Background: I’m attempting to become the first woman who walked the length of Earth. It’s a 30 000 km trek from the bottom of Argentina to the top of Alaska. I travel only by foot, or when the terrain is unpassable I swim or kayak. I’m pretty committed to my goals – but I wasn’t always this way…
When I was in high school I wanted to be a professional stunt woman.
Yeah, I know.
I was a chubby little rug rat too. Strong as hell (thanks Dad), but my physique didn’t scream Marvel film.
One can only dream.
When grade 10 career advising came around – it took some courage building to tell the adviser what I wanted to do. When I finally told her (all smiles) she sent me to detention for wasting her time… and I learnt to keep my aspirations a secret.
When I quit University, I wanted to become a formation skydiver.
Yeah, I know.
Then a close family member delicately told me the story of a family tragedy and I learnt there are reasons beyond my self-centered world why some dreams shouldn’t be pursued.
I had one day left at the skydiving center and went along to what would be my last. When I arrived, we had a client booked in. His name was George.
We picked him up on our way to the airport – ran him through the routine, and when his jump was over he had that excited-terrified-shocked-relieved expression. I went over to him and we held on to each other for some time while he recovered.
When we dropped him back home I asked him why he decided to jump and what he told me was unforgettable. He said: Today is my 90th birthday, and I want to show my family that I’m still alive.
He raised the DVDs we’d given him, each containing the film of his skydiving experience, and then strolled back into the nursing home like it was any other day.
I learnt a lot from George during our brief encounter. One: to take control of my own goals irrespective of the absence of encouragement.
jump!.. and show the world you’re still alive.
I will say this… Pursuing my passion became a lot easier once I found people who were genuinely keen to help me succeed, no matter how quirky they might think I am.
If you want to try something a little left of field, be prepared for it to take some hunting to find your support network – Or what I should say is, be prepared to find the people who know how to support you.
One last thing…
The record for the oldest skydiver is held by Kenny Meyer (102), teaching me one last thing… You’re never too old to be a #badass.
See you out there,
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To those believers… among my family (especially the one referenced), my friends, my random pen friends… and the people I meet along the path, Thank you!
NEXT UP – The Atacama Desert:
The most expansive and arid place on earth stretches across northern Chile into Peru!
There’s a whole science behind why it’s so inhospitable – but no real explanation to why I’m not taking an alternative route other than curiosity and for the experience.
Here’s the kind of video I’d show Mum