The Everest adventure is bringing together a group of 6 Love Her Wild women to take on an epic expedition. Over 5 days in the Lake District, the women will hike the equivalent height of Everest. That’s 8,848m over a distance of 114km and 44 peaks.
The women come from all backgrounds and abilities and have only met once before. The purpose of this expedition is to prove that adventure really is open to everyone. And you don’t need to go far to find it! In fact, you can even follow in our footsteps and take on your own #EverestAnywhere challenge.
Each member of the Everest team has a different personal reason for taking on this challenge. This is why Seanna said yes to this adventure….
The person writing this blog post isn’t the same person who applied for The Everest Adventure.
When I wrote that application, I never expected to get a place, though I thought about it every day until I got that life altering email from Bex.
I saw myself as damaged goods. A trauma survivor, living with the debilitating effects of mental illness. I plodded through life, coming across as normal enough, still smiling, still achieving things, travelling and trying to develop myself, but I felt utterly broken by the way life had treated me. My self esteem was chronically low and I needed approval and validation like oxygen.
Truthfully, I didn’t quite know who I was. I wrote a confident, self-promoting application about what I could bring to the team, my strengths and how I could add value if I was selected. But in my heart I didn’t believe those things. What would I really be able to contribute? Would I ever be fit enough? Did I deserve it? Past failures overwhelmed me – the time I was injured and had to hobble round the London marathon course instead of running, all of the times I’d given up halfway through a route at the climbing wall, every time I had started going to the gym and a few weeks later jacked it all in and instead spent evenings socialising. I was so excited by the idea of the adventure, but secretly felt there was no way I had the commitment to see it through.
I’m someone who has an idea, runs at it full pelt and then loses motivation once the initial excitement has worn off. I really, really wanted to change this, but I genuinely didn’t believe I could. But the fact that I didn’t believe I could do it seemed like the best possible reason to try.
When I found out there had been over 100 applications, and Bex had chosen me, I knew I needed to commit to this and give it my absolute best.
My fitness was pretty bad and my mental toughness was fairly non-existent. I actually thought to myself ‘There is no way I can do this, but that is exactly why I need to find a way.’ This was so, so important to me and I promised myself I wouldn’t give up.
I got myself a personal trainer and started weight training. I took up running again and spent more Sundays out with my beloved walking group. I started practicing mindfulness meditation to improve my resilience. I watched TED talks and listened to podcasts that would help my mindset.
Mental health wise, I was really struggling and it wasn’t a good time. But I had something to fight for. Taking steps towards this beautiful goal of hiking the equivalent ascent of Everest helped me cope. When I felt like self-harming, instead I would go to the gym and train until my muscles were fatigued and shaking. I gave up alcohol. I started doing visualisation and affirmations.
Meeting the rest of the team at the training weekend helped me even further. These women blew me away with their strength, their kindness, their wit and their support. Achieving this goal became a done deal in my head now – there was no way I was going to let these wild and wonderful women down. Each of us had a very specific, personal reason for applying, and the team became my primary motivation.
That weekend, we also decided we would be fundraising to build a toilet and shower block for a school in Tanzania as lots of girls drop out when they start their periods because they can’t stay clean. I was so excited to make a tangible difference in these girls’ lives. I know that’s another thing that will keep me going on the expedition when it’s raining and I’m exhausted.
At a time in a project when my motivation would be starting to wane, I was rearing to do even more. My training was going well and with the help of Vivo Life protein, people started commenting that I was looking stronger and healthier. Some evenings I would walk the 9 miles home from work and be on top of the world by the end of it.
My mental health was getting better, and while I know this is something that will always be up and down, I was starting to see a change in my mindset. I started working with a coach who helped me look at my confidence issues differently and fight them.
The world of adventure started unfolding in front of me, as I began to feel I was welcome. Since committing to the Everest Adventure, I have also signed up to an Arctic Expedition, completed my first solo wild camp, agreed to speak at an event I love and applied to cross the Atlantic in a bouncy castle. I have attended an adventure festival by myself and am planning another, I completed a trail race, and am chatting to someone about an ultra marathon next year. I’m starting to feel proud of who I am, and that I’m doing what I really wanted.
As a result of what this adventure has done for me, I would now call myself a confident person. I don’t know if there has ever been a time I would have said that before. I still apologise too much and have some doubts but my need for approval and validation is waning. Now I have the approval of myself.
My biggest fear when we hit the hills is losing my positive mentality because it’s so tough. I’m worried I’ll revert to my self-deprecating ways and bring the team down. But I’m so determined not to let that happen.
I love to be comfortable, but I have made the decision that the team comes first. Whether they need my last bit of peanut butter, another few minutes rest when breakfast needs making, or a barrage of support and positivity, I’m going to do everything I can to put their needs before mine.
This is it. This expedition is my world right now and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.
The person writing this blog post isn’t the same person who applied for the Everest Adventure. I’m going into this fighting fit, mentally tough and ready for anything. Bring it.
Seanna works full time for an international medical NGO in the fundraising team, a job which she loves. Outside of work she dabbles in different interests from boxing, yoga to spanish lessons. But her real passion is adventure!