Growing up in a male dominant environment I had little idea just how impactful this would be to my life. Turning 40 next month has nostalgic reflections on the replay of an adventurous childhood. Days spent carving guns from the woodpile to scrambling through long grass in war-play with my brothers and the boys in our street. Motorbikes and cars raced on the farm, yabbying by the dam, shearing sheep and learning to shoot a rifle. My brothers and I were encouraged to try everything from abseiling to rafting, hiking and camping. It was an explorative upbringing. Thrilling, exciting, and challenging. I loved it.
With little female interaction other than my tomboy mother I was destined to be feet first, think later kind of person. This has landed me in deep water at times where the survival instinct of a tenacious tomboy kicked in and also been the catalyst for some of the most life-changing decisions.
As an almost 40-year-old woman, I still need to injection of excitement and adventure to feel alive. My desire to be challenged, pushed and driven forward is second to my need for oxygen to survive. Perhaps it’s the masochistic delight in overcoming uncomfortable and challenging situations. The sense of accomplishment, knowledge gained, the self –awareness and growth from doing something hard.
I can’t sit idle. It’s a scary thought that I’ll stall and often the nightmares of my early 20’s remind me to choose to challenge myself. Married and divorced by 24 years of age with a toddler, I reflect on the circumstances where I was muted, frozen by inaction and fear.
The men throughout my life have played a huge role in shaping who I am today, the woman with a strong voice and confident character that faces the tests with enthusiasm. Some have shown me how men should not treat women, others like my brother Matt and husband Shan, have demonstrated the respectful, supportive men that are pillars of our society. Importantly, these men have inspired me to take a bold and daring approach to how I live my life and how I encourage my daughters to do the same.
I choose to challenge myself every day. Do something that tests the character that drives me forward to experience the thrill and excitement, to remind me that I am alive and have power over my choices and direction.
This is what Holistic Hikes is about. The challenge of a multi-day hike, carrying all that I need in a pack on my back, is to be the ultimate in freedom, self-sufficiency and achievement. It feeds into my need to explore, to be tested physically and mentally, to empower, strengthen my resolve, to choose the challenge. It’s the legacy that I wish to impart to those who choose to test themselves too.
To be awake, to be alive is to be challenged.
Face up to the uncomfortably.
Have the hard conversations.
Take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.
Test ourselves physically, mentally.
Are you ready to choose to challenge?