Never too old for adventure? You bet. By the time I got around to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro I was already 58. Yikes! Not exactly ancient, but for me it was a ‘now or never’ proposition.
‘Never’ was extremely tempting, but ‘now’ won out. There was an added urgency to conquer the highest mountain in Africa the first time round because I sure wasn’t going to have another go at it. So I made it the 5,895 metres to the summit – Uhuru Peak – just.
And then, as clichéd as it sounds, I felt I could do (just about) anything. That my resolve could power my body to perform beyond its usual capability, and sooth my inner fears. And that serious training pays off. I ditched self-imposed limitations and reclaimed my adventurous spirit.
That was six years ago. Since then, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of journalist/adventurer Nellie Bly’s record-breaking 72-day journey around the world – the fastest ever – I followed in her footsteps. We both travelled alone with one small bag. She wanted to beat the fictional record of Phileas Fogg inAround the World in Eighty Days. I wanted to champion and celebrate women – past and present – in adventure.
That’s exactly what Women’s Adventure Expo does and that’s why I’m a founding member and trustee of this social enterprise that works to make adventure more inclusive and accessible for all women.
Our flagship event, WAExpo, is the UK’s first Adventure and Travel Expo dedicated to women. WAExpo2018 on 6th October in Bristol promises to be the biggest and boldest yet with a special emphasis on adventure from all sorts of life stages, backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities. Headline speaker, the legendary adventurer and author Dervla Murphy, 86, will be joined by a fabulous line-up of speakers and workshop leaders in their 20s to their 80s, from all walks of life.
Dervla says we’re born with wanderlust. If you’re thinking of your own ‘Kilimanjaro’ – whether it’s a trek, a bike journey, a wild swim, exploring far-flung corners, adventures with children, or just pitching a tent in the back garden – join us at WAExpo 2018. You’ll be inspired. The scope is immense, the sky’s the limit and the world’s at our fingertips.
Rosemary J Brown FRGS