As I was surfing social media last year I came across a Twitter post that mentioned the Women’s Adventure Expo, something I’d never heard of before. After a bit of browsing on their website, it became clear that it was going to be a jam-packed day of talks and workshops, all led by a hugely inspirational bunch of women who had been on some awe-inspiring adventures across the world. We’re talking about ocean adventures, Arctic / Antarctic adventures, high mountain adventures, motorbike adventures. You name it, there was going to be a woman there who’d done it.
I came across the event at a time when I was looking for a change in direction from a sports point of view. The old ACL-repaired knees weren’t up to scratch for competitive sport anymore but I figured that moving into adventure-related activities might still give me the buzz, the physical challenge and the enjoyment that sport has given me for many, many years.
I booked my ticket, went along to the event in Bristol and was blown away by speaker number one who gave the opening address. Squash Falconer. She probably has the coolest name in woman-dom and she’s also summited Everest among other super-adventurous things. Wow. 20 minutes into the WAEXPO and I’m totally inspired…
It was then at Mollie Hughes’ workshop that my Alpinestars bike adventure was born. Mollie was full of passion and energy as she spoke about being one of the youngest British climbers to summit Everest at the age of 21 back in 2012. Wow. More inspiration. Her interactive workshop was focussed on Goal Setting and she got the audience to actually write down the goal they wanted to achieve, and how they were going to take the steps to actually reach it. I think my bike ride adventure must have been floating around in my sub conscious for a while as it was the first thing I wrote on my piece of paper…
Ride my Alpinestars to the Alps
From there, there was no going back. Writing it down felt like I’d made the commitment, and I couldn’t go back on it. What came next was a lot of thinking; “Could I do this?”, “How would I do this?”, “Wouldn’t it be an awesome experience”, “Would my old bike actually make it?”. Once my mind had agreed that it was possible, I went into planning mode; “How many miles a day will I do?”, “What should my training plan look like?”, “What route should I take”. Then it was all about the action; training, self-confidence building, more training, making final decisions on routes and stop overs. The WAEXPO was in October 2015 and by 9th May 2016 I was leaving my doorstep in Pontypridd and was pedalling my way to Chamonix. It was a brutal and rewarding adventure that you can read about on my previous blogs. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so glad that the WAEXPO nudged me into action.
If you’re tempted to take up a new adventure, and if you’re free on Saturday 8th October 2016, get along to the next Women’s Adventure Expo in Bristol. You wont’ regret it**.
The event organisers (an incredible team of women) are pulling together AMAZING day of inspiring talks and workshops, all led by women with fascinating tales to tell. I’ll definitely be there, and who knows what new Alpinestars Adventure might be developed from it this year!
WAEXPO website: http://womensadventureexpo.co.uk/
WAEXPO Twitter: https://twitter.com/waexpo
WAEXPO Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WAEXPO/
**Warning – attendance at this event might result in you going on a crazy adventure!