Swapping 2 wheels for 2 oars

It’s been an inspirational weekend in Bristol following a last-minute booking to go to the Women’s Adventure Expo. This Expo was a bonus event to the main event held annually in October, and the line up was packed full of INCREDIBLE women who’ve adventured on, or in water.

Held at the iconic MShed venue, the event kicked off with Della Parsons from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. She shared a unique insight into the challenges on board and the challenges that the weather and seas threw at them along the way. The Clipper race involves 12 identical boats with crews from all walks of life, many with no sailing experience until they enter into the Clipper training programme. Find out more.

How about swimming with sharks…but not by choice! Beth French is an open water swimmer who has crossed the English Channel and is currently midway through an epic 7 Oceans challenge. Only 6 people have completed it to date, and Beth is aiming not only to complete it, but to be the 1st person to do it in 1 year. Her talk took us deep into the depths of swimming long distances in all sorts of environments across the world. She also shared her story of a close encounter with a Tiger Shark – not for the faint hearted! Find out more.

Epic range of speakers

Just before lunch, host for the day Natalie Fee, shared her City to Sea project which is doing amazing things to address plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans. It was enough eye opening talk which really made you think about changing habits to avoid single use plastic products. Find out more.

Lunch time gave us a chance to network and also have a go on the Clipper virtual reality experience which made you feel like you were on board, part of the crew, and in the middle of huge seas! Gulp!

Intrepid kayaker Erin Bastian shared her experiences of kayaking around Sardinia, through Patagonia and setting up her own expedition company. Erin shared the highs and lows, and the expected and unexpected challenges that are part of taking yourself out of your comfort zone. She’s passionate about inspiring other women to take on kayak trips with her, providing the expertise for small groups to push themselves by paddling long distances and being self sufficient. Totally worth checking out Evolve ?? for inspiration.

In keeping with the ethical and environmental values of the Expo, Beverly O’Kane gave  passionate talk about the work of the Marine Conservation Society and their “Plastic Challenge”. This campaign encourages us to avoid single use plastic in the month of June, for as long as we can. Even engaging with the campaign for 1 day can make a difference and really get you to think about our shopping habits. Find out more.

What do you dare to do?

Sarah Outen took to the stage to share her intrepid RTW adventure tales which took 4.5 years to complete by bike, kayak and ocean rowing boat. Kayaking in huge seas, two ocean rescues and face to face encounters with a all sorts of animals were part of her animated and inspirational talk. I took the chance to buy her latest book which I can’t wait to get stuck into.
Finally, Tom from Shoreseeker introduced us to his Ocean Rowing boat experiences and new expedition company. If you don’t fancy crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat then how about a UK or Mediterranean mini adventure with Shoreseeker instead? Find out more.

I took the opportunity to travel to the Expo with some ladies that I met through the Tough Girl Challenges group. It was great to get to know them and hear all about their own activities and adventures. During the day I met Vicky from Challenge Wales and Jo from Healthy Happy 50. The Expo was another cracking day packed with stories of adventure from such an inspirational range of speakers.

All aboard!

To keep the excitement going, we had signed up for a taster session in the Shoreseeket boat the next morning. Skipper Simon taught us the basics of rowing and we cruised through Bristol  (without hitting anything) and got to check out the cramped facilities on board. It’s incredible to think that people row these boats across the Atlantic – sometimes solo! This was such a fantastic way to finish off an excellent Expo event.

Want to come to the next one? Put Saturday 7th October 2017 in your diary NOW! Guaranteed inspiration and excitement! 

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