Travel Play Live Issue #7

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Travel Play Live

AU $12.95

ISSUE #7 Autumn 2017

The Women’s Adventure Lifestyle Magazine

AU $12.95 ISSUE 7 ISSN 2206 - 4117











CONNECT UNLEASH EQUIP and Surprise Yourself The Travel Play Live Women's Adventure Summit a ‘build your own adventure’ three day mammoth weekend in the stunning Great Lakes on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

ISSUE #7 Travel Play Live

AU $12.95

ISSUE #7 Autumn 2017

The Women’s Adventure Lifestyle Magazine

AU $12.95 ISSUE 7 ISSN 2206 - 4117


Letter from the Editor I’ve been having a dream for months now. In it I am standing at the base of a mountain that stretches high into the sky and there are people struggling to reach the summit. Its enormity threatens to overwhelm me, but the still small voice whispers; ‘Do you trust me?’ ‘Yes. Yes I do.’ And so I breathe and look again and a path opens up before me. My path. A unique path just for me – and so I set out for the summit. Mountains in our lives come in many different forms. Most of us are like the rest of us; juggling our lives, relationships, jobs, expectations, dreams and goals which loom before us.

and look again to see the path set before us. The one that isn’t dictated by expectations or agendas. But the one that propels us to the summit by calling on our gifts, strengths and faith. It never ceases to amaze me as we put together each issue how similar journeys emerge from women across the globe: elite athletes, enthusiastic novices, intrepid adventurers and everyone in between, all on this journey we call life, seeking to reach the summit. Women who have taken the time to breathe and find their path. So my friend, my hope is that as you sit to read through our Autumn offering that you to will take some time to breathe and be inspired to take another look at that mountain.

And we have a choice. We can let the mountains overwhelm us, or we can take some time to breathe, trust












Lindsay Reed + 61 431 956 645


Lucy Stone, Ally Burnie, Alice King CREATIVE.

Two Minds Creative TPL PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ben Cirulis COVER IMAGE.

xxxxxx Copyright TPL Publishing PTY LTD 2015. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publishers. DISCLAIMER: A large portion of original material is created by TPL Publishing and its contributors, including text, fonts, photography, and art work - content used from public domain like social media sites we agree are not the property of TPL Publishing, and in all cases media permission has been sought via electronic or verbal agreement. The content and views expressed in this magazine by individuals and TPL Publishing are provided in good faith as information only. No guarantee is made of the accuracy of the information provided. We have done our best to credit all photographers. In some instances photos have been provided to us by those who appear editorially and we have their permission to use the images. We apologise if anything appears incorrectly. It will be a genuine mistake, let us know and we will ensure to mention it in the next issue.


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Monique Bortoli, Sue Goodison, Alice King, Joey Dable, Kristie Stark

This Issues

CONTRIBUTORS. Head to our website to meet our growing list of contributors pioneering Australian Women's Adventure.

Leah Gilbert

Hanny Allston

Kerith Duncanson

Caroline Pemberton

Kate Duncan


Ally Burnie

Hayley Talbot

Ness Hindenberg

Jane Grover

Alice King

Michelle Lawford Would you like to write for Travel Play Live? Perhaps you have a story to share? We are looking to partner with writers and bloggers across a variety of adventure and travel disciplines. Maybe you are a brand looking to get your product or destination reviewed? Contact us with your details and a sample of your work (or wares) and we will get back to you if we feel there is a good fit.


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There is no telling what kind of misadventures you might get up to while trying to get your hands on future copies of Travel Play Live Magazine, so let us take the worry out of your adventure by offering you this yearly subscription deal! Subscribe and go in the draw to win some great prizes. Details on page 95.

SUBSCRIBE AND JOIN THE ADVENTURE For just $48 + P&H That’s four beautifully inspiring, empowering and adventurous copies of our magazine delivered to your door - full of great seasonal ideas to inspire you to travel, play, live! Digital subscription now available - details on the website. Head to our website

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c ontents


WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING? They say time slows down in the presence of danger.





The first priority of survival is shelter. Then comes water, fire and lastly, food. Shelter. Water. Fire. Food.

Being Good Company Whilst Hiking Solo







Let’s face it, being a female in today’s society is tough.

A ‘build your own adventure’ three day mammoth weekend in the stunning Great Lakes on the Mid North Coast of NSW.










ULTRA TRAIL 2017 Meet some of the runners





MICHELLE LAWFORD Wildlife Photographer









is a team effort

and the Women who take it on

AWESOME IS POSSIBLE Every so often I present at schools, and if there’s one thing kids can smell a mile away, it’s bullshit.

Cycling up an

READ MORE Head over to our website to for bonus content, competitions and previous articles

STAY CONNECTED We love to hear from you, so be sure to tell us all about your travels and adventures. Contact us at Share your photos with us on Instagram by using #travelplaylive for your chance to feature.


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Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of. Bethany Hamilton


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looking? They say time slows down in the presence of danger. Yet as I sailed over the edge of the vertical cliff, one hand still reaching for my quickly disappearing mountain bike, I found it was actually irrelevant. I could comprehend just about everything and almost nothing at all.


here wasn’t much emotion, just a clear analysis of the situation (I was toast) and one synonymous insight; I had looked. Right before my bike hopped sideways and launched me into the air, I had looked exactly where I didn’t want to go. My body impacted the earth without feeling. I landed in the very place my eyes had found just seconds before and then I slid another ten feet. I took a number of deep breaths as I surveyed my body for injuries, surprised and relieved that nothing was broken.

The cliff extended another hundred feet or so to the creek below, yet I was nestled safely in a little patch of soft dirt and Californian poison oak. It could’ve been worse, I thought, as my eyes took in the numerous rocky outcroppings all around me. My buddy Joe peered down, whitefaced and sweaty, his mouth hanging open at the sight of me conscious and unhurt. “You’re ALIVE”? He breathed a big sigh of relief. “I thought I was going to have to call a helicopter rescue!” I let myself laugh, but not for too long, it was going to take some serious effort to climb back up to the trail and that was no laughing matter. Eventually I found myself there, with shaking hands and laboured breathing, considering the five long miles of trail still to go. The lower half of the Downieville Downhill trail is cut into the side of a mountain, with the same sheer drop all the way to the creek. I reminded myself to breathe. This was not my first near miss. I’d been paddling class five rivers and bombing down mountain bike trails like these for a decade


and sometimes that meant I paid the price. I let my body settle. I began the task of recovering my mind, which was telling me not to get back on the bike. I knew better than to listen and instead embraced my fear. I gave it a big juicy hug and thanked it for always being there for me, its endless (and rather fruitless) battle of trying to keep me safe. I talked it off the ledge, reasoning like an expert. But you know, we didn’t follow the rules, my friend. That’s why we fell. We didn’t look where we wanted to go. I talk to my fear like that; like it’s a He; some long-time (albeit a little pesky) friend. Personifying him like that helps me take control. We can do this I said to him. We just need to look where we want to go. For many years I had talked us back into the game. Many years we’d guided ourselves down innumerable trails and river canyons, my fear and I. Down steep snowy slopes and to the lip of countless waves. That’s how we always succeeded, by banding together and remembering the mantra: Look where you want to go. It was law, wherever the mind went, the body would follow. Out of the two of us, it was always Him (my fear) that made us look elsewhere. After all, it was his job to point out all the ways things could go wrong and you can’t blame him for doing his job. But I had learned the law well and I knew how to grab him, embrace him and redirect our focus to where we wanted to go. When I could clearly see my fear, it was controllable. Which is why we were so damn good at abiding by ‘the Law’ when we were out in the mountains or the ocean. The fear was obvious. But it took me years to realise the same law applied as I stood, vulnerable,


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at the toughest part of a relationship or at the beginning of a new opportunity. He was hiding away in the dark, my fear, staring intently at all the scary bits. He was pointing out at all the ways this person could hurt me or how that opportunity could go wrong and I didn’t even realise it was him most of the time, pointing away like that, whispering scary stories into my ears. Climbing back on my bike I threw a huge grin at Joe and sped off down the trail. “Come on buddy”, I yelled into the gap between us, “Lets do this!” As we pedaled away, I glared intently at the trail, completely letting go of the sheer drop to my right. A lightness filled my body as it worked. Look where you want to go. Look where you want to go… Hundreds of miles of dirt trails and treacherous water taught me to find my fear. I also discovered that fear is not so bad once you take him into your arms, once you embrace him. My fear-based failures taught me that the law is absolute. If you want to hit that tree head on, give it a quick peek. If you want to make as few friends as possible, just focus on the things they might not like about you. But if you want love and kindness and wonder to follow you wherever you go, then wake in the morning and admire all the beauty that surrounds you. Look how capable you are. How safe. How abundant. The law is all around us and within us and it is absolute. Whatever you focus on you will have, whether it be beauty or hatred, jealousy or love, success or failure. It applies as much to the mountain as it does to the heart. It is the simplest thing: Look, always, where you want to go.





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The first priority of survival is shelter. Then comes water, fire and lastly, food. Shelter. Water. Fire. Food. Shelter. Water. Fire. Food. For journalist and nature advocate, Claire Dunn, this became somewhat of a mantra as she toiled with her bare hands to survive a year in the unforgiving Australian bush.


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any people might wonder what would compel a woman to leave behind a job, a five-year relationship and the comforts of urban living to rough it in the wilderness for an entire year. Yet for Claire, it wasn’t a question of: Is this wise? Can I do this? Rather, it was an unwavering, burning and soul-defining need to answer the call of the wild. Even the nay-sayers couldn’t stop her, their jokes only fuelling her will to succeed.

25km south of Grafton on the NSW North Coast. They would learn from ecologists how to read the landscape and weather, understand birdsong and classify plants. They would also spend time with local Gumbayanggir elders, who would impart their knowledge of the Aboriginal use of the land. From the initial requirement of building their own primitive shelters, Claire and the group would go on to learn how to make fire without matches, skin and tan hides, hunt and trap, mould pottery, track, gather bush food, weave baskets and navigate the bush. For Claire, learning these skills was her “birthright”.

After working as an environmental campaigner for the better part of a decade, Claire’s call to the wild shook her to the core. Lying on the coffee-stained floor of her former office, Claire was overcome with disillusionment and exhaustion. She no longer felt passionate about her advocacy work, she just felt employed and completely disconnected from what she was fighting for. “It was a turning point for me. I was lying there thinking, ‘this life is not what I need. And my body is telling me that’. It was a clear signal that this was not where I should be. I couldn’t ignore it anymore.”

Making the decision to live in the wilderness for a year wasn’t all that difficult for Claire. It was the doubt that gradually crept into her mind as the moment approached and the idea would crash into reality that was confronting. She says, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time in nature because I grew up on a farm by a river. I’ve always had that connection to nature. I spent a lot of my childhood swimming in the river, making mud houses and playing around.” Yet despite all her wilderness and survival skills training, she still had no real way of knowing what it would be like to spend an entire year living in the wild. It’s easy enough to spend time in the bush, getting muddy and pushing your body to exhaustion when you know you have a warm bed and shower back home. But what happens with the bush is your home? As the starting date loomed, all Claire’s fears and long-practiced self-judgement came bubbling to the surface. What did it mean to live for a year with just the essentials? Though Claire didn’t have the answers, her soul was crying to find out.

The universe has a funny way of pushing us towards our purpose, whether we are ready for it or not, and soon after Claire’s realisation, an email popped into her inbox advertising a workshop in nature philosophy. With the encouragement of her flatmate at the time, Claire signed up for the workshop. Over a few days, she learnt how to build a survival shelter from leaf litter, pounded wattle seed for pancakes, sewed a corner of a piece of hide into a pouch and had her first go at making fire from sticks. She says, “In those moments, I felt so alive.” For Claire, this was the beginning of rediscovering her place and purpose in the world.

The universe has a funny way of pushing us towards our purpose, whether we are ready for it or not, and soon after Claire’s realisation, an email popped into her inbox advertising a workshop in nature philosophy.

It wasn’t long before Claire quit her job and started enrolling in more short courses to build her bush skills and knowledge. She flew over to the United States for a couple of months to attend Tom Brown Jnr’s Tracker School in the New Jersey Pine –America’s most renowned tracker and wilderness survival expert. Armed with new skills, in 2010 Claire and five other participants began their year-long sojourn into the bush as part of the Guunuwa Independent Wilderness Studies Program. Over the next year, the group would be living on a 40ha bush block on the edge of Sherwood Nature Reserve,


The rules of the program were – well – there really weren’t any rules. It was the first time the program had been run, and the couple facilitating it wanted the experience to be as natural as possible. You could leave the camp from time to time if you needed, but not too often. Claire was joined by three men and two women, all from varying backgrounds – from a young army recruit to a spiritualist and an athlete. Initially heading into the program, Claire craved solitude, yet over the course of the year, she came to learn that she didn’t need to do it all alone. “I needed the support of a tribe,” she says. She even coined a term for it – ‘supported solitude’. “You’re alone but you’re not alone. It’s not as fierce or raw, but it almost allows you to go deeper into the soul because

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you’re not having to confront all the fear and isolation that comes with really being alone.” However, Claire’s main decision to enter the wild did not come from a desire for solitude – but a deep yearning to reconnect with nature. Though she had spent a large portion of her life campaigning for the protection of our wild and natural places, without truly connecting with the earth, her campaigning felt insincere. Claire has always had an intense connection to nature – something she firmly believes is rooted in every human. “It’s part of our original design. Through the bulk of human history, we have been intimately connected with the earth. It’s in our genetic makeup. Our nervous system expects a very strong connection to nature and to others. So when we don’t get that, we do not develop the full potential of the human being. Nature is a healer, it’s a teacher. If we really want to thrive, we need strong connections to nature – like a kind of nature literacy.”

foundation of the word wild is coming back to internal authority rather than external authority. I discovered I’d been trained to be a good girl and a high achiever, someone who was determined and was rewarded for that. Given all this unstructured time in the wild, I came up against all my self-judgement and eventually learnt how to re-pattern it,” says Claire. Claire had a year to uncover her wild woman and her connection to the earth. For Claire to bring out her wild woman, she felt it was important to learn Indigenous survival skills; skills that have been lost and dispersed over time. “I needed to know how to light a fire without matches and what to eat in the forest.” To learn all these skills, the group had an elder from the Gumbayanggir tribe who visited them and imparted some of his knowledge. “Having that link was really important. The experience of trying to survive on the land gave me respect for the depth of knowledge and intimacy with the land the Indigenous inhabitants naturally have.” Seeing the potential humans have to connect to the land hit home for Claire. “The more I connected to the land the more I realised I didn’t know and the potential for connection that there was. A lot of grief arose from that.”

My year in the bush was a kind of rite of passage. It was a truly transformational time. The term wildness has all sorts of connotations and the wild woman is a really strong archetype throughout history.

And how do we connect or even reconnect with nature? Really, there is no right or wrong way. Every human’s connection to nature is unique. Claire uses the term ‘re-wilding’ – which she sees as an integral part of fully developing as a human. Re-wilding for Claire meant reducing the ‘busyness’ of her mind and just being present in humankind’s natural habitat. She read books, walked barefoot in nature, reflected and absorbed her surroundings. She howled over the death of a wallaby she trapped, she apologised to it and thanked it for its life before eating it. She got bitten by mosquitos and sucked by leeches. She subsisted on a diet of rice, lentils, native berries and forest food grown in a communal garden. She fasted, danced naked in a storm and built a shelter. She created fire without matches. She learnt not to self-judge so harshly. And maybe most importantly, she learnt how to be a ‘wild woman’. “My year in the bush was a kind of rite of passage. It was a truly transformational time. The term wildness has all sorts of connotations and the wild woman is a really strong archetype throughout history. She is connected not just to nature but to the mysteries of her soul and herself. And this word re-wilding I use and the very


Heading into the wild for a year may sound like a journey of discovery – and it was. But for Claire, it was also about reconnecting to her fundamentals roots as a human being, re-patterning years of self-judgement and criticism and discovering her wild woman. Today, Claire lives in suburban Melbourne and is currently working on her new book, which explores what re-wilding means in an urban context. She also runs a variety of nature appreciation workshops. She spends as much time in nature and she can, and encourages others to answer the call of the wild when it comes. She says, “There is a time in one’s life when the wild within and often the wild outside calls you. You can keep ignoring that call but it will keep popping up at different times of your life until you say yes.” For more details about Claire Dunn, check out her website

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THE ART OF BEING ALONE. Being Good Company Whilst Hiking Solo


When I sat down to plan this article, one thing resounded more than anything else about my approach - what is my point of differentiation? What can I tell you lovely ladies about solo hiking that you haven’t heard before? 018

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According to me, the “Hike Priestess”, one who is obviously an unabashed and has a totally modest wealth of knowledge about all things hiking and outdoors. (!) What do you need to know more than anything about preparing to go solo for the first time? And so, as you do when planning a piece of writing, I jotted notes about hike preparation such as route selection, food, water sources, equipment, logistics, hygiene and communication. You know, normal hike stuff. But then I thought about my first solo adventure. What was the point of differentiation of that hike when compared to all my other trips? Why is solo hiking so significant that we need an entire article devoted to its preparation? Surely if our ladies are thinking of taking the plunge into solitary wandering, they are reasonably experienced hikers who know how to pack a pack with the correct equipment for all conditions. They can also navigate and they know how to feed and hydrate themselves. Do I need to explain how to prepare those aspects for a solo adventure? For me, I find the biggest difference in preparing for a solo hike versus a group hike is not the quantity of food to take, nor the location of water sources, nor the length of the trip nor even the issue of communication. For me, the biggest difference in preparing for a solo adventure is the very nature of the trip- the concept of actually going totally solo and mastering the art of being happy with solitude. Whilst this might sound somewhat obvious, it’s the gravity of this concept that is particularly important. The significance is not only that you need to prepare everything yourself, do everything yourself and carry everything yourself but that you need to be prepared to be by yourself for the duration of your trip. This can mean different things for different people, especially depending on whether you are fundamentally introverted or extroverted. And there is a difference between grabbing some “me-time” away from our partners, kids, parents, friends, siblings, and colleagues wherein we retreat to a quiet room or a yoga class or the gym or just put headphones on and tune out, and going out hiking solo where we find ourselves completely, utterly, and entirely alone. The psychological adventure that you go through once you realise that you’re out there with no one around, is just as daunting as well as fun, as the physical

adventure! The idea of “me-time” that I outlined above is critical but it is often short-term or temporary. The difference between this kind of “me-time” and solo hiking is that the latter sees us become entirely isolated. Properly alone. No one else around. Possibly for days at a time. And it is only once we are in this position that we really come to appreciate what that means. As an introverted child, I spent an awful lot of time in my own company and I use that phrase deliberately. I would argue that one of the most important skills that one has to develop if one is to go out on solo hiking adventures, is the ability to be content in one’s own company. I’ve had many years to practice this and I feel very comfortable being alone for long stints. And yet the first time I went out solo hiking, out into terrain with which I was intimately familiar, I experienced the exhilarating realisation that I was totally without the company or presence of others. I had no phone signal. I had no one camping at neighbouring sites. I had no other human contact whatsoever. All I had was myself along with the myriad little midges buzzing around my head torch, the koala screaming in the tree next to my tent and the stars. Oh, the stars. That moment was thrilling and yet I can appreciate that for many people, it can be completely overwhelming, even terrifying. So if I were to offer advice on how to prepare for a solo trip, what would I recommend first up? Become familiar with yourself as you are when you are on your own. Acclimatise to being by yourself. Go for long car trips with no radio and no music. Listen to your thoughts and your internal monologue. I took for granted that everyone had fifty thousand very vocal thoughts buzzing around their head in any given moment and then I realised that this is something symptomatic of my overexcited, hyper-processing brain. Some people can actually experience internal silence! Incredible! I can almost guarantee, though, that after only a few hours of total solitude, you will begin to hear yourself. You might even, like me, begin to externalise your internal monologue. Many might call that insane; I call it getting to know yourself and becoming comfortable in your own company. Is it wise to go out on a multi-day trek as a first solo venture? I wouldn’t advise it, but not for the reasons you might think. If you are competent enough a hiker to be


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considering going solo, I daresay you know enough about food preparation, water sourcing, hygiene, equipment, navigation and so on to be able to manage out there physically. But if you’re used to being in the company of others, going out alone for a multi-day trip could test the boundaries of what you are okay with psychoemotionally when it comes to being in your own company, to use that magical phrase again. So again, I recommend easing into it. Go out to an area that you’re familiar with and take a day walk. Enjoy the sounds of nature around you, and again, listen to that internal monologue. This isn’t just the words that your brain might be saying but the simple observations it might make. When I walked a very familiar track solo for the first time, I was astonished at the different things I noticed – not so much with regard to new physical aspects I saw or new sounds I heard or anything like that. Instead, I noticed proper freedom. I noticed that I could stop and look around me and soak in my surrounds without the pressure of having other people wanting to keep moving. I could walk at my own pace, be it slower or faster than normal because I didn’t have others setting the speed for me. I could decide on when and where I stopped for a snack break. I noticed that my perceptions of the view, of the gradient of the hill, of the surface of the track, of the temperature were entirely my own and not influenced by others’ input. When we are with others, this happens whether we want it to or not. The subconscious is a remarkably strong ‘muscle’. The empowerment of that moment is what is the most significant thing about my first solo hike and is one of the reasons why I love to get out there alone as often as I can. So how do I recommend preparing for a solo hike? Start by becoming really intimately familiar with yourself as an independent, solitary entity. Be alone and in nature for a couple of hours at a time. Become accustomed to natural silence and to being without music or background noise. Embrace your internal monologue. And when you have that moment of realisation that you are alone with only the environment and your own thoughts for company, stop and cherish it. Remember how it feels- the terrified tingling that comes with realising you’re alone. That, my dear ladies, is the exhilarating experience of empowerment and it’s the very reason we hike. We end up finding ourselves. There can be nothing more empowering or important than this.


THIS AUTUMN Apart from rubbish, what do oyster shells, plastic bottles and coffee grounds have in common? Well they are all currently being used by some innovative companies to produce Eco Friendly Fabric technologies and put a whole new spin on the term reuse and recycle. I’m no scientist, and I certainly wouldn’t call myself a ‘greenie’, but I am extremely passionate about looking after this beautiful planet we call home the best way I possibly can. Like most of you, I endeavour to recycle our household waste, leave behind only footprints when I head outdoors and make the best choices I can when it comes to finding alternatives to using harsh chemicals and plastics in the home. But did you know, aside from our general household waste, that Australians on

average buy 27 kilograms of new textiles each year and then discard 23 kilograms into landfill? Add to that, it is estimated a truckload of plastics is dumped in the ocean every minute killing sea life, causing micro plastics to enter our food chain and destroying our coastlines. Even the humble old morning coffee is causing a waste issue. When you consider that to produce it, only 0.2 % of the coffee bean was used, and the remaining 99.8 % became coffee grounds and was most likely thrown away, never to be seen again.

FROM THREAT TO THREAD TURNING OCEAN PLASTIC INTO HIGH TECH RUNNING SHOES For a while, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an organisation dedicated to reducing plastic waste in oceans, have been collaborating on shoes made out of recycled ocean plastic. In 2015 they 3D-printed a prototype, with the goal of demonstrating how the industry could “rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution,” now they are making actual pairs of shoes available for you to buy. Each shoe’s upper is made from 5 percent recycled polyester and 95 percent waste plastic dredged from the ocean around the Maldives. Each pair of shoes contains 11 plastic bottles, and most of the rest of the sneaker (including the heel, lining, and laces) is also made from recycled material. “Nobody can save the oceans alone. Each of us can play a role in the solution. It’s in the hands of the creative industries to reinvent faulty materials, products, and business models. The consumer can boost the demand for change." Cyrill Gutsch, the founder of Parley for the Oceans. To find out more:


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So what can we do? The biggest takeaway for me has been, shop wisely, keep it simple and reduce, reuse and recycle whenever humanly possible. There are some fantastic initiatives around the place and you don’t have to look very far at all to discover all the alternatives available. Recently whilst doing some personal research I came across a great story about shoes made from plastics reclaimed from the ocean, and I just had to find out more about some of these innovations.

SEAWOOL CRAFTED FROM RECYCLED OYSTER SHELL Combining recycled oyster shells and recycled plastic bottles, Seawool delivers a new standard of eco-conscious, highly functional fabric. This beautiful fabric provides insulating warmth and is soft, wrinkle free, quick drying, anti-static and naturally prevents odour and it is being used by Mountain Designs in selected ranges. Features and benefits: • Soft woollen touch • Insulating warmth • Naturally anti-odour: Naturally stops odour causing bacteria from growing on the fabric. This keeps the garment smelling fresher for longer without the need for added chemicals. • Wrinkle resistant: Reduces everyday ironing and making it great for travelling. The way the yarn is spun makes it more

flexible than other fabrics, allowing it to maintain a smooth appearance. • Quick drying: The recycled PET bottles used in the fabric create a polyester fibre that causes it to dry quickly. • Anti-static • Sustainable: The Oyster shells are sourced from the food industry, ground into powder and mixed with plastic pellets made from recycled PET bottles.

ECO INSULATION COFFEE LACED POLYESTER MATERIAL This clever coffee ground laced polyester material is made of 35% fibres from coffee grounds and 65% polyester from recycled plastic bottles. Characterized by a high thermal insulation it is used in clothing production. One T-shirt can be made with three cups of coffee grounds and five recycled plastic bottles. Features and benefits: • Naturally anti-odour: Coffee grounds eliminate odours • Quick drying: The recycled PET bottles used in the fabric create a polyester fibre that causes it to dry quickly. • Coffee can protect pigments and fibres from ultraviolet rays • It is great for waterproofing. • Sustainable: The coffee grounds are sourced from the food industry

Australian company Mountain Designs created a Seawool range, and a range using the coffee polyester technology born from their commitment to creating quality, innovative and sustainable clothing.

Sleeve Shirt (as featured above).

So you can please your inner ecowarrior with their Pearl Check Long

To find out more:


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The Pearl is perfect for hiking, camping, traveling and everyday wear. Or, for maximum warmth and sustainability, their Narvik women's winter vest (left) features the innovative ECO insulation.



Women who go travelling, playing and living in the big wide world probably take more time and invest more energy in pondering what is happening to the environment than most people do. But even we find our brains hurting when we start to consider climate change, overpopulation and pollution, right?


I am guessing that every one of our Travel Play Live supporters, subscribers and readers would absolutely love to eat in a sustainable way but that the majority of us, just don’t know where to start. So the intention of this issue’s nutrition contribution is to give you a springboard and the motivation to start sustaining your family and yourself more sustainably. I have researched this topic in the scientific literature, asked questions of people who have studied this subject, watched and read all I can on the subject and have considered what had been easier and harder in my personal quest to transition to more sustainable eating. I have condensed that down as your very own ‘how to’ guide to eating a sustainable diet. Some of these are easier, short term targets for some quick ‘wins’ for beginners and others are more challenging, longer term targets. All are beneficial to the food supply and environment. Here are my ten top tips to choose from, start with or ‘run with’:

to sustain yourself S U S TA I N A B LY

3 Avoid Overeating.

1 LEARN MORE ABOUT FOOD SUSTAINABILITY. For some motivation and background on food sustainability start by getting a bit more knowledge on the topic and realise you are not alone in trying to eat more sustainably. • Read or watch some of Michael Pollan’s work. Start with ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ or ‘In Defence of Food’ • Read Raj Patel’s ‘Stuffed and Starved’ or Colin Beaven’s ‘No impact man’ • Watch When you start looking up these titles, you find that there is a whole new world out there of podcasts, documentaries, books and blogs about reducing food waste and that lots of people are doing it!


4 Get a Keep Cup and use it.


The way I have done this is to try to go meat free from Monday to Friday. It could be as simple as baked beans with mushrooms one day, an egg based meal or good quality pasta with pesto another day. Not only are these meals quick, easy and tasty weekday options, you will really enjoy the meat you have as a roast or barbeque on the weekend! Another way of approaching this is to halve the amount of meat in each meal and replace with veg. It will reduce your intake by half which over the weeks, months and years, saves the environment and helps reduce your food costs – a ‘win-win’. Any reduction in meat consumption means that we are helping to reduce the environmental impact of meat production. If you need some ideas for eat meat free meals,feel free to contact me.


Seems simple but if everyone in the Western world ate only enough calories while getting adequate nutrition, food sustainability would increase substantially. One of the simplest things you can do to eat more sustainably is to practice mindful eating. Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and how it is nourishing your body. Additionally, by tuning in to your hunger signals you may learn that you don’t need as much food as you thought and resize your meals accordingly. By paying more attention to how we eat and thinking about the “bigger picture,” we may alter our food consumption and reduce food waste, as well as become encouraged to seek out more sustainable food sources.

Take away coffee cups have become the plastic water bottles of the modern era. If there is a reason why you order coffee in a take away cup that cannot be solved by using your own Keep Cup, then try to think of another way around it. In fact, best to buy a few so you can have one in the car, one at work and one for if you lose the other one temporarily. But please, do it.

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Have a look here for the inspiring story about my favourite Keep Cup brand


EAT MORE PLANT BASED FOODS. Halving meat consumption goes hand in hand with eat more veg because that is what you can substitute the meat. This does not necessarily mean ‘going vegetarian’ but in Michael Pollan’s words ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ Try to eat at least two meals per day that contain more than half the plate as vegies. A more plant-based way of eating will help reduce water use in farming and deforestation – good for our own health and environment. One way to increase fruit and veg intake relative to meat for my family has been to only shop at the supermarket monthly and to go to the fruit shop twice a week (or get a box delivered). This changes the balance of what is available to cook with at home, helping me to get the balance right. You could also go to the farmers' market once a month to stock up on seasonal produce. Take your own bags rather than having your lovely farm grown produce wrapped in plastic. You can then freeze locally grown summer vegetables for use in the winter and freeze fresh or stewed summer fruits to use in winter.

6 Seafood, don’t always eat it! Did you know that a large proportion of edible seafood goes to waste as result of food supply inefficiencies including consumers and fishermen discarding fish and losses through distribution? While fish can be a healthy choice if part of an overall healthy dietary style, some species are at risk of being over fished or produced in ways that harm the marine environment. Look up a list of threatened species to avoid and consider including small fish like whitebait and sardines in your seafood selection.

Avoid foods that are

8 damaging to the environment By damaging I mean that the food production is damaging to the environment, especially relative whether that food is a necessary part of the food supply. The best example is probably palm oil, the production of which destroys natural forests, relative to the zero need for palm oil in the human diet. Other examples that spring to mind include farming of other crops purely for their oil (corn, soybeans), sugar and very sadly, even chocolate - which has a huge environmental footprint but is only questionably a necessary part of the human diet!


REDUCE FOOD WASTE My ‘motto’ is ‘there is no leftover that is too small’. In this era of refrigeration and freezers in every household, food can be preserved well for a relatively long time, much longer than it says on packaging! Here are some ways you can start reducing food waste now: • Dish up meals and put the remaining food in a container in the fridge or freezer straight away. Your family still get to share in the leftovers, just not right now! • Cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers for lunches and for when you are short on time. It will save you from buying processed and expensive options.

Use re-usable 10 wrapping and packaging on food.


Check out these great Beeswax food wraps from Bee Wrappy an Australian company from the Blue Mountains

GO LOCAL. Exploring farmers’ markets helps you find fresh produce grown locally, but equally important, you can meet the people who produce your food. Take this opportunity to learn how your food was grown, when it was harvested and even how to prepare it. When the items you are buying are in season and abundant, the price will decrease. Many times sellers will have a box full of slightly damaged produce at a discount and sometimes they will sell in bulk for a discount too.

Quite frankly, the amount of unnecessary food packaging is just scary. You can help by taking your own bags to the supermarket, even containers and bags for fruit and vegetables. Then when you get there, vow to avoid buying any food with unnecessary or double packaging. When you get home, reuse any soft plastic bags at least twice, or rinse and return them to the soft plastics recycle bin at your supermarket. You can also avoid plastic and foil wrapping by using good quality containers and some of the fabulous eco wrapping options available.

I hope that some of these ideas resonate enough with you that you resolve to make at least three of the above changes to help improve food sustainability so we can all keep enjoying the natural environment in our personal quests to travel, play and live to our absolute potential. Please email me if you would like to talk more about sustainability or need some more ideas about how to do so. Contact: 023

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finding the

LIGHT WITHIN Let’s face it, being a female in today’s society is tough. In fact, given current circumstances in the world, I could probably simplify this further and say being a human in today’s society is tough.



and access to other conveniences

When we are exploring together,

like electricity. Smartphones aren’t

the thrill of knowing an adventure

designed to swim in the ocean.

is underway trumps the bullshit

Unless you’re a researcher, a laptop is

conversations that society expects us to

probably not high on the list of things

have. We are collectively standing in our

The list goes on, along with the plans,

you want to carry to a summit. By

own light.

programs and products that can help us

encouraging us to become and remain

achieve the ‘more’ that we need. Every

Perhaps one of the most beautiful

self-sufficient in how we protect and

single minute of our day, we are being

things adventure can bring to our lives

provide for ourselves when we are

exposed to industries exploiting our

is ourselves. When we are focused on

immersed in nature, Mother Nature is

self- esteem and self-image, for the sake

adventure, we open our minds and

helping us find our light within. She is

of consumption and profit. And in this

hearts to the concept of possibility. We

reminding us how capable, resilient and

climate, enough will never BE enough.

stop thinking about how our bodies

determined we are. In nature, we are

look or fit in with social norms and we

Back in the time before smart phones

no longer ‘Mum’, ‘Mrs/Ms’, ‘Teacher’,

start appreciating how they function

and portable devices, we had the ability

‘Daughter’, ‘Customer/Consumer’ - we

to help us get to the top of the hill. We

to switch off from the messaging and

are the most raw and authentic versions

stop limiting ourselves to workouts that

detach from it. We could turn the TV

of ourselves. One thing I have always

we don’t enjoy because we feel obliged

off and read a book. We could choose

said about my running is that when I

to burn fat and we start participating

not to buy a particular magazine or

run, it is a sacred time where I am ‘Leah.’

in activities that make our souls happy.

switch the channel when the good old

Our exploration in nature is an

We tune into ourselves and we find that

‘enough’ ads came on. We had the

exploration of ourselves. We find out

light within - a light which has always

(and I think this term is fitting) luxury to

what we are made of, what our thoughts

been burning -that modern society

detach. Now, through social media and

are like when the only external noise is

simply cannot completely extinguish,

electronic advertising so specifically

the trees, the birds or the ocean. Mother

no matter how hard it tries.

targeted to our unique browsing

Nature takes us home to ourselves.

Adventure reminds us that we are

There’s another agenda that Mother

fierce, independent and self-sufficient.

Nature seems pretty keen on too;

Adventure also takes us back to nature,

facilitating the ever-so-powerful

and as women, our connection with

experience of female connection by

nature is undeniable - we need it to

encouraging us to explore together.

ground ourselves, re-connect and re-

Joint female adventure and exploration


is the perfect antidote to a world where

For many of us the concept of

women are constantly encouraged to

But there are still a few places where

adventure in any form is daunting and

compare, criticise and talk about one

they can’t touch us.

uncomfortable. But there is one thing

another. No one gives two hoots who

I know from experience about comfort

I guess in a way you could say that

wore their hiking boots best. We want

zones - there’s quite often an old friend

Mother Nature is our ultimate protector;

to know whether Jenny is happy with

waiting, holding a light burning brightly

shielding us from the toxicity of

how her shorts perform on a hike, not

saying “it’s about bloody time you got

modern life by limiting phone coverage

how good her backside looks in them.

here, thank goodness you found me.”

n Western Society, women are constantly bombarded with ‘enough.’ Thin enough. Toned enough. Smart enough. Nice enough. Successful enough.

experience, we are hard pressed to find more than a handful of hours a day when we are not exposed to something designed to make us question the quality of our current life and selves within the context of ‘enough.’ We are mentally and emotionally tired, we are stressed, and we are over-exposed.


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and Surprise Yourself

The Travel Play Live Women's Adventure Summit a ‘build your own adventure’ three day mammoth weekend in the stunning Great Lakes on the Mid North Coast of NSW.


We’ve made it easy for you to find your tribe. Whether you are an avid outdoor enthusiast, or a women excited to try new activities for the first time. Be inspired by some of the countries most motivating women and to connect with like minded outdoor gals. We are bringing together all your adventure loves in one location, in one of Australia’s most beautiful outdoor playgrounds. We want to make it easy for you to unite, collaborate and join forces with other women who share that sense of adventure.


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The truth is while we want to take you on a journey of adventure throughout the weekend, what we really aspire to, is unleashing your inner child, free spirit and sense of fun. We give you the opportunity to climb, paddle, hike, camp, laugh, reach summits, ride waves, and yes – even to fly.

equip. We offer an across the board selection of adventure activities, clinics and workshops designed to challenge the body and mind, and leave you with a brand new attitude. You will have opportunities to play on your own or have guided experiences in an supportive environment with trusted guides and coaches on hand. Experience new things and leave with the knowledge and confidence to pursue them afterwards.


+ Receive our partner bonuses Early Bird Tickets Available until 30th April 2017

Includes: Full Inclusion and Priority Placement within ALL Elective Streams* Bunk House Accommodation (linen provided) All Meals VIP Gift Bag with fantastic merchandise from our event partners First Option Bonuses to purchase our Glamping Option Personal Accident Insurance

*Full list of electives will open closer to the event, all early bird ticket holders will be given priority placement within their chosen elective streams. Please note some Travel Playnumbers Live and will be filled on a first in first served basis. 027 will electives have limited


Connect, Unleash, Equip and Surprise Yourself at the Travel Play Live Women's Adventure Summit a ‘build your own adventure’ three day mammoth weekend August 31st - 3rd September in the stunning Great Lakes on the mid north coast of NSW. Unpack your sense of adventure, release the kid at heart and find your wild side! Challenge your comfort zone with our clinics, coaching sessions, workshops and off site activities e.g. mountain biking, white water kayaking, abseiling, hiking,

bodyboarding, surfing, stand up paddle boarding and more. Acquire new skills in a fun, no-pressure environment and open your mind to new adventure opportunities and inspiring speakers and sessions. Revive your spirit by connecting to nature, meeting

new friends and chilling out each evening around the fire in a relaxed and casual camp vibe. All ages and levels of fitness welcome! It’s the perfect event to inspire you to expand your ‘Can Do’ list, ignite your inner adventurer and to Travel - Play – Live


Hayley Talbot. Hayley is a mother, writer, and integrated marketing strategist with a background in corporate law and a mean passion for adventure and the endless ways it unites and challenges us to push beyond ourselves. An endurance athlete and solo survivalist, she ups the ante with her solo adventures by foraging and sourcing her food and water from her surroundings. She is passionate about the environment, the empowerment of women, and youth mental health. She is a fierce advocate of the remedial effects of ‘getting the hell outside’.

Samantha Gash.

Caroline Pemberton.

From a background as a corporate lawyer, Samantha is now an endurance athlete, corporate presenter, writer and social entrepreneur. Her thirst for adventure, experience and thrill for life has allowed her to discover what she cares about the most achieving social change through the vehicle of adventure and running. Samantha has run through some of the most extreme and inhospitable locations on the planet. From the deserts in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica, to the mountains of Nepal, New Zealand, South Africa and India. She has just returned for a 3253km 77 day run from the West to East of India as an Ambassador for World Vision.

Caroline is a television presenter, producer, adventure addict and once upon a time Miss Australia. Growing up with two brothers and always outside, she found herself more comfortable in a pair of muddy boots than wearing a tiara. Now dubbed MissAdventure, she now spends much of her life either in front or behind the camera creating travel, adventure and action sports media and programming. She wholeheartedly believes in the transformative power of adventure and wants everyone to experience the exhilaration of the outdoors and a more genuine connection the world around them.


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Key Note Speakers,

Kemi Nekpavil.

Caro Ryan.

Kemi Nekvapil has worked in the wellness industry for over 20 years. Known as the 'woman’s coach’ she specialises in empowering women to set boundaries, say yes to themselves and to create lives that honour and nourish them. A regular media commentator and writer on women’s self-love and selfcare Kemi is committed to seeing a change in how women feel about themselves and how they express themselves in the world. "I believe women are powerful, but many do not feel that way. I believe women are more than mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. I believe women need to own their possibilities. I believe success is defined by the woman creating it." - Kemi Nekvapil

Caro from Lotsafreshair is one of Australia's top bloggers / vlogger when it comes to all things outdoors. Growing up in Sydney in a family that never went camping or on outdoors adventures, it came as somewhat of a surprise to discover hiking and camping in her mid 20’s and it fast became somewhat of an obsession. The outdoors totally changed her life and she is keen to share her knowledge and stories with others – hoping that they’ll catch the bug too! When she is not out in the bush, she can be found running a Production and Communications Consultancy company, shooting in remote and logistically tricky locations such as jungles, volcanoes and on the high seas.



Leah Gilbert. B O DY P O S I T I V E AT H L E T E S

Leah is the founder of Body Positive Athletes, a blog and online community which celebrates the belief that the term 'athletic' defines a lifestyle, not a body type. A specialist Fitness Instructor and Accredited Athletics Coach, known globally as a 'thought leader' in the Body Positive Fitness arena. Leah is a regular contributor for Travel Play Live and has featured in publications such as Huffington Post.

Kerryann Hayes & Amy Heague. F O U N D E R S O F T R AV E L P L AY L I V E

We will be introducing you to more of our guest presenters, coaches and workshop facilitators in the coming months, both here in the magazine, website and social media, so make sure you keep an eye out for all out latest updates for the Summit. 029

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change positive


In an issue devoted to exploring possibilities, we go behind the scenes at Australian outdoor clothing company ioMerino, to talk to Emma Michell - the woman who is helping to shape the future direction of the company. And in doing so, changing the way this Australian company makes and promotes outdoor clothing for adventure loving women. “It always confuses us that people who say they love outdoors and nature so much, aren’t more committed to wearing natural fabrics like merino wool,” Emma said, ”and although the cost of merino wool sometimes makes it more expensive than many of its synthetic counterparts, it’s a fair point if we’re all serious about doing the right thing by the planet we all love exploring so much”. “For us, it’s all about performance. Sure, we do our best to make the clothes look and feel amazing, but as big as ‘the leisure’ market has been, we’re not here to fight it out with companies making stinky synthetics in pretty colours. From the start, we've been about ethical and sustainable production, using natural fibres, producing premium garments that deliver high performance in all sorts of conditions to keep you comfortable for longer.” The Michell family have been in the wool business for almost 150 years, and it’s fair


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to say, as is often the case in agriculture and the primary industries, it has very much been a male dominated business during that time. So when 5th generation wool man David Michell first started ioMerino with his brother Peter, that, didn’t look like changing until almost by accident, David’s daughter Emma made her way into the business a few years back. Now it’s a very different story indeed with a strong willed, outdoor loving woman having a major say in the direction of the company and the clothing it makes. It may well have been a very different story, with Emma not originally set to take a place in the company. “The business was going through a major restructure”, Emma explains, “And I guess I was in the right place at the right time. Dad had always made it clear we were welcome to get involved in the business, but that he didn’t expect us to if it wasn’t what we wanted to do. But I’d studied marketing

and brand management so when a position to help out with production and marketing became available, I put my hand up.” Emma, one of three daughters, has since gone on to play a pivotal role in product design and development, and has an increasing say in everything from the products they make, right through to how they are promoted. Like many of us right now, she sees some very exciting times ahead. “Even just a few years ago when I started working in the business, the industry was still dominated by khaki, navy and black and lot of boxy men’s shapes. Thankfully, we’re starting to see a few manufacturers take designing for women a lot more seriously now and we’re definitely one of those companies” she says. It’s an approach that has seen the company completely rethink its product offering, bringing in a whole range of new styles and colours designed specifically with women in mind often based on direct feedback from their female customers, who they interact with on a regular basis. “It’s been super exciting to see an explosion in the women’s adventure space, with groups popping up all over the place and, of course, amazing magazines like ‘Travel, Play, Live’ plays a pivotal role in bringing many of these groups together. That’s a really important thing for the industry in general and for businesses like ours because while there have always been women in adventure out there enjoying the wilderness, they’ve been somewhat fragmented and haven’t really had as much of a voice, which means change has happened much slower than it should have. Finally we’re starting to see some real progress.” It’s a voice Emma and the team at ioMerino listen to more than most, with literally each and every piece of customer feedback reviewed by Emma personally. “As a comparatively small, family owned Australian company, we’re able to keep things much more personal than the bigger companies. If even just one customer emails us with a query about sizing, or something they’d like to see in the range, we’ll look at it and discuss it internally as a team. The challenge we have, like all companies is with what is and isn’t viable which is why it’s so important women start speaking out and letting companies know what they want. If we have just one or two women saying they’d like to see larger sizes, for example, it makes it very difficult for us to justify a production run of sizes of XL and up. But if we get enough requests, we can absolutely do it. We can do relatively modest production runs to test out demand providing we’ve at least had some

people ask for it.” Sizing in particular is an issue close to Emma’s heart after she and the company recently took some flack after being accused of ‘body shaming’ a customer for not producing sizes above an extra large. “Let me tell you,” Emma says with a laugh, “I’m no size zero. So I won’t be out there body shaming anyone. And I wouldn’t ever knowingly allow us as a company to do something that could be interpreted that way. We all took that one piece of feedback pretty personally,” she admits. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure we do the right thing by everyone, as tough as that can be at times, and keep things body positive and don’t push unrealistic images of women. Not that we always get it right we’re still learning how to do things better. One thing we’ve done for our last few photo shoots, is to recruit real customers, rather than use models. These are people who wear our gear when they’re out running, hiking and riding.” Emma goes on to explain the lack of larger sizes is simply an issue of supply and demand, and that’s where we come in. “We had a few people tell us some of our lighter coloured fabrics were a little see -through when they got wet, which wasn’t really a big deal for men, but it was really bothering our women customers - so we introduced a new range of darker colours. That was purely based on getting enough feedback and women being clear on what they wanted from us. We had women tell us our leggings which were originally designed to be worn as a base layer, were too sheer to wear on their own, so we introduced a more opaque range of leggings. Now we’ve had feedback that our women customers love how warm and comfortable they are, but that they’d like them firmer so they’re more flattering, so we’re literally developing an entire new fabric for that.” These are just some of the examples of how customer feedback is changing the way companies like ioMerino are catering for women in the adventure space. And Emma says taking a good long hard look at sizing is the next frontier. “We know women who love adventure come in all shapes and sizes. We know this, because we’re those ‘all shapes and sizes’ people ourselves! And we understand it’s a ‘Catch 22’ with demand. If we don’t make it, our customers can’t buy it. I understand that. But I can only put the challenge out there to our customers: if you want to see bigger sizes,


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you have to let us know. We don’t make the standard XS-XL size range to body shame anyone who doesn’t fit within that, we make it because that’s what most people want and buy and at the end of the day. We have to be guided by that. But we can absolutely add larger sizes if that’s what people want. They just have to take the time to let us know.” The challenge has been set ladies. We’ve got an Australian outdoor clothing manufacturer with a woman at the helm, ready to hear what we want. It has to be said, developing new fabrics and colours and products takes time though, so the sooner you have your say, the sooner we’ll all see what’s possible. It’s also worthy of note, working with natural fibre like merino wool, delivers a whole range of benefits to the wearer, but it doesn’t make life easy for the people producing it. “Merino is an epic fibre but there’s a reason more companies don’t work with it,” Emma concedes. “It’s not the cheapest fibre going around and it takes a lot of know-how to create the best fabrics, which, thankfully, given our history, we have plenty of. But it’s not as easy to do certain colours and fancy prints so we can’t really compete on that level. Instead, what we deliver is something else entirely.” That “something else” is a natural fabric beyond compare. For all the technical innovation in the clothing industry, there’s still nothing that comes close to delivering the unique combination of benefits delivered courtesy of Mother Nature in the form of merino. With almost 150 years of history already behind them, we look forward to seeing what Emma and the team has in store in the coming years. “When David and Peter started the company all those years ago, it was very much about base layers for the snow, so everything was ‘contact fit’ and not all that flattering to be worn on its own. One of the things I’ve overseen is the development of a range of more flattering fits that have been really popular. And there’s more of that to come with a whole new range that will be launched in time for the Australian winter. The colours are great. The fit is amazing. Now I just have to hope the demand is there so I don’t get left out in the cold pushing these design changes for our female customers!” If the behind- the- scenes glimpses we’ve had of the new range are anything to go by, we’re pretty sure she won’t be left out in the cold any time soon. And if you manage to get your hands on some of them, neither will you.



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You reach the summit you’ve been suffering all day for and the view is breathtaking. The perilous cliff edge is close, daunting and dangerous. You carefully cast your eyes down, proud of the magnitude of your climb. You fight it, but have an overwhelming need to get a selfie, one that shows the world just how #adventurous you are! Possessed, you edge closer, trying to angle the screen to capture the scale of your achievement. You take risks you normally wouldn’t just to get the perfect shot. A rock slips out from under your foot, careening over the side, smashing into the cliff face below, the violence of the sound alerting you to your own stupidity and you urgently pull back. In the time it takes for the rock to crash onto the valley floor below, you wonder when getting a shot of yourself at the summit became more important that the summit itself?


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id you know more people die from taking selfies than from shark attacks? In fact there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to reporting ‘selfie’ accidents. Apparently it’s a new threat posed from living in a hyper-connected world. Even lawmakers are considering passing laws to ban texting and walking because we are having so many distracted accidents! Our addiction to our devices, to social media, to the every shudder, vibration and ping of our phones is real and it’s an epidemic. You don’t have to look far to see it. Watch the people on the bus, in a queue, at restaurants, in airports, anywhere! Everybody is on their smartphone. Even you! In fact 12% of us are using our phones in the shower and apparently up to 1 in 5 of us check them during sex! We happily trade the mundane details of our lives on an economy of likes and followers that boost our self worth. Like zombies we endlessly consume newsfeeds on the comings and goings of hundreds of people we don’t even care about! Our brains have literally rewired to reward us with a dopamine hit at every notification.

Condensing our lives into 140 characters, we freeze our greatest moments into filtered ‘instas’. Our smartphones are the first thing we touch in the morning and the last thing we look at at night. How did this happen? Many of us would like to lay the blame at technology’s feet, its accessibility and our requirement to be technologically literate, but sorry folks, tech is not the problem- it’s how we use it. Like most things in life, there’s a point where too much of a good thing leads to unhealthy outcomes like our relationships failing because we are spending more time touching a screen than our loved ones. Did you know a quarter of divorce cases in the US and UK now cite Facebook! Scary isn’t it. So what do we do about it? How do we regain balance? To me it’s very simple. You don’t need to throw your phone in the sea and vow to never tap on a keyboard again, rather just take a little time each day to digitally detox and unplug. What if there were no phones at the dinner table? What if you left your mobile in your rucksack for emergencies and assessed the risk before you took that selfie shot? What if you shut down your inbox at

the end of your day only to reopen it at your desk the next morning? Too often we hide behind the justification of our work to keep our ally by our sides. “I have this important email coming in, so I must be on my phone over your birthday lunch, sorry.” How busy we are has become a status symbol ‘ How are you?’ “I’m good, I’m just sooo busy” we unconsciously say, as if somehow our overflowing calendars and our inability to keep up with our own commitments is a badge of our importance in the world, but ask yourself, what is most important to you? Is it your Facebook feed or the friends sitting beside you? Is it that email or the world waiting outside? Is it your life or that selfie? Recently I met a young New Yorker called Gary. He’s twenty eight, unemployed and with no financial independence, he relies entirely on the support of his parents. He spends eighteen hours a day on social media, surfing the web and playing video games. Even when he tries to sleep, he periodically checks his phone and sends texts at all hours just to solicit them back. He suffers insomnia and ADHD. He can’t bear to be parted with his devices and always has the neon light of a screen illuminating his face.

We happily trade the mundane details of our lives on an economy of likes and followers that boost our self worth. Like zombies we endlessly consume newsfeeds on the comings and goings of hundreds of people we don’t even care about!


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Travel Play Live

The thing about Gary is that he is a walking paradox. He has grand career ambitions and a college education, the support of a loving family and the intelligence to get wherever he wants to go. He has a naturally athletic build, yet he sits, all day, every day, staring at a multitude of screens. His mum brings him food and does his laundry. He’s anxious and desperately unhappy. He wants change but doesn’t know where to start. What began as harmless distraction and a bit of procrastination is now ruling and ruining his life. It doesn’t take long to identify people like Gary, perhaps we can even relate to aspects of him. We can hardly hold a conversation without the disruption of some sort of technology. Second screening or ‘phubbing’ (an actual word in the Macquarie dictionary which means to snub someone in favour of your phone!), is just part of everyday life. The answer to the epidemic is right out our front doors. Literally! Put down your phone, go outside and seek an adventure, experience some adrenaline, log off and live a little bit! In my own life, it is the outdoors that has kept me healthy, happy, challenged and purposeful. I wanted to share that gift with Gary to see if it would help lift him out of his rut. At first he was reluctant saying “It’s easier for me to stay at home than have an adventure” but his desperation for a shift was louder and when hope arrived in the form of a duffel bag full of outdoor gear and the offer to take him to a place he’d only ever seen on YouTube and Instagram on the condition that he leave his technology behind, he took a courageous step and said “Yes.” Powering off, he handed me his laptop, iPad and phone and bid a teary farewell to his parents at JFK airport. It was the first time in more than a decade that he didn’t have a device on his person. Boarding the plane, Gary admitted he was terrified. He felt naked without his phone and he was destined for a place he had never dreamt he would go … Nepal.

Nepal is without doubt one of the best adventure playgrounds in the world, a tiny landlocked country, its geography is incredible with soaring summits, raging rivers and a fascinating culture. It was the perfect place to unplug Gary. I was sure wild, new experiences would help build a healthier perspective. I knew he would return home motivated and ready to grasp life by the horns. He had never known the joy of sleeping under the stars or the experience of standing and watching the sunrise above the mountains. He had never felt awestruck by nature. While I wanted Gary to find gratitude in the preciousness of his life, I also needed him to feel challenged to draw upon his own resources, to know himself and through adversity become self reliant. To do that, we needed an ambitious itinerary. We would complete an 8 day trek in just 4 days, covering an average of 20-25km a day, with a pack weight of 15kg through the spectacular Langtang Ranges in the Himalayas. We would peak out at 3,800m before funnelling down the rapids of a previously un-descended river in expeditionary pack rafts achieving a world first. From there, we’d rendezvous with a couple of mountain bikes and pedal our way back to Kathmandu. All up, it would take a week-a week of sweat, tears and hopefully, change.

The answer to the epidemic is right out our front doors. Literally! Put down your phone, go outside and seek an adventure, experience some adrenaline, log off and live a little bit!


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In order to pull together such a unique expedition, I called upon my friends at Secret Compass, an adventure company specialising in bespoke expeditions and pioneering projects in the world’s wildest places. If you want an adventure you can’t read about in a brochure, these are the guys to go to. Together with our expedition leader, Tom, a capable ex-military Brit, we plotted a route, shouldered our packs and marched Gary off into the wilderness. Hiking hard for multiple days is always a shock to the body and one of the most common errors is to race out of the gate and blow yourself out in the first few hours. It didn’t take Gary that long. Eager to prove himself, he was moving far too quickly and within an hour was panting at the top of the first ascent, dripping in sweat and looking fairly unimpressed. His pack was heavy, he was tired, hungry and starting to get cold. We had a further 6 hours of steep climbing ahead of us before we would reach our designated camp and it became painfully apparent we wouldn’t beat the sun. Setting up camp in the pitch black, freezing Nepali night proved too much for Gary and he had his first tantrum. Frustrated with not knowing how to put up his tent, he threw the poles down and marched off. I found him sulking in the dark. “Why did you give up?” I asked. “Because there was nothing left to do but quit,” he snarled. “You’re a smart guy, you can figure this out” Furious, Gary looked at me and said “You don’t ask someone to perform surgery without showing them how”. While yes, I had left Gary to his own initiative, it was hardly surgery and entirely intentional. I was quietly watching to see how he went about problem solving. Would he logic through it? What would he do without a YouTube tutorial? Was he too accustomed to having all the

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answers at his fingertips on his shiny new iPhone? The answer was yes. Eight days later, the Gary we knew that night, the one who wanted to be spoon fed and would have a temper tantrum if he didn’t get what he wanted instantly with a swipe of a screen was nowhere to be seen. Sure, it was an uncomfortable learning curve but by the end of our trip, he would come to rely on himself, use his initiative and was fiercely and rightfully proud of his newly discovered independence.

Looping across the mountains, the physicality of his days and the simplicity of the adventurous life became apparent to Gary. The constant ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ comparison that was bred by the barrage of social media, dropped away and he was happy and complete in himself. His confusion cleared just as the morning fogs in the valleys lifted and he became certain about what he wanted to do with his life. As each challenge presented itself, whether it was crossing a flimsy suspension bridge over a raging river or topping out on an altitude effected climb he saw his own potential and started to believe in himself in a way he never had before. With each passing kilometre in the mountains, his insecurities dropped away.

Looping across the mountains, the physicality of his days and the simplicity of the adventurous life became apparent to Gary. The constant ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ comparison that was bred by the barrage of social media, dropped away and he was happy and complete in himself.

Our trek not only helped Gary mature, it also gave him a deep appreciation for the opportunities he had at home. Hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas, we passed through tiny villages, nearly all of them in the arduous process of rebuilding post the 2015 earthquake. These were people whose lives had come crashing down and were left to EEK out an existence amongst the rubble. They were desperately poor but also joyously happy. While they had no material wealth and had lost everything, they were peaceful, kind and generous. They valued one another and shared a richness of community that we often lack in the West. Over big plates of dahl baat (rice and vegetables served with a lentil soup), we heard their stories. Gary was left reeling. All of a sudden his expensive BMW no longer held the same emotional value. We handed out small donations to families to help rebuild their homes. The amount Gary normally spent on a pair of jeans was enough to place a roof on someone’s house. It was a perspective he would never find on facebook.


To show Gary just how far he’d come, we decided to end our expedition in a truly wild way. Instead of hiking out of the mountains, we opted to paddle a previously undescended river and enjoyed the rare glory of completing a world first. Armed with pack rafts (inflatable kayaks that fold down into an incredible 2kgs!), we drew upon all our resources to pull it off and ensure Gary, who had the least experience among us, was confident and safe. Thankfully, Secret Compass had somehow managed to track down a local Nepalese kayaker who agreed to recce the river from the shore, meet us at the entry point and act as our guide. We poured over our safety procedures, our river signals, donned our helmets and pushed in as a group. With plenty of glacial water ripping beneath us, we covered days of hiking in mere hours. While we all capsized more times than expected in the

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exhilarating rapids we always managed to help each other recover and stick together by regularly taking respite in the calm eddies by the shoreline. Everyone worked flawlessly as a team. Apart from the frigid waters and the occasional bump and bruise we all emerged victorious. The cold beer awaiting us in the village below was the sweetest one we’d ever had. From there, we grabbed our previously organised mountain bikes and cruised our way through the rice paddies and terraces of the last rugged mountains framing Kathmandu. Over the course of a day, the single track merged into a dirt road and eventually we came out onto the tarmac. Our adventure was coming to a close but the tangible evidence that logging off from our technology and seeking refuge and personal growth through adventure would remain with us all for life. In fact when I researched some of the science behind our experience, I wasn’t surprised to find extensive evidence of our hypothesis. There are an abundance of studies that show that spending time in nature decreases negative thoughts and depression by a significant margin, studies which prove that creative thinking and complex problem solving performance can be increased by a whopping 50% through disconnecting from technology and reconnecting to nature. (The researchers of this study noted that technology is disruptive preventing our focus and that a long hike, sans tech can actually make people think better!) Further I found researchers had been able to reduce ADHD symptoms by exposing sufferers to ‘green outdoor activities’ and a friend pointed out that neuropsychologists are now using surfing and ocean therapy as a breakthrough for people with PTSD so there’s no argument that unplugged adventures are good for us all and Gary was a walking testament. Safely back in Kathmandu, reflecting on the trip he said “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.’ He knew his parents would be proud and that things had changed forever. “I feel that this trip was designed for me, designed to cure all my anxieties. I’ve just become the person that I wanted to be and I didn’t even miss my phone!” and with that I silently handed it back to him complete with the wifi code but he just smiled, pocketed it and we kept chatting about the adventure we’d all shared. For the world, as challenging as it is beautiful, has more colour than pixels could ever show, more connection than any social media, more adrenaline than any video game and Gary could see that. So what happened to him after returning home? Well, about 6 weeks after our adventure, I received an email from Gary, it simply said; “I'm in bed by 8pm and I'm up by 5am to go to class and study. And I'm working with my Dad and working out everyday! Feeling great! Finally have the energy and drive to do the things I've always wanted to do. Makes me feel like I have a purpose. My parents definitely see a greater drive in me and somewhat of a sense of urgency. I feel so much more confident and I'm not shying away from challenges in my life, which is huge. It’s changed my life” It was the best email I’ve ever received.


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Preparing for


Last weekend I embarked on a ‘trail running project’ - to run the length of the South Coast Track in remote South-West Tasmania. I knew it would be long, rugged, muddy and exposed to the weather. If I am being completely honest, all of these things scared me. However, what scared me the most was that I had never done this adventure before. But isn’t anything new scary? When I came to accept this simple fact, somehow I was more capable of embracing the process of adventure rather than fretting over the outcome. Here are some of the key things that I focus on when preparing for trail running adventures. I hope they help you find inner confidence too!

Intention not goals.

I am slowly learning to switch off from the outcome (goal) and focus on the process (intention). I reached the end of the South Coast Track weary and muddy, but also euphoric. I was not celebrating getting to the end but rather was joyous in the strength & knowledge I gained from the whole experience. There is a difference between goals and intentions. I urge you all to try the intention hat on. I think you will find it suits you too.


Confidence is in the preparation: Three Key Elements. When I lean in to a new challenge, there are always 3 key elements that help me to feel more prepared and therefore, more confident. 1. CONSISTENCY OF YOUR TRAINING This simply involves being active as frequently and as consistently as possible. Building up a solid aerobic base is critical so start your training early, conservatively with the intention that you can grow into the process. Avoid ‘one-hit-wonder’ training. That is, avoid big efforts followed by large bouts of very little. Your body will respond much better to smaller bursts of frequent exercise. If all you have is 30 minutes, then take a jog for 30 minutes. Not sure what intensity to go? If you can chat with a friend with a little puffing then you are training at the right intensity. If trail running is your main intention, then preferably prioritise the running & running-related activities. Where possible, include some trails or softer surfaces. Finally, remember that you are only as strong as your recovery! When we train we degrade our muscle fibres. When we recover they repair. Therefore, for every harder day of exercise you do, you must allow for one day of recovery. Every 2-3 weeks I love to include a quiet ‘catchup’ week. This is essential for proper physical and mental recoup.

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2. VEST PACK The best running packs are ones that do not have a waste strap and tighten strongly around your chest. We call these a vest pack. They contain lots of pockets for your nutrition and water on the front, then a larger space on the back for clothing and other essential items. Most athletes today are moving to the use of soft water bottles over bladders. These are bottles made of softer materials that do not slosh when you are running and they compress as you drink from them. As a general rule, for races up to 50km I can use a pack with around 3-7 litres of capacity for all my gear. Races over this distance will normally require 10-12 litres of capacity.

Nutrition can be your powerful weapon on the trails! Everything happening in your body when you exercise relies on your brain - positive moods, conscious thought, muscle activity, coordination… I learnt the hard way that an under-fuelled brain leads to negativity and below average performances. Therefore, fuel your brain with simple glucose so that it can then drive fat metabolism to fuel your muscles. What I use: Shotz Sports Nutrition • Gels • Glucose Tablets • Glucose Jelly Beans • Electrolyte (low magnesium concentration) It is important to note that you can never replace all the energy and fluids that you loose during endurance running. Instead we aim to minimise the deficits. Every 2-3 weeks I love to include a quiet ‘catchup’ week. This is essential for proper physical and mental recoup.


3. KNOWLEDGE OF THE COURSE It really helps to know what you are preparing for. It is obviously best if you can see the course with your own eyes. However, if this is not possible, try to do some research on the course. Break it down section by section, knowing what the key elements are that you need to train for. For the South Coast Track I focused on the length, hills, trail conditions and other random challenges to expect. However, I avoid over-analysis as this just heightens my anxiety which, in turn, hampers my preparations.

Get stronger on the hills.

If it is wet you may need to run in this jacket all day so make sure you find a jacket that is comfortable! In order for your rain jacket to pass any mandatory gear inspections in a race it must: have a hood; be made from breathable, waterproof fabrics; and have all the seams of the jacket sealed by clear tape.

Shhhhh…. this is my secret! But hills are the BEST way to get fit and strong. When I started running I had a rule - try to run anything that is uphill but I can walk anything that is flat or downhill. Don’t fear or avoid the hills, embrace them!


Prepare Early. There are a few items that I never skimp on. These are my trail running shoes, running pack, rain jacket & head torch. Everything else you can ‘make do’.

If you are participating in an event which involves running at night, then do not skimp on your head torch. I know my torch is bright enough when I don’t have to slow down on a trail. I would select a head torch with a minimum of 190 lumens of brightness. Make sure it is also comfortable. I like to use a headband under my torch for extra comfort.

Avoid anti-inflammatories: Try caffeine!.


There sometimes comes a time on the trails when we need some help to overcome pain and discomfort. To avoid damaging our kidneys, it is really important to avoid anti-inflammatory products when there is a risk of dehydration. Whilst a product like Panadol is far better than anti-inflammatories, I utilise caffeine. Believe it or not, caffeine is a great mask of pain! A caffeinated gel is always my first line of defence.

When choosing your shoes, make sure that you have plenty of space around your toes as your feet will swell around half a size during an endurance run. Also, ensure that the shoe’s tread is appropriate for the trail you will be mostly running on. If the trail is wet and ‘mushy’, opt for an aggressive gripping shoe with big lugs (rubber spikes). If the trail is mostly smooth or rocky, opt for a less aggressive shoe.

In conclusion, I hope that we can all embark on our trail running adventures with our intentions founded in our preparations rather than a fixation on the end goal. Let us find confidence in the consistency of our training, the quality of our gear, our knowledge of the course, and a thorough understanding of how nutrition and hydration can help us. If you need a further hand, do not hesitate to make contact with me :)


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runner. The U N L I K E L Y


KERRI CLAYDEN Event: Ultra Trail 50km

I am a runner. Five years ago I never would have thought I would have put those few words together! Do you know what happens when you wake up one day and suddenly realise that you can’t feel half your foot? You panic, go and see your neurologist and BOOM your life is suddenly changed forever!


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That was me at 37 years old. Hereditary Peripheral Neuropathy and yes, it is degenerative, but the timeframe is anyone’s guess. As I had foot drop I needed an AFO – which is a leg brace to stop me from falling over. The other symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy is muscle wasting which I have in my thigh and nerve pain which ranges from the feeling of ants biting you all over your legs, arms and face to shooting pain. I started Physio, learnt to walk again properly in the hydrotherapy pool and honestly struggled with confidence as I came to terms with my “new life”. People stared at my leg brace and I felt I was losing myself. (OK, can I just stop and say right here, if someone has something like a brace on or is in a wheelchair, look at their face and smile, not their leg or their chair. I know for me, all I wanted was for people to smile at me and acknowledge me. Rant over). I continued to do exercises daily and over the next year started walking around Bourkelands, where we live in Wagga Wagga, but I was strictly only allowed to walk short distances on the flat, being told that I would never walk up another hill again. One day as my husband Brad and I were walking around the lake, and an older gentleman walked past me; I totally lost it. I don’t cry very often, but I felt totally humiliated and totally ripped off that this was now my life. But that day that I

decided I was not going to let this get the better of me. I would listen to my body and at least try to push the boundaries before it was too late. Over the next two years I walked and walked every day. I did strength training at home and eventually built up the muscles in my legs to support the ones that didn’t work so well. I started walk/running (with the brace on) intervals on the flat. Then one day I decided ‘I am going to run in the mountains’! I really have no idea why; I just decided I was going to! So, I began walking up the hills, and my gosh it was difficult. There were tears and tantrums as the pain was excruciating and my stupid foot never did what it was told. Then one day I decided to run up the hills, and I did! I was so proud of myself. I finally got to 5km - a massive achievement given the previous three years. I had never been a runner, but I really got hooked; it just made me so happy. Brad and I joined the Wagga Wagga Road Runners and Wagga Dirty Crows and our love for running just took off with the support of such wonderful local people. Long story short, I have now completed lots of mountain running, like the Buffalo Stampede 42km, Alpine Challenge 60km, Bogong to Hotham 34km, Glow Worm Trail Marathon and 4 Peaks Challenge, just to name a few. When I get to the top of a mountain I feel such

DID YOU KNOW? This year around 70% of the participants in the UTA 22 & 50 are women.


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peace and oh so very happy. I know I have found what I am meant to do. The ironic thing about it all, is that the one thing I thought was the worst thing that could possible happened to me turned out to be the most life changing thing I could ever imagine. I may have lost feeling in my foot, but I found peace within myself and the confidence to know that I can do anything I put my mind. My other foot is now numb in half of it as well, but I guess the way I look at it, it just balances me up! I may not be able to feel everything under my feet but I have faith in myself. I know my feet are there and I know I can do it. Before you ask, ‘has it all been fine sailing?’. Well no, but I call it character building and believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I figure you can either let things break you or make you. I have now been given the most amazing opportunity; I am a Special Interest Athlete Ambassador for Ultra Trail Australia 2017. I feel so grateful for this opportunity, to share my story, participate in the 50km trail run in the beautiful Blue Mountains and hopefully inspire women to believe that they can set goals and achieve them - no matter what obstacles are put in front of them. We have one shot at this life and I refuse to give up just yet. I have things to do, mountains to climb and wonderful people to meet! See you on the trails.

{Meet some of the runners}

Ultra Trail AUSTRALIA 2017

Years ago, I being a dutiful wife with four kids in tow, followed, supported and cheered my husband on for sixteen hours, as he participated in the tough and brutal course that was the NorthFace100 these days known as UltraTrail Australia. Not really that happy to sit on the sidelines whilst everyone else got to experience what looked to be the ultimate trail running adventure, a year later, my girlfriends and I found ourselves on the start line too. At that time, women in the trail running

world were somewhat of an anomaly and we were amazed as we scanned through the entrants list and saw pages of male entrants. But the times are a changing and particularly since the event became the UTA, the number of entrants has soared and more excitingly for us advocates of women’s adventure, this is due to the increase in women’s participation.

cross the finish line in one of the world’s premier trail running events for those not ready or not particularly interested in the “big one”.

With the inclusion of the UTA 50km and now the UTA 22km, 70% of the 1200 participants are female and the event has opened up opportunity to participate and

To all of you ladies participating, no matter which event, let’s get out their running - and continue to help each other push those boundaries.

We have interviewed many of our followers new to the UTA 22km to find out all about their lead up to the event and why they have chosen it to participate.





Event: PACE UTA22

Event: PACE UTA22

Event: Ultra Trail 50km

Event: PACE UTA22



How was the decision made to say ‘YES, I’m in’? Monique: A Facebook post and a little nudge from a few firm believers. Terese: After completing my first marathon at the Gold Coast in 2016 I was looking for a new and different goal. One Sunday after our long run, a great friend in our running group, who I knew loved trail, mentioned the UTA and that’s all it took. Angela: I participated in the Ultra Trail 22k last year and didn't die so natural progression was to scare myself even more with a bigger challenge. I also felt that the beauty of the Blue Mountains is so surreal to run in- I couldn't pass that up! What has been your biggest hurdle? Deb: Mind games, not feeling I could possibly do anything like the Ultra Trail and damn plantar fasciaitis. Terese: HILLS ! No seriously, for me, it’s time. My youngest child has cerebral palsy and needs 24/7 care so things are pretty


constant. Sleep is known to be non-existent. Finding time to train on top of everything else can be a real challenge. Monique: Fitting in my training as a single mum. Some days my six year old rides his mountain bike beside me. 4am now qualifies as a legitimate alarm time. When else would you do hill repeats with your training buddy? What has your training looked like? Do you have a plan or coach? Terese: I’m still recovering from a torn hamstring tendon, so after Christmas when training began, it felt like my worst nightmare. I was unfit, in pain and my head was all over the place. Luckily, I run with the most amazing group of people and they were there to pull me through. Our running group coach Alan McCloskey is heavily involved in marathon training so Craig Simpson with the assistance of Jody Whitehead, offered to help us out. As we'd had no experience on trails, our training mostly involved exposure to the terrain. With a few


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weeks to go, he's about to ramp things up. Just hearing this was enough to put the fear of god in me because when such elite coach says you need to step it up, you know that it’s about to get real. What does success look like to you? Deb: Finishing with a smile on my dial and water in my hydration pack. Terese: If you'd asked me this ten years ago, I definitely would have given a different answer and I’m unsure whether it's age, experience or perhaps due to circumstances beyond my control but, during the last four years I've learnt some valuable lessons and I now believe success is overcoming the fear of doing what you once thought you couldn't. Angela: Success is learning from your race journey- everything from training to the actual race day is a chance to challenge yourself and learn. Reaching the start line and finish line for me will be a massive success. Five years ago I would never have even dreamt of running a 5k, let alone 50k race!


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Then there is this powerhouse of ladies. After taking on the Ultra Trail Pace 22 in 2016, these women decided once again to take it on. Training together are ‘Team Forster’, and we caught up with Vanda Gooley, Jennifer Saad and Karen Maytom from Forster on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

What has training looked like for you ladies? The aim has been for as many of us to train together whenever possible. This saves multiple texts to organise everyone. Our rule is to just turn up and know that someone will be there to train with you. Because some of us work and some don’t, the basic training schedule has been fairly regimented and seems to have worked. We have set times to train twice a week together. This involves hill repeats, numerous stairs up and down at our local lookout, walks in the bush and lots of chatter and laughter. As individuals we swim, gym, cycle and jog on the other days, ending with a coffee at the beach afterwards as our reward. We expected the training to be hard, challenging and fun and it has met our expectations. We nearly forgot to mention happy hour every Friday night – that’s the best part of training with the sisterhood.



I think the reason I keep running is that it makes me feel normal. I spend the time running with my friends. I don't feel sad or sorry for myself. We laugh, we puff, we groan and we just keep on chatting. I just want to live and be here for my husband, kids and friends. I want to enjoy my life, however long that is. In August 2007, after having felt a lump in the shower, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy with a sentinel node biopsy. Unfortunately, the lumpectomy did not remove all the cancer cells in my breast so I had to go back for a mastectomy. The good news was that there was no lymph node involvement. After this surgery I had four cycles of chemotherapy but no radiation. The chemo was meant to be a back up due to my age, 37. The doctor felt confident that all cancer was removed. In 2015, I finally went to see about getting a breast reconstruction. I had an operation for a tissue expander to be placed in my chest which was filled with saline over about four months, to stretch the skin and make room for the implant. I also had a breast lift done on my other breast at the same time. I was back running five weeks after the surgery. At the beginning of December 2016, I went for my usual mammogram and ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a lump under my arm, in the lymph area. A biopsy was done straight away and the next day I found out my cancer had returned. Two days later I was with the surgeon. He was a straight talker

and he told me that either the same cancer had returned which meant that I had not been fully cured in 2007 or the cancer had metastasized which meant it was terminal. My husband and I immediately focused on the more positive of the two. We were convinced that it was the old cancer returned. Thankfully it was. All CT and bone scans showed no other signs of cancer. To say I was relieved was an understatement. Throughout this ordeal running has kept me sane. All my running friends have been there for me by running, walking, hugging and anything else I need. I have never been a sporty person. I started running in 2000 to lose weight after having two children. I lost about 25kg between running, modifying my diet and gym work. When our family moved to Port Stephens my weight began to creep up again as my job was very sedentary. I enrolled in Michelle Bridges Body transformation and then met two great girls doing the same program online. We all lived in the same area so we started running together. After some time, one of the girls had her dad diagnosed with esophageal cancer and she organised to do a fundraiser awareness half


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marathon at the New Run in Newcastle. A big group of us participated. It was so great and I haven't stopped running since. In 2014 I started working with a very inspirational young lady, Jo Hyslop, who introduced me to a local group of trail runners. A lot of the group was training for UTA and I joined in. I find events a bit stressful but have done a few. We did a lovely weekend run from Seal Rocks to Mungo Brush last year. A few months later three of us did a run from Port Macquarie to Crescent Head. That was my longest run to date: 46km! Some people ask me what keeps me strong. I never let myself go to a dark place. I have always been a positive person. I try not to focus on the negatives. I plan things to look forward to, like spending special time with my family who are the most amazing support to me. Keeping on running makes me feel alive and I know it makes my body healthier and happier too. The things that keep me determined to continue to run are adventures, friendships and health. They keep me on track. I don’t think I could imagine not running anymore.


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Overcoming Fears & Concerns {with Hanny Allston}

Many of our interviewees had some concerns about the race, and we figured ‘most of us are like the rest of us’, so we picked out some of the common ones and asked Hanny Allston accredited coach and 1st place winner in last years Ultra Trail Australia 50km Women’s Division and 9th Place Overall to share her wisdom. How do I know where I start in the pack, I read that there are about 1200 entries? The first section of the UTA courses is fire trails or road. Therefore, there are plenty of passing opportunities. If you are in doubt, start somewhere in the middle. This is where most of the non-elite but runners with selfbelief tend to start. In here you will hopefully find friendly faces and pick up on a ‘good vibe’. If there are faster people behind you they will easily be able to pass. If you are quicker than some, you too can shuffle your way forward. However, either way, start calmly but with purpose. Find your own stride and do not worry about how fast others are going. At the end of the day, all you can impact is your own race. What’s the best thing to run in? Should I wear long pants for scrapes and scratches, or should I wear my short shorts that I’m comfortable and have trained in? Definitely run in shorts or a skirt. No matter how cold, it is better than you run ‘cooler’ than too hot. Shorts and skirts will be less restrictive and keep you cooler. It is easier to regulate your temperature from the top by adding or removing layers. The tracks are very well maintained so there is absolutely no need to protect your legs from scrapes and scratches on this course. What if I need to pee? Stop and find a tree or bathroom! There are plenty of trees or picnic areas along the course and there is nothing worse than ‘needing to go’. Go at least 20m off the track.

However, make sure you remove any paper waste. Put it in a small snap lock bag and dispose thoughtfully at the next bin or aid station. What if it is going to be that time of month? Sadly there is little you can do. To see this in a positive light, it shows your body is in optimal health. Carry extra sanitary items with you and take your time to use bathroom stops as required. If you are in discomfort from cramping, the only medication suitable to take is Panadol. It is essential that you avoid taking antiinflammatories such as Nurofen for risk of kidney damage that can occur during heavy exercise. Will I need a number 2 during the race? This is a natural occurrence. Preempt it as best you can and use time at aid stations where there are plenty of bathrooms wisely. If you really have to go out on the course, walk as far away from the track as possible and dig the deepest hole you can using the back edge of your shoe. Bury all human waste but if possible, remove paper in a ziplock bag & dispose at the rubbish bin you find. To help avoid unnecessary bathroom stops, try to think about removing additional fibre, protein and magnesium from your diet in the few days leading up to race day. A quick note on magnesium: It is the first ingredient in all laxatives so avoid an electrolyte high in magnesium. If you are cramping, this is due to sodium depletion from sweat not magnesium losses. I’m afraid of being last as I'm so slow.


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Being slow really plays on my mind. I really don't think I was born to run. I certainly wouldn't survive if I had to run to get dinner. Most people entering the UTA events are Most people entering the UTA events are new to this game and come with similar concerns. However, the success is not in where you finish or even crossing that line, it is in participating in the event and the journey that you have gone on to make the start line, and then to traverse the race course. Try to focus on: the positives of being out in that landscape; running and walking amongst like-minded individuals; the challenges you have personally overcome; the new knowledge you have learnt; the small steps you have seen others take… celebrate the little things so that the result is irrelevant! Not having the trail running body that I have in my mind because of what I see around me and in running magazines. There is no such this as a trail running body! We are all different and we should all celebrate our differences. However, trail runners need to be strong. We need: muscles to power us; glutes to balance us; body fat to fuel us; and healthy hormones for resilience. However, most importantly we need self-belief and a strong mind. This can only come from looking deep inside yourself and being truthfully able to say, ‘I am enough and I deserve to be here’. Only you can give yourself this gift and it will honestly be the greatest gift you will ever give yourself.

beginner in the


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Like many of you, I’ve been a snow enthusiast for a long time. Skier or boarder, it doesn’t matter when it comes to our love for the white stuff. We scrimp and save for just a weekend on the slopes every season and clamour to be the first on the chairlift, cutting hot laps back to back, from bell to bell.

inding an untracked section of corduroy is gold, finding a powder stash, like winning the lotto. Off-piste means popping off the groomer into the moguls or ducking into the five or six snow gums lining the boundaries. For most of us, we’ve never had to spare a second thought to avalanches. To me, skiing has always been safely tearing up the resort by day, nursing sore muscles on the après scene at night. My definition was never challenged until I was having a conversation with a mountain guide friend who casually said, “I haven’t been on a chairlift in five years.” Puzzled, I just looked at him “Oh, I don’t pay to ski, why would you? Anyway, I only ski powder.” “Powder?” I replied reverently. I’d only tasted that dry, fluffy perfection a handful of times. All those powder pictures in the magazine? Didn’t they come from a magical Narnia land? With a little shake of his head, he proceeded to challenge everything I thought I knew about ‘skiing’. He offered up a place where you could have a powder run every run, a place

with no crowds, no lift lines, no hole in the back pocket, a place called the backcountry. A couple of weeks later and I was out there chasing in his tracks. The branches of pine yawning under the pressure of fresh snow, the morning sun trickling through the trees, my backpack sitting comfortably on my shoulders, a familiar friend signaling a day of adventure ahead. My anticipation of those promised powder turns tangible but before we get to those, let me rewind to the weeks previous where I learnt some very basic things about backcountry skiing which I hope will help you venture from the lift lines too. Firstly, resort skiing and backcountry skiing are completely different sports and it helps to think of them that way. In the first, you rock up and jump on the lift. If you don’t have gear, you hire it. You go where the trail goes, you have the safety of knowing ski patrol have your back and that the snow pack is stable. In backcountry skiing, also known as ‘touring’ or ‘ATV’ you are 100% responsible for your own safety. It’s critical that you have the right equipment and you need to know


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how to use it. On top of that, every precious metre of descent has to be earned, but the reward is worth it. Think of it like heli-skiing except that you pay the bill in sweat. Let’s talk about gear. Originally I thought that I could use the same ski gear I already owned in the backcountry, snow is snow right? This lesson I learnt the hard way. A few days after my chat, I decided my first foray into his world would start with a trek up the headwall of the resort mountain. Perfectly logical, totally achievable and safe, so I put my skis over my shoulder and started off. In three minutes my lungs were heaving as I loped unsteadily up the hill. Each boot felt like lead, my calves cramped and I slipped over time and time again without any grip on my soles. It was so unspeakably hot, but I was trapped in a sauna suit of ski gear. My burly, heavy alpine skis bit into my shoulder painfully. Exasperated and exhausted I’d probably only gone a few hundred metres before I angrily aborted my attempt. One untracked turn to one litre of sweat just wasn’t the ratio I was after. Here are the lessons I learnt that day.

• Alpine boots aren’t designed for touring. They are heavy and every ounce of extra weight matters. Designed to be stiff, they’re great on the downhill but stiff sucks when you are trying to climb up. They also tend to have no grip.

GET THE GEAR. • Backcountry specific backpacks are great because you can strap your skis (or splitboard if you are a snowboarder) to the side. Getting them off your shoulder will free up your hands, create balance and allow you to use your poles as support. I love the Black Diamond Avalung pack. It has ski straps, lots of pockets to organise gear for quick location, and an optional ava-lung element (like a snow snorkel should you get caught in an avalanche.)

My second foray into the backcountry, I decided to go with some more friends up Teton Pass in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A tough one hour hike (called a boot pack) where you literally climb up in Wyoming and descend into Idaho - two States, one ski run! I was more prepared this time and was now the proud owner of some vital safety equipment, namely an avalanche transceiver, (to help you locate a buried person or be located if you are buried) a probe and a lightweight snow shovel. Cutting a series of steps up the ridgeline, we set off, stepping in one another’s footprints, (this is considered basic etiquette to maintain the structure of the bootpack). It wasn’t long before a seventy- year old local Jackonsonite, overtook me, smiling, he zipped past me with not even a hint of exertion while I stood aside gasping for air in his wake. Reaching the top was ecstasy, not just for the satisfaction won from a hard climb but knowing that ahead of me lay some of the best snow I’d ever skied. Cutting our tracks down into the valley was bliss as the knee deep dry powder billowed up around us. While we had a map, we relished in the exhilaration of choosing our own descent, knowing all tributaries led back to the road where we could hitchhike to the trailhead. Ducking through the trees and down into the valley brought skiing to life for me in a whole new way. A pristine wilderness, silent and untouched, with the joy of exploration thick in the air.

MANAGE YOUR TEMPERATURE BEFORE IT MANAGES YOU. You don’t wear the same clothes as you would resort skiing. On the resort you might crack a zipper or two on the way down but you are soon stationary on the chairlift and cool down very quickly. In the backcountry you work hard for long periods of time so dress in layers, use a merino base layer, a mid layer like a light down jacket and a shell. You want to feel chilly as you start. Take a backpack to stash warmer mid layers. Strip down on the way up, layer up to go down.


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One of the best things about venturing into the backcountry is its limitless potential; whatever you see, you can ski, so long as you can get to it. There are no marked trails, boundary lines or crowds BUT on the flip side of that fairy tale is the fact that it can be risky business. Unlike the ease of carefree resort skiing, one wrong move here can spell death. There is a complex science to the snow and every factor needs to be considered to predict the risk of avalanche. It pays to enrol in a specialised training course called an Avy 1 that can teach you how to predict the risk and rescue someone who may have been caught. That evening, feeling very much the novice, I reflected on some of my learning from my day bootpacking the Teton pass: There are two ways up and only one way down. • Boot packing is good for super steep terrain or narrow passes but you can also ‘skin’ your way up. Skins are big furry strips of fabric that adhere to the base of your ski and allow you to get traction on the snow. In fact they are called ‘skins’ because they resemble sealskin. Picking good skins that are durable is as important as getting them cut to size, you want them marginally smaller than the base of your skis so your edges remain exposed. Never put them on in the dirt - they are essentially gigantic sheets of ferocious sticky tape! With your skins on, drag your toe in sliding steps and slide up the hill in a series of zigzag cutbacks. Skinning is good for wider terrain and conserves energy. It also helps to move over fresh and deeper snow without sinking as it spreads your weight over the ski’s surface.


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RENOWNED GUIDE CHRIS MEDER HAS SOME ADVICE FOR US BEGINNERS: Skiing in the backcountry can offer rewards in heaps – scenery, solitude, exercise and, of course, fresh powder snow. It can also be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Here are a few tips to get started on a safe and fun backcountry habit.

BACK TO GEAR – I REALLY HAD NO IDEA! . • Alpine skis (the ones you use on the resort) are not the same as backcountry skis. In the backcountry weight is a defining issue. Manufacturers like Black Diamond make specific skis that are incredibly lightweight but strong and pack plenty of performance. The same goes for bindings. The touring bindings are more lightweight and have settings to allow your heel to lift so you can walk. When shopping for ATV bindings, stay alert to the fact that some have brakes and some, in order to be light, ditch the brakes and just have tethers, effectively turning your ski into a slippery autonomous rocket that won’t self arrest should you put it down at the wrong angle before you’ve tethered it to your boot. Wave goodbye and enjoy the long walk down my friend Be aware as well that touring bindings, once mounted, aren’t adjustable to the size of your boot. They get drilled and screwed solidly into one place. This was a problem for me because after a few days in the backcountry, I realised my new touring boots were too big but my bindings were already mounted. If you take anything away from this article, may it be this: Go to the best boot maker you can find and work your way through as many demo boots as you can until you land on your perfect match and then mount your bindings to your ski. It’s not the end of the world if you have to change your binding settings, you putty up the screw holes and drill some new ones but it isn’t ideal and can weaken the ski. All the gear drama receded as I followed in my friend’s tracks that morning. My heel lifts easily, my new touring boot flexing to allow me to step naturally as I ski quietly through the stunning forest hemmed in by the mighty mountains of Washington State’s Pacific North West. The incline starts to steepen and the sweat fest begins, the trees thin out and we zigzag across the slope. I’m bought into the present moment and the rest of my life fades out of focus, all the emails, the deadlines and to do lists disappear and it’s just me, my friend and our adventure. Life is alive. We reach the top of a nearby peak and shrug our packs from our shoulders. I quietly layer up, strip my skins from my skis and put them back in my pack. I stomp a niche in the snow so my runaway skis can’t escape and place them down carefully. I tighten my boots, line up my toe cleats and stamp confidently into place. I finally feel like I’ve got this, I turn to my friend and without a word we jet off into the powdery goodness that’s truly ours for the taking. At the bottom we admire the two lonely tracks, punctured curves in the snowy canvas and I find myself keenly aware that, right there and then, I was living one of the best days of my life. The combination of earning those turns in such a beautiful place and being at the gateway of a new adventure sport means it could well be five years until I jump on a chairlift again.

1. Educate Yourself - Take an avalanche course from a local guide service. You will learn how to recognize avalanche terrain, what causes avalanches and begin to understand when and where to go and not go. 2. Get the Forecast – Check to see if your local mountains have an avalanche forecast centre. Avalanche forecasters put out bulletins describing the current avalanche danger in your area. Getting the avalanche forecast should be your first step in planning a trip into the backcountry, after having completed an avalanche course. 3. Get the Gear – When travelling in the backcountry, you will need a few specialized pieces of gear. An avalanche transceiver, a collapsible shovel, and an avalanche probe are the basics. For travelling, you will also need a set of skis with ski touring bindings (or a splitboard for snowboarders) and climbing skins. 4. Make a Plan – Find trusted backcountry travel buddies, choose carefully, and work together to make a plan to get out safely. Developing a Plan A and Plan B with your ski partners gets everyone’s buy-in. Ensure everyone has a say in where to go, when, and whether Plan A or B is appropriate given the conditions you find. Make low-key plans to start and work up from there. 5. Get Out There – With your new skills, gear, partners and plan, get out into the mountains and enjoy the benefits and joys of the backcountry!

Awesome is

POSSIBLE Every so often I present at schools, and if there’s one thing kids can smell a mile away, it’s bullshit. So a little while back, when I was asked to present to a class of ‘disadvantaged’ kids, the last thing I wanted to do was waltz in, brag about my awesome adventures, tell them how wonderful life is, and how anything is possible. Which got me thinking - as nice as all those inspirational quotes are, let’s be honest: Anything is not possible.


hat’s not to say there aren’t lots of things that are possible, but anything? Nope. For those kids, becoming doctors and lawyers was gonna be highly unlikely, possibly even impossible. And they damn well knew it. For me, a career as an NBL player? Not possible. Or my embarrassing rock star dreams? Likewise. I think I’ve well and truly missed that boat. Oh, and I have no talent in that department. (Even if that didn’t stop Nickelback.) Rather than get depressed about this lack of possibility, I created a presentation based around the idea “Awesome is Possible” and it’s since become a part of everything I do. To focus on what is possible and the awesome things we can do. But not to bullshit that it includes everything, because it doesn’t. And that’s OK. Whether it’s gender, genetics, our injuries, our choices or any other number of things, there are plenty of us that simply can’t run as fast, climb as high, go as far, do as much. And you know what? That’s just fine. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not being one of those annoying ‘glass is half full’ people you want to punch in the throat. I’m really


just telling it like it is. Some of my own most beautiful, epic adventures weren’t actually all that difficult. So it’s definitely worth remembering, there’s plenty of places, and ways, awesome is possible. Just last week I watched a friend compete in one of her first triathlons. Her learning curve has been steep. Everest steep. She’s a single mum. Works incredibly hard. And trains in her ‘spare’ time. For her, winning, or even being vaguely in the pointy end, just isn’t possible. Not yet at least, and maybe not ever. But her results have still been awesome. And truly inspiring.

For all sorts of tangible, non-discriminatory, biological reasons, gender does set us apart at times. Having said that, there are plenty of places women are giving men a literal run for their money. Amy Khor just placed second overall in the Malaysian 24 hour event, and Ruth Croft placed second overall in the Tarawera 62km Ultra in NZ. I’m sure there are plenty of other results like this around the adventure world as well.

In her last tri there was also a guy out there who couldn’t use his legs. They carried him to the water and back to do the swim, he did the ride on a recumbent bike, and the run in his chair. Running may not have been possible. Being awesome definitely was.

I’m happy to admit there are some things I’m disappointed aren’t possible for me. My various injuries now make various physical pursuits impossible for me. My morbid fear of snakes makes trail running in an Australian summer problematic. And my leg-shaking fear of heights rules out quite a few other activities I’d quite like to do as well. But you know, there are plenty of other awesome things that are still possible. So that’s what I focus on now.

I know not many people want to say some of this stuff out loud, especially not in a forum like this one, but let’s be honest, there’s a reason Serena doesn’t play tennis against Raffa - although who wouldn’t love to see that? And why women now have their own league in the AFL and Big Bash Cricket, which is awesome, but won’t be playing against the men’s teams any time soon.

No matter who you are, whether you’re a Mr, Miss, Ms or Mrs, where you are on your journey, whether you’re a disadvantaged school kid, a time poor parent, struggling with a shitty injury, or any other number of hurdles, if you’re prepared to be flexible with your goals, and let go of your own expectations and comparisons, I’m willing to bet awesome is possible.


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yacht rally

sail your next

adventure New Caledonia • Cuba • Spain • Croatia • Montenegro • Italy • Greece • Tahiti

Meet Wildlife Photographer


I've always loved animals. Growing up as the only child of two parents who were lost in their own internal worlds, left me pretty lonely. My cat, Sandy, was everything to me. It's easy to draw a straight line from Sandy to my life now as a Clinical Psychologist and a wildlife photographer. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELLE LAWFORD


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My compassion for people and animals forms my spirituality. I have faith in people and in the enlivening beauty of nature. I know my journeys into the wild keep me grounded and allow me to connect with my patients as they work to free themselves from past trauma. In 2010, for my 50th birthday, I wanted to see bears. Actually, I was desperate to see bears. This desire, this compulsion had been welling up inside me for a long time. Yes, I had tied wildlife photography into many family holidays but this was different. Was it an unconscious need to find the soothing teddy bear of my earliest years? At 50, I was the kind of woman who thought the only way I could indulge the wish for an outrageous adventure was to ask for it as a birthday present. Had I waited for the big "five-o" to have the temerity to dream? These days I need no excuse (but I had to start somewhere.) My husband and two kids (then aged 14 and 12) accompanied me to Canada to Photograph black bears and grizzly bears. After that, they flew home and I flew to Churchill, Manitoba to photograph the polar bears of Hudson Bay. This leg of the trip was to become a game changer for me. Every October, polar bears arrive in Hudson Bay on Canada's sub-arctic east coast in time for the formation of the sea ice that enables the bears to hunt seals. The trip promised premium opportunities to photograph white bears in a pristine white environment. This is one of the world's great migrations and it happens like clockwork every year. Not that year. The ocean was too warm and it wouldn't freeze. Bears


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"There is no denying


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the wild horse in us.� Virginia Woolf


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were covered in a reddish slime from melting permafrost. On my last day I took a helicopter over the bay and saw desperate ragged bears, driven by starvation, trying to jump out on an emergent patchwork of thin sea ice which kept breaking, forcing the exhausted bears to swim and find another small patch of ice that might be thick enough to support their weight. I swear one bear looked up at the giant swirling thing in the sky, and through my zoom lens I saw eyes filled with despair and confusion. It was a pathetic heartbreaking sight.

Through a greater awareness and experience of wild animals and wild places, we can reawaken the primeval yearning that exists within all of us, for a deeper connection with nature.

I left Canada with three things. First, an acute appreciation of the plight of polar bears. Second, a shocking firsthand experience of the effects of climate change. Third, a deep knowledge that, through my photography, I had to


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educate others to care about the planet. I had to inspire others to step into the wild and experience the intoxicating melange of love, adventure and empowerment. Then something else happened. I received an email offering me a free trip back to Churchill the following year, this time in November to take into account nature's new timetable, adjusted for global warming. (If you have ever asked why it's so important to check out the credentials and integrity of the company you are travelling with, now you know.) That generous offer was probably the most profound and unexpected outcome of my original trip. Now my "once in a lifetime" birthday trip was going to be followed by another trip. After all, who would expect me to pass up a free trip? So now, it wasn't just a matter of cajoling mum out of a mid-life crisis. Mum was going back and doing it again. This second trip somehow gave me permission to acknowledge the fact that I wasn't done. I was addicted and I wouldn't be content with one adventure. I wanted more. And more.

Let's be frank. Pushing the boundaries of wildlife photography as I hurtle towards 60, has its challenges. siren, which to her, sounds like a pack of wolves. I love that little piece of the wild in my lounge room.

Harder than dealing with Arctic conditions was dealing with the guilt of leaving my family again. I now look back on this as preposterous. What was I thinking? Probably the same thing every mother thinks: I'm a bad mother if I leave my children. Even for only 12 days. I have to admit I still struggle with it but I'm getting better at it and my children are older now, in fact they are young adults, so the guilt never ends. Maternal instinct is a precious thing so I don't want to wrestle with it. I embrace it as a normal part of being a woman. Maybe in each animal's eyes I see a baby that needs my protection and advocacy. Maybe my path to wildlife photography began years ago with all the hundreds of photos I took of my babies. The kids are old enough now to enjoy

having a go at me. My daughter loves to complain about the time I made her stand on a bridge at dawn to see red crowned cranes and it was so cold, her eyelashes froze. My son shakes his head as he recalls getting lost for hours in a small canoe exploring a maze of mangroves in the unbearable heat of the jungle in Borneo. They tell their friends "mum is crazy". My new baby is my gorgeous big white fluffy Samoyed Nikita (she is as close as I can get to a polar bear in Sydney.) I miss my bears so much when I'm at home. After mushing husky teams on my third trip to the Arctic, I knew I had to get a dog. Nikita also looks remarkably like an Arctic wolf. When ambulances go past our house, she tosses her head back and lets out a primal howl, responding to the


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Let's be frank. Pushing the boundaries of wildlife photography as I hurtle towards 60, has its challenges. I want to trek for 6 hours a day for 5 days in search of pumas in Patagonia. I want to skidoo across the Russian high Arctic and camp out on the pack ice to photograph walrus. I want to track black crested macaques in the sweltering jungles of Sulawesi. I am no superwoman. In fact I am just a very small woman with a very big lens. I have stood out on the tundra 8 hours a day for 5 days in minus 35 degrees and 90 kilometre winds that kept blowing me over. I have literally frozen my butt off while trying to urinate into a tiny bucket. Could I do it again? Let's see... I am so excited about sharing my adventures and images with you in Travel Play Live. Through a greater awareness and experience of wild animals and wild places, we can reawaken the primeval yearning that exists within all of us, for a deeper connection with nature. I believe as women, we can help the planet if we tune into and listen to our innate drive to nurture and protect.

Must do




Save 10% off any trip from World Expeditions range of ‘Women Only’ Adventures. Conditions: • Valid on new bookings only received by 31 December 2017 for departures before 30 June 2018 • Offer exclusive to TravelPlayLive readers • Applicable to World Expeditions and UTracks women’s adventures only • Not valid on private group departures or extensions • Discount taken off land content only. Prices are based on twin share. Cannot be taken in conjunction with any other discount or offer • Confirmation is subject to availability and trips reaching minimum numbers to depart • No retrospective discounts apply • Bookings to be made via Quote “TravelPlayLive2017"


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Here are three of our recommended ‘Must Do Tours’ carefully selected from the World Expeditions Women’s Only Trekking Holidays. These amazing tours varying in Grade from 3 (intro) to 5 (Moderate). You are bound to find the perfect adventure just for you. A P R I L / O C T O B E R

Image: Tracey Hamill


Image: Ryan Bray

Women’s Everest Base Camp & Kala Pattar.


Trek to the base of the world’s highest mountain, with an optional ascent of Kala Pattar (5545m) for unrivalled views of the Himalaya. With the Nepal trekking specialists, your adventure includes all meals and accommodation at our comfortable and exclusive eco campsites. Grade 5: Moderate | $2980 AUD

This adventure packs in the highlights of the Canadian Rockies National Parks, taking in stunning peaks, glaciers and high passes and concludes with an exhilarating heli-hike at the base of Mt Assiniboine, the ‘Matterhorn’ of the Canadian Rockies. Grade 5: Moderate | $3690 AUD

1 7 D AY S | D E PA R T S 2 3 A P R & 1 O C T 2 0 1 7

1 5 D AY S | D E PA R T S 5 A U G U S T 2 0 1 7

J U N E / S E P T E M B E R

Women’s Salcantay Trek & Machu Picchu. 7 D AY S | D E PA R T S 5 J U N & 1 1 S E P T 2 0 1 7

The Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu is the best short trek alternative to the Inca Trail. The challenging hike over the Salcantay Pass (4640m) rewards trekkers with an awe-inspiring close-up view of the sacred Salcantay Mountain, high in the mystical Andes. Grade 3: Introductory | $2080 AUD Image: Mark Tipple

MORE ABOUT WORLD EXPEDITIONS WOMEN’S ADVENTURES: These fully supported active holidays are designed for women only and incorporate our 40+ years of trekking experience.


The itineraries have a minimal impact philosophy at the heart of each adventure and forge authentic cultural exchange, real exploration and certainly plenty of fun times. Wherever possible, a female local leader will accompany your small group to enhance the experience. Experience the joys of sharing an adventure with a small group of like-minded women. The shared experiences away from family and work pressures allows you to take some time for yourself, push personal boundaries and make some great lifelong friendships. Head to for more details. Travel Play Live 065

Your Year of Yes

CALENDAR {Travel Play Live}

If there are some strands of your DNA that get excited when we mention the idea of getting outdoors and closer to nature or you're finding yourself wanting to connect more with the elements rather than the four walls of the gym, then our event calendar for 2017 - Travel Play Live Women's Outdoor Workshops and Adventure 'Expressos' (as we like to call them, Micro-Adventures with coffee) is seriously for you! If you are wanting to get out of the big smoke for the weekend we have planned some of our home turfs finest outdoor experiences and micro-adventures giving you a taste of what's to come when we host Australia’s first Women's Outdoor Adventure Summit in September. So put aside a weekend, bring your buddies and put these dates in your calendars!



MTB Cycle Chick.


W O M E N ' S M O U N TA I N B I K E C L I N I C

Type: Adventure Expresso Location: Myall Lakes NSW Date: Sunday 30th April Tempted to go kayaking but think it might be too strenuous, or technical, or just too much of a hassle having none of the gear? It’s actually none of those on this workshop! Rather, it’s a fantastic, no-stress way to get some exercise, fresh air and see the world from a pelicans-eye view. Join us in Mungo Brush in the Myall Lakes National Park for 3 hrs of stress free, tranquility in a world you don't venture to often. Learn kayaking basics, including paddling techniques and safety requirements, whilst discovering the joy of exercising on the water as close up and personal with nature as you can get. Novice and experienced paddlers are welcome.


Type: MTB CLinic Location: Tinonee NSW Date: Sunday 28th May As a beginner, we know you need guidance, practice, time and encouragement and as a seasoned rider, we also know pedal time is progress time. This day in the saddle, is an adventure first, but with on-trail skill development while learning to master some of the common single track and trail challenges you’ll be shredding (negotiating trails with a higher-than-usual level of expertise) in no time. Guided by qualified female mtb coaches, we are excited to share some of the best mtb trails in NSW with the gals.

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Your Year of Yes

CALENDAR {Travel Play Live}




Run Wild.



Type: Workshop Location: Hawkes Nest NSW Date: Sunday 25th June Our experienced navigation coaches are experts in the outdoor sports requiring map and compass skills and can teach you all the basics to navigate confidently with these tools for either pleasure or for sports such as orienteering, rogainning or adventure racing. Learn how to orient a map, use a compass, and follow waypoints confidently. This session is designed with the beginner in mind but is also a great refresher for those who don't get to practice these skills as often as they’d like.

Type: Clinic Location: Shoal Bay NSW Date: Sunday 30th July Whether you are new to the sport of trail running, or you would like more insight into upping your game, this trail running experience offers you advice, guidance and valuable insight into what’s required to become the best off road runner ‘you’ can be. Through the skills, drills and hills our experienced coaches will cover and answer all of your questions while you take in the beauty of nature around you!



OUR NEWLY LAUNCHED EVENT SCHEDULE FOR 2017 Please note that currently the majority these events will be held in or around the Mid North Coast of NSW. We have plans to roll out events across the country as we grow, so stay tuned. All events unless stated otherwise are open to women ages 16 and up. There will be a cost involved with all events see our website or FB for specific details, costs and how to book. Details on our Facebook & website



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10th - 16th July 2017





From overnight bushwalks through the iconic Blue Mountains to sailing in luxury on the crystal waters of Tahiti, we aim to bring you unique travelling experiences with a touch of Travel Play Live sparkle.

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Head to our website and discover your next adventure: Enquires to:


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Trekking the Wilds of


The Western Arthurs in the south western wilds of Tasmania has one heck of a reputation, and it didn’t disappoint. It is a small range at only 15km long, but with twenty two glaciated peaks, towering cliffs, over thirty hanging lakes, and volatile Antarctic winds. It packs a solid punch and is generally regarded among the initiated to be one of the most spectacular, and most dangerous traverses in Australia. Hayley Talbot recently headed out to the range solo and offers us her top tips for the trek.


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ost people who attempt the traverse are turned back because of the weather, as some parts of the range are entirely exposed with no escape off if you get caught; but don’t let this put you off. The Arthurs are completely beyond this realm, and whether you complete the traverse or not, one thing’s for sure, you’ll be in for an epic adventure with some of the most spectacular scenery in the country just a hop skip and a jump from the mainland.

in advance. It’s 2.5hrs from Hobart so you can’t Uber or cab it, and

It’s difficult to describe the ascent up Moraine A *. Its beauty is overcoming, especially if you’re climbing alone. It elicits pause, peace, gratitude, and introspection, which are just a few of the reasons us outdoor folk throw ourselves into the wilds the way we do. It’s challenging, probably more than you’d expect at times, but if you focus on the task at hand when it’s time to focus, and deeply and openly appreciate where you are when its time to rest, the powerful beauty of the Western Arthurs will become you. And when you reach the top of the range prepare to be spellbound. Undulating moors of ancient mosses and mountain flowers like you’ve never seen before, hanging mirror lakes, and 360 degree views of spectacular, rugged, otherworldly beauty abound to the horizon in every direction.

Peak Dam and leave as you please when you return from your hike.

buses don’t really run out there. Lock it in before you leave or you’ll either waste days waiting or pay top dollar. Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences *** came to my rescue. You can pay $100 each way to catch the bus out with TWE, and be sure to arrange pick up before you leave as you won’t have phone reception to call from the range. Alternatively, organise a hire car with Europcar in town (not from the airport) well in advance and you can get a good deal - roughly only $180 for 5 days so you can leave your car in the car park at Scotts 3

Download Avenza**** maps. They’re PDF maps that save to

your phone and ping your position by satellite on the map so you can’t get lost. You’ll need ‘Crossing’, ‘Razorback’ and ‘Glovers’ maps. The track is generally quite good but it’s possible to wander off in parts. Eliminate the chance.

I can’t recommend the Western Arthurs more highly. Whether you go for the full traverse or just get out there and up the range, the journey is well worth it, and doesn’t have nearly the amount of foot traffic as the Overland Track.

I can’t recommend the Western Arthurs more highly. Whether you go for the full traverse or just get out there and up the range, the journey is well worth it, and doesn’t have nearly the amount of foot traffic as the Overland Track. I highly recommend getting down there before it really explodes in popularity and national parks have to start capping entry! Here are a few helpful tips if you’re planning to go.

phone battery or a ‘Solaroll’ and charge cable to charge your phone! Always take a good old fashioned paper map and compass as back up. 4

Check the weather forecast

ahead of you so you can plan you contingencies accordingly. The Western Arthurs is not just any bushwalk, in fact in many parts it’s an honest climb. I recommend you pack 15m of climbing rope in case you’re more comfortable dropping your pack, climbing, and then hauling it up or down to you. A basic knowledge of survival and the ability to tune into your body, especially if you head out alone, is

prudent. Understand how to manage your core body temperature

When you arrive in Hobart go and see Andrew and Alison at the Tasmanian Map Centre**. Not only can they sell you the exact map of the entire traverse, but they can hire you a Spot Gen Tracker, which I highly recommend particularly if like me, you head out alone. For a $150 deposit (which you get back at the end) and only $10 a day, the tracker pings your location to an online map every 10 minutes so that loved ones can track you and follow where you are while you’re off the grid. You can send an OK text message to them, call for local assistance if you need it, or the full tilt SOS message if you need rescuing. I linked my husband’s phone to the device, as well as Andrew and Alison at the Map Centre so they could keep an eye on where I was in case I needed a hand. 1


But don’t forget to take a spare

Don’t wing your transport out to the Western Arthurs, organise it

in swinging conditions, be aware of hydration, and how to properly layer your apparel. 5

John Chapman’s Guide Book “South West Tasmania” has

become hot property and is tricky to get your hands on but is THE leading reference on the range. You can find it in libraries, or come August 2017 the updated edition will be available for purchase. 6

Because the Western Arthurs are situated in a wilderness area, it

is a strictly no fire area. You’ll need a fuel stove to cook your food. Remember to buy your fuel and any other necessities in Hobart before you leave! The good news is there’s plenty of water out on the range so you don’t have to try and carry several days worth on you. A water bottle with a filter is a handy safeguard for illness from drinking rain water.

* Technically, Moraines are accumulations of dirt and rocks that have fallen onto the glacier surface or have been pushed along by the glacier as it moves. The dirt and rocks composing moraines can range in size from powdery silt to large rocks and boulders. A receding glacier can leave behind moraines that are visible long after the glacier retreats. ** Tasmanian Map Centre: *** Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences: **** Avenz maps:


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volcano C YC L I N G U P

an erupting

Cycling up an erupting volcano is not something I’d generally recommend. Hey, don’t get me wrong, cycling up a volcano is cool. Just not when there is ash, molten lava and poisonous gas spewing from its summit.


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hil and I cycled over Mount Aso in Japan in April 2015. Aso is Japan’s largest active volcano and is among one of the largest in the world. We were on our second last day of a seven day self guided cycling tour of Kyushu, the most southerly main island of Japan. We’d had a brilliant trip so far. The weather had been chilly for April, but we had finished each day's ride in an onsen (hot spring) town, so the cold hadn’t bothered us too much as we could soak our body in piping hot water each night. We were staying in Kurokawa the night before we climbed Aso. We woke up in our cosy ryokan to the sound of torrential rain outside. Noooo! We’d done so well so far, having only gotten wet once on the trip. Clearly our run of good-weather-luck was over. We’d booked our tour through a company, so we had no other choice but to pull on our lycra and saddle up as we had to be at our new accommodation that night. Thankfully the ride was only 55km that day... although we did have to go over a volcano. There was that. The ride guide for the day said “More ups and downs today…” which actually meant a hell of a lot of up. FYI - Japan is not flat. Remember that if you are booking a cycling tour.

The first part of the ride was actually quite pleasant despite the rain. We followed a ridgeline for the first 15kms or so which resembled the Yorkshire Dales. I’ve never actually been to Yorkshire. So I could be totally wrong. We did take a selfie and tagged a friend from Yorkshire on Facebook and he didn’t deny the resemblance so I’m taking that as fact. At about the 15km mark we hit a descent. All I can say is I’m glad I wasn’t going up it! Holy crap it was steep. The road was covered in pine needle and all sorts of unrecognisable debris - I think I saw a mushroom. I descended the switchbacks at about 5km an hour as I thought I was going to lose it in the wet. Is there an award on Strava for slowest descent ever? I’m pretty sure I got that. We made it down unscathed (albeit with sore hands from braking) and headed along the valley floor for the next 10km to find our


lunch before we hit the climb. Ok, so by now we were 25km into the ride, completely drenched, freezing and had a volcano ahead of us. We picked up a quick lunch in the equivalent of a service station, pausing only to warm our hands and chat to a French guy who was riding a bamboo bike and had cycled all the way from France to Japan. He’d decided to avoid Aso because of the weather and was instead riding 100km around the base. We considered doing that too, but then realised our accommodation was halfway up the volcano on the other side, so it made much more sense to go over. Really, how bad could a bit of rain be? We only had 30km to go, we’d be there in no time. The Aso climb is actually great. I think it would have been quite lovely in nice weather. Those harsh weather gods at least gave us a tailwind for most of the climb, and it wasn’t particularly steep so we could simply pedal away dreaming about our hot onsen at the end. We were about 500 meters from the top and the road doubled back on itself in a U bend. We came around the corner and were hit in the face with a howling headwind that seemed to have dust in it. No...not dust. Ash. What the hell? We pushed our way to the visitor’s centre at the top. It was bleak and black and no one to be seen. Not another cyclist in sight. We ducked into the visitor’s centre, but there was no one really around - plus we didn’t speak Japanese so we couldn’t really strike up a conversation with anyone. At this stage we hadn’t realised anything was amiss. We simply thought the weather was horrible. We rode over to the chairlift where you can get a ride up to view the caldera. We saw a couple of people near by and asked them if the lift was open (can you believe that we actually wanted to go up to view the crater!) They looked at us like we were mad and said “The volcano has erupted. It is closed. You have to get off the mountain!” Oh. Yeah, that makes sense now. We looked around and there was black sludgy wet ash flowing freely on the road.


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Then we looked at each other and were like “Oh my God, I can’t believe we are on bikes on an erupting volcano.” We had no choice but to continue on over the other side to try and get to our accommodation unscathed. Our hotel at Jigoku Onsen was only 7kms down the mountain. We hoped it was still there. We started descending the wet sludgy road but had to stop every few hundred meters to wipe wet ash of our glasses. I tried to ride without my glasses on but that was worse. Ash in your eyeballs is not a pleasant feeling. About 3km into the descent Phil yells out and tells me to stop. I skidded to a halt. Something on the bike didn’t quite feel right. Phil was looking down at his brakes and says “My front brakes are gone”. Turns out the ash had ground them away to nothing. His back brakes were still half there. After inspecting mine I found I had the same issue. Holy crap, we still had 4kms to descend to get to our hotel. We had no choice but to push on and take it very gingerly, only using our brakes when we really needed them. Do you know how scary it is to descend an erupting volcano, blind with no brakes?? We arrived at our accommodation at Jigoku Onsen completely covered in ash. I felt relieved, elated and a little proud that we’d ridden through an ash storm and survived. We laughed at our ridiculous appearance and took a few photos that could have been used in Rouleur - reminiscent of Paris Roubaix contenders covered in grit. The owner of the hotel ran out when he saw us arrive and frantically wiped us down with white towels, not the best colour choice. We had to hose the bikes and ourselves off completely before going inside. Handy tip: if you are ever stuck in a volcanic storm and need to wash your bike down afterwards, check that the water is not sulphurous. Our chains were rusty as hell the next day. I tell you what, this day has to be one of the most unusual I've ever experienced on the bike. I certainly enjoyed my hot onsen and ramen for dinner.


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And The Women Who Take It On

In previous centuries, these men and women would have been great explorers, sailing to areas marked ‘Here Be Dragons’ on maps and discovering new worlds. In modern life, they are Adventure Racers instead.



n November 2016 in Shoalhaven NSW, the world’s best set out to push the limits of human endurance in the Adventure Racing World Championships. This expedition event saw teams traversing the wilderness for up to eight days, battling rugged terrain, heat, cold and extreme sleep deprivation, all while racing non-stop against the clock.

Adventure racing is unique among many sports in that the premier category is mixed, so all the top teams have at least one female member. And those women are tough, more than holding their own amongst the men. In total they covered over 630km by foot, mountain bike, kayak, packraft and even caving. The rate of attrition was high, with four teams forced to pull out due to broken bones within the first day alone. From the moment they got the course maps, teams were incommunicado, cut off from communication with the outside world. All phones and GPS devices were banned, competitors relying on the humble map and compass to navigate rocky escarpments and dense bushland in search of checkpoints. Meanwhile friends and loved ones crossed their fingers and stayed glued to their computers, watching their team’s ‘dots’ (from a GPS tracker device), inch slowly across the screen - their only link with them during the event. We talked with three of these amazing women after they emerged from the wilderness, to hear their highs and lows, what drives them, and what they take away from an epic adventure like this. These are their stories.


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TATUM (HOBBIT) PRINS 24th Place, 5 Days Racing - 38 Years Old

Tatum and her team started the event with a strong chance for a world podium finish, but luck was against them. “My bike derailleur broke on day 2 which cost us our race. This was a very hard pill to swallow and hard to keep going without having the original goal in mind. The shift in focus required a lot of mental strength and our disappointment was HUGE! At this point Tatum “was thinking about my family back home. I would have loved nothing more than to have hopped on a plane, gone home and hugged my boys”. However this is where her mental toughness came into play, and they carried on and made the most of the adventure. “I have a pretty strong mind when needed and I like to believe I can do and conquer anything. In AR this is really good to have.” When asked how she manages training

around work and family commitments: “Phew, now this is the question! This was definitely the hardest part of this race. Juggling being a mom, having a small business etc was tough. I literally grabbed any opportunity I could but the result was not always a good one. I was always tired. I have a 1.5 year old and a 3 year old boy so life is pretty full on and busy with them as it is. Luckily I have a fantastic husband and a supportive mom. They were the only reason I could’ve even thought about going to AR world champs this year. AR ALWAYS gives me that perspective which I need. How to deal with everyday life and it helps me to realize nothing is that hard or bad. It gives you the tools to deal with things. I really feel like I am living life to the full doing Adventure Racing.


JOANNA WILLIAMS 1st Place, 4 Days Racing - 42 Years Old

A couple of months before the World Championships, Jo was asked to join Team Seagate, the reigning World Champions, as their usual female member Sophie Hart was pregnant. “This was a difficult decision for me, as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity as an adventure racer, but I was already committed to another team, and also - the pressure! I was unsure whether I would be able to fill Sophie’s shoes. My goal was to not be the one to slow the team down. The race highlight was the scenery. The coasts were stunning, and in the longer trek the rocky features of the caves and bluffs were quite dramatic, especially at night in a storm with thunder and lightning, and then seeing the views at dawn. You just don’t get to experience this in everyday life. Near the end of the race, disaster struck in the form of a collision with a wombat. “I came off my bike hard and my helmet was destroyed. I was a little bruised and shaken but my bike was ok, I was ok. I just have to say that someone was looking after me. I am so thankful.”

It was a huge relief to get to the finish line in first position and to have had such an enjoyable time on course getting there. Somehow the pressure didn't eventuate, I guess as a team Seagate were relaxed and so used to racing together, that it all seemed quite smooth and easy. I was very appreciative that my original T7 New Zealand adventure race team were supportive of me joining Seagate. From each race I do, I always find I look back and see the highs and the lows I experienced during the race. You wonder so often why you are doing it. Then you remember the scenery that you have seen at sunrise, the full moon and stars at night guiding you on your way. The wonders of God's creation, that you see in rain, sun, storm and night. It is just such a stunning experience, you crave to do it again. It is also the teamwork. You rely so much on each other to get through an event like that, there is nothing else quite like it. There is something very special about this aspect of adventure racing. It helps to keep life in perspective in many ways. 076

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21st Place, 5 Days Racing - 33 Years Old

Nathalie had a tough lead up to the World Championships, “my dad passed away in August. He had a really rough time for the last few months of his life and my partner and I had to modify our training and racing schedule a lot during that time. Despite this she managed to make it to the start line and finish “just off target” from their goal placing of top 15-20. The white water of the Shoalhaven river provided both her highs and lows for the event, with packrafting being her favourite leg, but becoming hypothermic in the last nighttime kayak - luckily there were hot showers in the transition area at the end. When we asked how she first got into adventure racing, Nathalie said “I

started with triathlon and then discovered paddling and loved it. Shortly after I started mountain biking and was signed up for a two days stage adventure race. My first expedition race was XPD Cairns in 2010. Every adventure race I do shows me that I'm more capable than I would have imagined”. Nathalie doesn’t view her training as ‘training’, rather “for us it's more a lifestyle. I am lucky to share my passion with my partner which makes things much easier. We use all our holidays to race. (We don't have kids). After six and a half years adventure racing, it doesn’t look like Nathalie’s slowing down anytime soon, with her next goal “becoming a stronger team for the 2017 season to come!”



51st Place, 7 Days Racing - 42 Years Old

Mardi and her team’s goals for this event “were the 3 FFF’s - Fun, Friends and Finish. Occasionally we joked about adding a 4th ‘F’ being Fast. Doing adventures with friends is what we love doing. XPD races are like having a 3 day long-weekend, all packed into 1 day, and then another long weekend adventure the next day... and so on. While our aim is not to win, we still enjoy the competitiveness amongst other “middle of the pack” teams, that also enjoy a couple of hours sleep each night. I am in awe of those teams that travel the whole race on only several hours of sleep”. When it comes to training for the event, Mardi has been adventure racing on and off for twenty years and says “Living your life to the full IS training for these expedition style adventure races. Managing time, managing resources, overcoming problems, achieving goals and enjoying doing it.

Her biggest take home message is “never give up in our problem rich world.” Their trusty team tandem bicycle has done 8 XPD expedition event races with them. “Mid race, travelling at about 30km/hr down a good dirt road, the front wheel choked up. Rick and the tandem bike flew over me before we rolled to a halt, leaving a messy pile….and the front fork with some sad new bends”. They pushed the bike around 50km in total to find a “gem of a bike shop. They had a spare front fork and we could proceed on our way........ And to our joy, we were still not coming last!!!” Mardi is already looking forward to finding out the location of Australia’s next XPD expedition race. “Adventure racing provides challenges for everyone in so many ways and at different levels. What better way to be with friends, enjoying the wilds and enjoying the challenges that it offers.”


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And The Women Who Take It On


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fresh new adventure

A friend recently tagged me in an ‘outdoor’ post on Facebook. An outdoor weekend workshop in fact. You know the kind, the weekend workshops where you learn to do something outdoorsy. Something new and challenging. Something fun like mountain biking or canyoneering. I think sure, why not? A RT IC L E BY K E R RYA N N H AY E S

I follow this group on Facebook and believe they are my people. So I figured I’d see what it was all about, since it sounded right up my alley. Now I know this whole women’s adventure movement is getting lots of traction worldwide; in fact in Australia, our magazine and women’s adventure network here at Travel Play Live is a major part of it, but I notice something that disappoints me. A lot. And, I feel it’s the same old mistake we make over and over again when things become ‘the next big thing’ or are ‘trending’. This happens particularly when it come’s to promoting what we all do in this space, and one of the prime examples is the promotion of women’s fitness. All the member photos and individuals used to promote this particular event were of women in their twenties, maybe very early thirties. All fresh faced, glowing, wrinkle-free eyes, slim and dare I say it white. Now please don't get me wrong. I’m just trying to get a point across here. I know I can still mix it with these girls, after all, experiences add up over time so I’m totally comfortable in most of these environments. But, I will be turning fifty in the coming year and the message I’m already starting to receive is that I have to be of a certain “demographic” to participate. Now I am older, I’m rarely, if at all represented, along with many others. The message I’m getting, is that if I’m: older, indigenous or from an ethnic background, am larger than a size 12, or sit outside the normal recognised beauty standards or my dress represents my faith,

then this “outdoors” isn't really welcoming or really for me. And at this early stage of the women’s adventure movement in Australia it’s really disappointing. Now I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but as I search my Instagram account for outdoor women’s organisations worldwide, the majority follow this same old formula. Young, white, fresh faced, the world at their feet, doing “epic” adventures. You know the kind of pictures I’m talking about. I can't help but think, we may be getting it wrong. I understand businesses use sex to sell their products. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I didn't look twice when it’s David Beckham promoting his underwear or George Clooney’s coffee machine or Johnny Depp anything. And I’m definitely not opposed to millennials, or the hipsters who are a growing part of this movement, in fact, I have four of them. One boy and three girls whom I want to grow into strong independent humans who give a shit about the world, it’s environment and it’s people. What I’m saying is that when we promote women breaking down the barriers into what was previously been deemed as an outdoor man’s world, we are inadvertently segregating the very people we want to include - and isn't that what our message as women’s groups promoting the outdoors all about? The outdoors is a place for everyone; there is no bias in nature. Isn’t that what we have been saying all along? Isn't that how we are inspiring and empowering others, by saying if I can do it, you can too! Get outdoors, there’s no judgment, you fit no matter who you are? 081

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Well if that’s the case let’s reflect that in how we promote it. Now, back to my original point. I have no doubt I’ll still be accepted should I attend this women’s workshop - the outdoor sisterhood is a great place. However, by doing so without voicing my concern, does nothing to help my passion to get other women, regardless of age, shape, body size, ethnicity or religion outside? The multitudes of women who usually sit on the sidelines but really want to do new things; yet still feels intimidated in one way or another - so in the end doesn't get involved? When it’s our mission to empower, inspire support and bring women together through the power of the outdoors and encourage female participation, we must speak to the diverse range of women out there. I don’t know. Maybe the workshop host hasn’t really thought about who these women are as much as about adventure itself. Maybe they are purely thinking about the market from a building business perspective. Maybe us older bad asses aren’t really interested in getting outdoors. Maybe you’re thinking, “Kez - who really gives a s@*%t” Regardless, I have an opinion and maybe as organisations promoting the participation of women in the outdoors we should try harder to incorporate women from all walks of life. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Let them resound with your grievances or agree whole-heartedly, I'm good either way, let me know what you think.


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Let 's Play

When we adventure, a sense of novelty, challenge, timelessness and connection to nature and others (often through disconnection from our devices) come together to give us that feeling that fills our souls and leaves us wanting more. And every adventurer, whether they spend weeks in the mountains of Nepal or hours in their local parks, knows that returning to reality can feel like a harsh metaphorical slap to the face. I mean, after all that excitement reality can seem a bit dull. ARTICLE BY MEGHANN BIRKS - PLAY COACH

But what if I told you that sense of play and freedom, doesn’t need to be limited to those moments of adventure? What if finding a way to bring a sense of playfulness to everyday life was a simple way to increase your health and happiness? Play, often associated with frivolity and dubbed a “waste of time” (especially in Western cultures) is now being explored as an important and crucial element to life satisfaction, decreased stress and increased states of flow and productivity at home and in the workplace. The best part? You don’t need time off work, money, special skills or even extra time to play! What is play? The definition of play is subjective but it can loosely be defined as an activity that brings the participant a sense of engagement and enjoyment. Novelty and challenge are other important elements of play, as human beings crave new experiences and taking on challenges that are just hard enough - but not too hard bringing a cascade of benefits. Why is it important? Play boosts brainpower: When we play, our brains benefit! Not only does play strengthen existing neural pathways but can also help create new ones. This means faster, more efficient cognitive function. Add in a social element to your playtime and these benefits multiply. Play relieves stress: Play creates a rush of endorphins. As your body’s natural feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopa-

mine are released, your mood is boosted while stress is decreased. Play ramps up creativity and problem solving skills: Play based learning is recognised as important for children by scientists, teachers, educators, parents and doctors yet these benefits don’t end when you hit puberty. Learning continues throughout life and doing it in a fun, relaxed manner through play often translates to better results in less time. First of all, if the way you’re learning is fun, you’re more likely to do it regularly. Secondly, stress impairs cognitive function so if you can remove it from or lessen it during the learning process, you’ll see better outcomes. Play bolsters relationships: Playing with family and friends can strengthen non- verbal communication, empathy and feelings of connection. Think about how you feel when you laugh with one of your friends or your children. It’s like super glue for your relationship! Play all day Make a list of all the things you do on a daily basis, including the things you love to do and the things you have to do. Now highlight the things that feel like play, the times that you feel engaged with what you’re doing. Chances are, the list is looking a little unbalanced. There are lots of ways to include play in your day. My approach as a Play Coach is to carve out time for focused play and to bring a sense of playfulness to everyday 083

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tasks. Dedicated playtime is pockets of a few minutes here and there where you are focused on nothing but having some fun. Some examples include: • Putting the music on and having a dance party • Jumping on a trampoline • Revisiting a childhood activity like skipping rope or hopscotch • Exploring a new trail or climbing route • Trying a new puzzle, game or logic challenge • Leaving your watch and training plan behind and going for a run with no goal other than enjoying it The other way to get more play in your day is by cultivating a sense of playfulness in everyday activities. Examples may include: • Setting a timer for folding your laundry. Keep track and aim to beat it every time. • Challenging yourself to keep your email inbox to less than [10, 20, 30] emails. • Acting like an animal while doing just about anything. My enjoyment of picking up the toys is always magnified by moving like a lion, lizard or monkey, and the kids find it hilarious! Remember that there is no right and wrong when it comes to play so you can choose your own adventure. Get creative, be bold and commit to having more fun everyday. You won’t regret it!


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DOUBLE CHOCOLATE AND QUINOA MUFFINS These wholesome gluten-free muffins will deliver you double the chocolate taste, with the nourishment of quinoa flour, almond meal and natural yoghurt to sustain you. I like to make mine large, giving you six decent sized muffins, but they will work just as well smaller, giving you a dozen from this recipe. MAKES 6 LARGE OR 12 SMALL NUTRITION V & GF



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C

smaller muffins for 20 minutes or until a

125g butter, softened

fan forced) and lightly grease 6 large

¾ cup (115g) rapadura sugar

skewer comes out clean when inserted

(160ml) or 12 medium (80ml) muffin

2 eggs

into the centre of the muffin. Lift out


onto a wire rack to cool.

2. Using electric beaters, beat the

Note: It is so doable and worthwhile to

1 tsp vanilla bean paste 1 cup (100g) almond meal

butter and sugar until light and

1 cup (120g) quinoa flour

creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla

2 tbsp cocoa 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder ½ cup (125ml) natural yoghurt 100g dark chocolate pieces

bean paste and beat to combine. Add the remaining ingredients except the chocolate pieces and mix well. 3. Spoon the mixture evenly into the

ely chopped

prepared muffin tins. For larger muffins

1 garlic clove, finely grated

use a ½ cup measure per muffin, for

1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp sea salt 3 egg yolks extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, to serve

make your own almond meal. Process ¾ cup (100g) whole raw almonds to produce the required 1 cup of almond meal. Left over almond meal is best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight glass jar. Note: For information on rapadura

smaller muffins a ¼ cup per muffin.

sugar see page 50.

Evenly disperse the dark choc pieces

Storage: To freeze muffins wrap in non-

between all muffins, poking them into

stick baking paper, then place into an

the top of the batter.

airtight snap lock bag with the excess

4. Bake large muffins for 30 minutes, or

air expelled.

Cocoa Solids are a combination of many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. As an end product when sold it can be called cocoa powder, cocoa and cacao. Rich with antioxidants, cocoa adds the delightful chocolate flavour to baked cakes and muffins. It is further enjoyed as a warm drink, mixed with hot water or full cream milk.


©Jane Grover – Recipe from Jane’s cookbook: Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel w:


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WOMEN'S ADVENTURE DIRECTORY A network of adventure groups and active individuals dedicated to creating new friendships and helping all women add zest to their lives

MUST DO EVENTS Tick off your bucket list and discover your wilder side with our hand picked recommendations

SOCIAL SCENE All the latest news from our Aussie adventure girls in action

TPL DIRECTORY Look no further for all your adventurous needs & desires

INSTA LOVE TAG US TO SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES @travelplaylivemagazine #travelplaylive


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SOCIALSCENE YEAR OF YES LAUNCH The Travel Play Live ‘Year of Yes’ launch held in our home town in the Great Lakes, saw 50+ attending; girls and guys, with our message being loud and clear, that living a life of adventure has more benefits than the obvious of just doing really cool things to post on your Instagram page. Leah Gilbert as usual pulled the crowds with three of the ladies travelling nine hours to attend. We look forward to helping you make this YOUR YEAR of YES with the launch of Australia’s 1st Women’s Adventure Summit and our continued mission of supporting Australian women’s adventure.

TPL Bodyboarding Clinic with Lilly Pollard. Aussie Body Boarding Champ Lily Pollard had 20+ girls ranging from 8 - 60 hitting the water and dare we say shredding. Lily’s skills and cruisy coaching style, along with help from Grom Milly Chalker had each of the girls not only catching a few waves but smiling from ear to ear by the end of the day.


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SOCIALSCENE HUNTER VALLEY TRAIL RUNNING CAMP The Hunter Valley Trail Running Camp is an annual event held in late February at Riverwood Downs Resort, Barrington. Catering for all ages and abilities in trail running, with the main aim of preparing for the Ultra Trail Australia events. Coach is Matty Abel, founder and head coach of DBA Runners in Sydney, and Nike Asia-Pacific Coach. Also supported by AROC Sport - UTA, Tailwind Australia, Pace Athletic, and Travel Play Live Magazine.


Some fab 5 star reviews from attendees at this years Adventure Travel Film Festival, held in Bright Victoria where some of the world’s finest and rarest adventure travel films featured at Australia’s first ever Adventure Travel Film Festival. This event is proving a must for anyone, adventurer or not, who has ever dreamed of exploring our great wide world. Itchy feet guaranteed! “My first time to the festival, couldn't have had more fun, great place, great films, great team running, met loads of interesting friendly people. What more could you want. Thanks for a fantastic weekend!” Alex Marshall “Loved it all, films- impossible to choose a favourite... talks, location, other to Melbourne were cheap...why wouldn't you give yourself a mini adventure, and go! Looking forward to next year.” Patty Lou

CLARE AND SCARLETT FIRST HIKE. Pat Powell spent the weekend hiking in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. Perfect weather with great views of Mt. Fitzroy, a good 6hr hike.


Scarlett Lewis 8 yrs old on her first overnight hike with mum Clare. 11km each way from Boomeri camp to Shelly Beach camp ground along the Old Gibber Track, Mungo Brush National Park

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Jo Thomae

Ran the Motatapu Miners Trail event in Arrowtown New Zealand

ADVENTUROUS WOMEN. There’s no stopping the Western Australian based Adventurous Women crew. It was all smiles on their Bibbulmun Track Hike.

Erin Cowen:

Weekend in Tassie for Tassie Trail Fest. "Great Event! Great few days hiking Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay and exploring this beautiful state."

CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY Caro Ryan from Lotsafresh Air and friend were getting their Clean Up Australia Day on at Mt. Solitary. Not only rubbish removal, but rehab for excessive fire rings and declaring a war on wet wipes! "Seriously folks, a good well managed fire (with minimal impact principles) doesn't need a fire ring. Sigh.."








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MOUNTAIN DESIGNS GEOQUEST Run Larapinta Type: Trail Running Location: Larapinta Trail in the MacDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs NT Date: Friday 11th - Monday 14th August 2017. Run Larapinta is more than a race, it's an adventure, an opportunity for self-discovery in an iconic landscape of open plains, red rocks and blue skies." Marion (2016 participant) Run Larapinta is a 4 day, 4 stage trail running race of two course distances along the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in Australia's Northern Territory.

Type: 24 /48 Hr Adventure Race Location: Sawtell NSW Date: Queens Birthday long weekend 9 -12 June A non-stop 48 hour adventure race, including disciplines of trekking, mountain biking, and kayaking. You and your teammates stay together for the whole race – it isn’t a relay! This is an event with an emphasis on teamwork, fitness and adventure. Mountain Designs GeoQuest (Half or Full) is the ultimate test of your physical and mental limits. There is no question, the race is tough and is a real adventure. If you are one of the lucky teams, you will crawl across the finish line. This is certainly not your average weekend!

Dungog Mountain Bike Festival 2017 Type: Mountain Bike / MTB Enduro Location: Dungog, NSW Date: 15-16 April 2017 2017 is gearing up to be another great weekend of riding and fun on some of the best single track available in NSW, all while camping under the stars only a stones throw from the town of Dungog. This MTB event has a fun vibe, crew and some awesome track combined with music, food and again something for the whole MTB family, all together one of the best country weekend experience available anywhere in Australia. Sunday morning, being Easter Sunday, will see a new event for young and old: A Mountain Bike Easter Hunt


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THE DIRT DE FEMME Type: Mountain Bike Location: Stromlo Forest Park, Canberra ACT Date: 7th May 2017 This Women and Girls mountain biking event, has been a success now for many years and is one for the nervous nellie to the experienced racer. With two awesome courses (21km and 45km) designed to get your blood pumping in the unique fun-filled and supportive atmosphere that only DdF can deliver.



Type: Trail Running Location: Katoomba, New South Wales Date: 18th - 21st May 2017 This whole weekend is such a well orchestrated event. From the 22km on the Friday to the finish of the 100km on the Sunday, its a

Type: 5km Trail Run for you and your hound Location: Various locations NSW Date: various dates from April - August Grab the mutts and join these guys for super-duper barking mad fun!

credit to the AROC organisation and it’s no wonder it sells out so quick! Everything has been thought of for entrants and spectators alike, the new kids activities, and the expo all great additions to this awesome weekend. The events are awe-inspiring and the finish line is always packed with celebrations.

Run, walk sniff, bark and glow your way around the picturesque locations with your best friend under the stars and support animal advocacy and welfare organisations at the same time! The 5km course gives hounds of their humans of all shapes, sizes and abilities the opportunity to join the fun.

Wildside Adventure Race Expedition Edition

Type: Adventure Racing Location: Canberra ACT Date: 30th September - 7th October The Wildside Adventure Race Expedition Edition is back. Fully Rad Adventures is presenting its premier adventure event taking it to a brand new location – Canberra, ACT. Adventure Racing is multiple disciplines combined with navigation in remote locations with teams of 2, 3 or 4. Races often include trekking, paddling, mountain biking, swimming, rope work; however they can have any number of other sports as team’s journey across a course navigating from control point to control point. Expedition style races are the pinnacle of the sport. They are multi day and discipline adventures taking teams across long distances and varied landscapes. This is the ultimate in endurance racing. Teams race day and night navigating across landscapes collecting checkpoints while managing their own supplies and implementing sleep and nutrition strategies. They must be prepared for anything and be able to operate in harsh remote environments. WildsideAR this year is the Australian leg of the Outdoor Race World Tour and Race 4 of the Australian Adventure Racing Series. This will up the ante with teams as they vie for points in the National and International series. If you are looking for a great big adventure then this is it.


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NEW BOOK TO HELP US BATTLE THE BLUES WITH ADVENTURE Inspirational Wild Woman Di Westaway Spills Tips On how to create a life of exhilaration white picket fence and my complete lack of fitness motivation inspired me to sign up,” said Westaway Eight years on, Westaway is the CEO and Founder of Wild Women On Top, whose flagship event, Coastrek, has inspired nearly 20,000 women off the couch and into healthy lifestyles while raising over $17 million dollars to restore sight with The Fred Hollows Foundation. She’s a world record holder, a 2016 top 100 Woman of Influence and mother of three who has forged back from the depths of despair to create a social change business that has transformed the lives of millions around the world. To coincide with International Women’s Day (Wed 8 March, 2017), Chief Adventure Chick Di Westaway shared her secrets to living a happy, bold and adventurous life with the release of her new book Natural Exhilaration: Lead an Adventurous Life You Love. Adventure is fun. It can motivate you off the couch and into action. This book shares compelling women’s wisdom, simple science and top tips to help you get your life back and guide your adventurous journey every step of the way. Some doctors call it Lifestyle Medicine. Di calls it natural adventure and if you’re wanting to get beat the blues and flourish in a busy world, read on. “Sixteen years ago, I was tired, wrung out, miserable and fighting forty. I was juggling a bunch of common suburban housewife dramas and a dysfunctional relationship when my world disintegrated into what I call a mid-wife crisis. Then, out of the blue, a friend’s personal trainer invited me to join his group trek up a high altitude mountain in Peru. The thrill of adventure beyond the drudgery of my

“After 35 years of seeking health through exercise I discovered the powers of adventure because I hit a wall. I’ve created a lifestyle solution that’s helped tens of thousands of women, and this book pulls together those lessons into guide for bringing exhilaration into your own life,” said Westaway. Comic writer Gretel Killeen says, “Di is an extraordinary woman who has me quite baffled. How she manages to achieve all she does and help so many along the way is an absolute mystery. Find the secret inside this book.”

Westaway identifies 10 daily rituals to help people on keep on the happiness highway

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Head over to our website & join the adventure. *International Options Available


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• Nourish: Eat real unprocessed food until 90% full, 90% of the time • Sleep: Rejuvenate and heal with your eight hour dose • Mindful: Yoga, meditation, deep healing breaths or just being present for 10 minutes • Nature: Get outside into the garden, park, woods, river, bush, coast, sunshine, breeze, trails, lake or seaside for 10 minutes • Goodness: Always bring more than you take away • Grateful: Take moments to spot & savour slivers of joy

• Tech off: Go screen free for just an hour

The Daily Rituals of Joy are scientifically supported self-care rituals to create delight and joy every day. Westaway has developed these from experience, practice and neuroscience uncovered by thought leader Paul Taylor. These practices will help create daily habits that keep hormones happy.

All you need to do to be in the running to win great prizes is subscribe to the magazine.

• Move: Walk hike, skip, stroll, leap, dance, stretch, bonk, climb, surf, ride, paddle for an hour & puff for 5 minutes

• Giggles: Lighten up because laughter really is the best medicine

Natural Exhilaration explores two key activities to motivate, guide and energise. If you’re looking for inspiration and motivation use Westaway’s Adventure Mindset which encourages you to take on adventure immersions like Coastrek to help jumpstart your head and heart. For a daily self-care energiser, Westaway recommends her Rituals of Joy.


• Love: It makes the world go round

Di believes that while attempting to make life funner, fuller, freer and fabber, we have outsourced responsibility for our own health. We prefer pills, potions, supplements, fad diets and quick fixes for our global health crisis. The World Health Organisation calls it an epidemic and that lifestyle diseases like diabetes, depression and obesity could send more of us to an early grave than the Black Plague, which killed 75 million people in the 14th century. With this in mind, Di has laid out her step by step guide to living a happier and healthier, more adventurous life of exhilaration in her new book Natural Exhilaration: Lead an Adventurous Life You Love. Natural Exhilaration: Lead an Adventurous Life You Love is available for purchase from RRP 29.95 plus $5.50 postage.


$48 + P&H


MUST READS We are so excited to be contributors to 'The Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning'. This new textbook presents a collection of essays from women across the globe who live, work and participate in outdoor learning environments. The essays focus on the ways women adventurers are rising up from having been marginalised in outdoor learning for centuries. Our chapter, “Inspiring Adventurous WomenTowards an Inclusive Future in Outdoor Learning Environments” attempts to present the soul of Travel Play Live; a magazine that represents the everyday women who are at the coalface of life, at home, at work and at play. It embodies the heartbeat of women’s adventure and shares a new narrative—one of diversity, passion, triumph, and change. As contributors, we are encouraged by letters from women like Erin Foster (see Letter to the Editor), a 20 year old track worker for a company contracted by Parks and Wildlife in Tasmania. She is inspired to strive and fulfill her adventurous

dreams as she has realised that women can be and are real pioneers in outdoor adventure and recreation. She feels there is nothing they cannot do. Women seeking adventure are more often than not, using the outdoors to look inward, to reconnect and make a difference in their worlds. The adventures often lead to a new mindset for these women. As Travel Play Live represents women who are at the coal face of life at home, work and play Erin is typical of these women as she a lone female working within the outdoors industry. Her experiences incor-

porate the challenges that women have when pursuing their dreams in unlikely environments. She is courageously taking life by the horns, smashing stereotypes, exploring new territories, and inspiring a new generation of active women to find their true north. Erin engages thoughtfully with nature while proudly facing everyday trials and using her femininity to approach her daily adventures. Hopefully Travel Play Live and other like minded adventurers will continue to support female adventurers of all ages and sizes for the rest of the 21st century and beyond.

THE PALGRAVE INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF WOMEN AND OUTDOOR LEARNING Edited by A/Professor Tonia Gray, Western Sydney University and Professor Denise Mitten, Prescott University, Arizona. book/9783319535494

This handbook serves as a starting point for critical analysis and discourse about the status of women in outdoor learning environments (OLEs). Women choose to participate actively in outdoors careers, many believing the profession is a level playing field and that it offers alternatives to traditional sporting activities. They enter outdoor learning primarily on the strength of their enthusiasm for leading and teaching in natural environments and assume the field is inclusive, rewarding excellence regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, or ethnicity. However, both research and collective experiences in OLEs suggest that many women feel invisible, relegated, marginalized, and undervalued. In response to this marginalization, this handbook celebrates the richness of knowledge and practices of women practitioners in OLEs. Women scholars and practitioners from numerous fields, such as experiential outdoor education, adventure education, adventure 096

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therapy, and gender studies, explore the implications of their research and practice using poignant examples within their own disciplines. These insights emerge from similar life experiences as women and outdoor leaders in the 1970s through the 80s and 90s to now, the 21st century. Alignment of experiences helps shape the female narrative within each chapter and provides the book’s through line. Social inequalities still abound in OLEs, and the task of the book is to illuminate the contributions of women as well as the work that needs to be done to make these spaces inclusive. Global in perspective and capacious in content, this one-stop volume is an indispensable reference resource for a diverse range of academics, including students and researchers in the fields of education, psychology, sociology, gender studies, geography, and environment studies, as well as the many outdoors fields.

Letter to

THE EDITOR Hey! My name is Erin Foster. I'm 20 years old and I am a track worker for a company who are contracted by Parks and Wildlife in Tasmania. I just discovered your magazine a week ago in the new Find your Feet store in Hobart and was immediately in love with it! I read it while I was away working on the Three Capes Track where we are currently spending eight days at a time constructing and maintaining the track, week on week off. The stories I read inspired me so much to really strive to fulfill my adventurous dreams! What I mostly took away from it was that women can be and are the real pioneers in outdoor adventure and recreation - there is nothing that we cannot do. I started work as a track worker at the beginning of 2016 and have since been the only female in the company. No matter what project we work on, I am the lone female and for a while I found this to be a bit challenging. I found it to be detrimental to my self confidence; that I wasn't as strong or physically capable as the guys I work with. Some days my drive home would be spent wondering if I was really up to this job, if I had it in me to rise up above and beyond what I thought was possible for me to achieve.

I realised that I actually love the challenge, and that I do as well as all the guys who I work with - because I still do the best that I can and that is all I can offer. I realised that it is enough. I am enough. To be my own inspiration, to keep on going even when it feels like I'll never reach the top of the mountain. It is so important to remember that we women are in control of the legacy we create, as individuals and as a whole. I wasn't as physically strong as my teammates, but I learned that so long as I can work smarter and not harder and do the best I can, that is enough. Comparing myself to them did me no good, but how it make me feel lead me to reflect on where my self worth and confidence in my abilities stem from; which I know now comes from my femininity. My pride in being a woman who can do work that has been deemed as "too hard" for women or "un-ladylike". Thank you for inspiring and empowering me through your magazine. Erin

There were days when I would be knee deep in mud in the middle of the button grass plains of the South West National Park, in the pouring rain wondering what the hell I'm doing here. Days when the hike to my work site just seemed to get harder and steeper. What it took me so long to realise was that yeah, this isn't easy, but I kept wanting more. I kept showing up!


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“Blessed be she who is both furious and magnificent” Taylor Rhodes

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Photo By: Joshua Strickland