adventure advocate. Studying her PhD in Glaciology at the University of Bristol, Sarah has a wealth of experience on expeditions. Egypt, Honduras, Iceland, Chilean Patagonia and the Indian Himalayas are some of the places she has conducted science. Sarah will be fresh from a glaciology adventure in India when stepping onto the stage for WAExpo 2018. At the beginning of the year Sarah led ‘Mission High Water’. Raising over £3,500, this charity expedition was the first all-female team to hike and scuba dive the three highest lakes in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours. But life was not always like this for Sarah. Realising the concrete jungle of London was hindering her recovery from mental health problems, in 2013 Sarah decided to make a radical life change. Focusing on her wellbeing, Sarah chose the slower pace and beautiful surroundings of the West Country (in her opinion, the best country) as the base for a new life. Sarah will recount her life story, explaining how she developed a successful career combining her love for outdoor adventure (both above and below water) with her passion for the natural sciences.
Sacha Dench is a conservationist and adventurer. Sacha has become known for the award winning ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition, in which she overcame a fear of flying to fly a paramotor (hanging from a piece of cloth by strings with a big fan on her back) 7,000 km from arctic Russia to the UK – following the migration of wild swans. Her mission was to see for herself what threats they faced and speak to people – from reindeer-herding nomads to farmers and politicians – and find out why we were losing so many swans. The project generated huge amounts of media attention, debate and a wide range of practical wins for conservation.
During the expedition she became the first woman to cross the English Channel by paramotor, was a 2017 ‘Woman of the Year’ and was awarded the Royal Aero Club’s ‘Britannia Trophy’ in 2018, previously won by Sir Richard Branson and the Red Arrows. This made her the first woman to win it in over 50 years.
But Sacha’s background was mostly underwater. Discovering early an unusual talent to hold her breath for long enough to scare people, she once broke a world record in training with a breath hold of 6 minutes 22 seconds. With this talent she competed at freediving for Britain and Australia, and has had TV roles as dead bodies, underwater bad guys, a human fish for a well-known brand of whisky and was once asked to help start the public debate around shark conservation by getting tangled in a shark net 30 feet underwater, without air tanks, and naked. Also a trained biologist, Sacha has worked in pollution investigations shark and turtle research, and co-founded volunteer group ‘Eco Divers’, a group of divers using their bare hands and cameras to save sea life in distress.
She has worked in creative and strategic communications for 15 years.