After joining Love Her Wild on the Paddle Pickup expedition, Megan Hoskin felt inspired and ready to take on her own big challenge. Teaming up with Siriol (who she also met on Paddle Pickup) they launched Dare Two Do and formed a plan to take on a world first, fighting plastic pollution along the way.
Name: Megan Hoskin
Home: A Leafy South London hideaway
Environment I like the most: Mountains and Ocean! Places where jagged peaks glide down to touch the waves are my paradise.
Best place I’ve visited: Nepal. An immersion in incredible landscapes, cultures, and wonderful people.
Fav adventure: The ones you can squeeze in anytime, anywhere, like an overnight micro-adventure watching the sunset from a hillside in a bivvy.
Dream adventure: A polar expedition.
Can’t go on an adventure without? A buff, a sheepee and a stash of Haribo!
Tell us a bit about you
I grew up in the Oxfordshire countryside, with fields and rivers ready for exploring. By the time I hit University I’d discovered a fascination with places, people and cultures outside my own, and so studied a World Music degree. Throughout, a shift in myself from shy to yes person led me through a series of opportunities and to the world of banking. I loved the global focus and multi-cultural environment, but I am now taking my skills in managing businesses and repurposing them towards adventure and causes close to my heart.
Have you always had an adventurous streak in you?
I was always outdoorsy, sporty and a perhaps a little rebellious. An expedition to Borneo in my teens jungle trekking, climbing Kinabalu & teaching incredible kids in a remote school ignited my passion for adventure & adventuring with purpose. I set my sights high from that point and it’s led me to some awe-inspiring places and peaks across the great mountain ranges of the world.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
An expedition to Mera Peak in 2015 was a life-changing adventure. Truly off the beaten track with hostile conditions and deep snow closing the route behind us, we barely saw another team for 3 weeks. Despite the daily battle with the elements, it was a magical privilege to have this stunning side of the Himalayas to ourselves. We were incredibly fortunate that we were returning to Lukla already when the earthquake struck. The ensuing days showed me so much about the resilience and positivity of people, and the strength of pulling together as a team, as a community. It’s an experience that drives me today, to want to do my small part in making a positive impact in any way possible.
You recently quit your job in banking, why?
Fresh air, being active and working towards a bigger, real-world goal are what make me feel alive. I value experiences over “things” any day, and whilst I’m grateful for every opportunity I have had, a corporate glass box just couldn’t provide the soul-sustaining stuff I needed.
What made you join the Paddle Pickup expedition team?
One day inexplicably I felt a pull towards the water. Bex Band had answered my adventure community shout out for inspiration! Inspired I was, and excited to join forces with awesome women undertaking a great challenge for an even greater cause.
What was the best and worst parts of the expedition?
I joined the expedition for the challenge of a 100km paddle, and to have a giggle with likeminded women along the way whilst adventuring with a purpose to highlight the plastic pollution problem. I left having made irreplaceable memories, gained a real passion for the cause, and forged fantastic new friendships. The highlights are too many to note. Though seeing the community spirit in action, and gratefully enjoying the croissants, cookies and even a hot tub offered to us by new found supporters was incredible.
The worst, well it’s a piece of advice I would give to my 10-year-old self – see my thoughts on that at the end of the interview!
How did the idea for Dare to Do come about?
During Paddle Pickup, Siriol and I were tent mates and hit it off straight away. After that, we continued our animated discussions of all things adventure-related and met up for the Shextreme/WAExpo weekend in Bristol. This provided the oomph we needed to form our adventure team. It occurred to us that we didn’t know of any all-female adventure teams and that largely, adventurers stand alone. So we thought that Dare Two Do would be a pretty unique concept.
What is your first ‘grand’ expedition going to be?
A world first, never previously attempted, and a true urban adventure with purpose! “Grand” will see us Packraft the length of the Grand Union Canal, negotiating 250km of waterways and over 150 locks. A highly challenging physical feat, to be undertaken in January, the harshest of conditions.
“But why?” is the question we’re often asked! Because our primary purpose is to raise awareness of the issues relating to, and more importantly, to promote proactive and achievable solutions to, the Plastic Pollution problem. Dare Two Do are proud to be partnering with City to Sea on this expedition, a non-profit organisation running campaigns to prevent marine plastic pollution at source. By engaging communities, working with retailers and lobbying manufacturers and government, City to Sea are reversing the trend for disposable items in order to safeguard our seas for the future.
On expedition we’ll be championing the awesome Refill Initiative, and promoting sign up to the brilliant Refill App. We’ll also be clearing plastic as we go, and recording findings in support of the City to Sea Unflushables campaign. The unique concept and physical challenge of the expedition will provide us with a greater platform from which to engage people with these fantastic campaigns, and the simple solutions we can each easily implement within our day to day lives, yet make a huge impact on our waterways!
Are you excited? Nervous?
We are very very excited indeed. It’s going to be fabulous! We are not nervous at all either, it’s going to be a laugh. Motivation, determination, and humour are very much the team approach!
What logistics have gone into putting this together?
We both like to keep ourselves fit all the time so we’re not doing any specific training outside our usual fitness regimes and active lifestyles. The logistics, however, have been a near vertical learning curve! From endlessly pouring over maps and resources as to the feasibility and accessibility of over 250km and 200 individual features potentially requiring portage or 2km of pitch black underground paddling, to securing the support of our wonderful charity partners City to Sea, and the fantastic Backcountry (the UK’s official Alpacka Raft dealer, and packrafting/ bikepacking supremos) without whom we would be swimming rather than rafting the distance! We’ve been really lucky to have been met with great encouragement and backing from all sides.
How are you and Siriol working together?
We work really well as a unit and have lots of complementary skills to draw upon between us, so we divvy things up as and when. It’s all pretty democratic.
What are your motivations?
We didn’t want to just be people pursuing records and whatnot. What drives us is, of course, adventure, but moreover, it’s raising awareness of issues which are important to us. That’s how we both ended up on Paddle Pickup, after all. So our first adventure and each one thereafter will aim to highlight and further a cause, and there are many close to our hearts which drive us.
What’s next for you now you have quit your job, are you looking for another one?
Dare Two Do is the main focus at the moment, and we’re so excited, thankful and pleased with the headway we’re making. It’s a very hard worked for but none the less luxury to be able to take the plunge and follow your dreams. We know this, very much appreciate it, and will be doing everything we can to make a difference and give back to everyone who supports us, and everything we support.
**even if everyday it’s the same dubious discount store veg curry ration pack (Siriol), or cold, congealed, unboiled-in-the-bag pouch of rice and beans (Megan), as per Paddle Pickup!
What would your advice be to your 10 year old self?
Dare to be different, dare to do whatever it is that is uniquely you. I’d love to have known that not being the best at something doesn’t mean you can’t get immense enjoyment and satisfaction from it. I’d tell myself to remember that doing something, no matter how small, makes a difference.
I’d also say, when you’re 33 and on paddle pickup, don’t overzealously reach for the river detritus before you’ve had a chance to grab your marigolds – Thames tummy is a real thing!
In early 2016 Bex Band quit her teaching job to set out on her first big adventure, hiking 1000km the length of Israel. Adventure is now her life and work! As well as running Love Her Wild, she also offers advice and inspiration through her blog, the Ordinary Adventurer.