I was stoked to ask to be a part of a movement by The North Face spearheaded by their phenomenal athletes including climbing prodigy the incredible Ashima Shiraishi and ultra runner Fernanada Maciel (who recently ran up and down Kilimanjaro in just over 10 hours...) amongst other ground-breaking women. The campaign isn't just celebrating female explorers, but so to speak putting it's money where it's mouth is, supporting equal marketing spend between the sexes at the brand, product development for women, closing the gender pay gap amongst their athletes, and grants and charity partnerships to foster female exploration.
Spurred on by attending a panel discussion chaired by the extraordinary Bonita Norris (at the time the youngest British woman to ascend Everest), DJ Carly Wilford, Fernanda Maciel, and women I am proud to know, the formidable Editor of Cosmopolitan Farrah Storr, and Editor of Cooler Magazine, Lou Boyd, got me thinking about my own mission, and what my work has meant to me over the years.
My wildest dream had been and continues to be aiding more women getting into nature, surfing, running, getting out on bikes, horses, out on the climbing wall, playing in our Great Outdoors.
"The foundation of Mad To Live Retreats and of indeed the Mad To Live platform itself to tell stories in support of that mission has been my greatest motivation in both my career and personal life. I am passionate about more women experiencing the physical and mental benefits of a life rooted in sport, exploration, play and adventure, and how in a female-based retreat, fostering female friendships in this environment can lead to incredibly meaningful relationships and experiences in these outdoor settings."
The retreats are my way to help break down any barriers, encumbrances or fears women may have in any of these sports we play in, particularly if they are classically more male-dominated environments, like surfing. When I see our hoard out running the trails, tearing down beaches on horseback, opening their hearts to sun salute the sky, paddling into the lineup, a crew of women who are feeling more confident just from either having positive constructive coaching, by being with a troop of other women who have their backs, every second of hard work, of doors that have been shut, of doors that have been opened, is worth it.
I am constantly invigorated by my work, by working on stories that are woven into this mission, of creating more retreats to give more women access to an experience where they can try these sports, be themselves, forge new passions, travel and be enriched by a world taking in more movement, more culture, more life. I'll continue to push for more, for more women to partake, to run a little wilder, and feel stronger, and to never stop playing.
Check out my shots which are from the awesome book She Moves Mountains by The North Face I am delighted to be included in.