Recently I have been feeling so motivated about my upcoming challenges, with a yearning to push my adventure limits further and further. I owe a huge amount of this drive to the people I surround myself with, both online and in real life. I took some time away from social media to focus on my mental health, but I’m getting slowly back on board with it, and am finding some of the adventure communities hugely motivational.
The notion of ‘tribes’ seems to be very popular of late. All kinds of digital influencers, from YouTubers to business owners to bloggers, are using this term to identify the people they surround themselves with who are on the same wavelength.
I can’t pretend I don’t cringe a little bit when I hear this word, but when think more carefully about the idea, it’s fantastic that anyone in this day and age can find people they identify with at the click of a button.
As I reintegrate myself with the world of Twitter and Facebook (I haven’t reactivated my Instagram yet but that’s next), I have found a few Tribes that inspire me to live a bit more of my authentic life. These communities are full of people with whom I can celebrate my successes, brainstorm adventures, listen to and learn from, and in some cases, share in life changing challenges.
The internet is a huge and marvellous (albeit sometimes overwhelming) place. Whatever your niche, whatever you weird and wonderful interest, whatever area you want to find a community to be inspired by and held accountable by, it will be there.
For me, it’s adventure and travel, but whether you’re a fashion and beauty fanatic, a performer, a sports nut, a personal development enthusiast, a yogi, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, a poet…whatever you are, there’s a tribe for you.
So who are my tribes – the communities I identify with that make me ask myself how I can achieve my wildest dreams?
Love Her Wild
Love Her Wild is by far and away my favourite online community. Run by Bex Band, who also blogs at The Ordinary Adventurer, this is an all-female group who are quickly feeling like friends. There is an interactive Facebook group – a place where women can share stories of adventure, ask for advice and find pals to join them on their escapades. From mums sharing photos of their first ever wild camp with their kids to seasoned athletes discussing tips for trail running, it’s a really positive, supportive space.
The adventure world is largely dominated by men and there are a lot of egos flying around. In an all-female group, talking about how to manage periods in remote jungle or Arctic cold isn’t a taboo, and no one is going to get judged for choosing to wear make up on their hike. A huge topic of discussion is also outdoor gear for women – brands think we all want to wear pink and purple. Women’s gear tends to be casual and aimed at relaxing around a campfire, unlike men’s clothing which is technical, useful, and made for battling the elements. We want to change that.
Love Her Wild has also just started an adventure book club, which has injected some further inspiration into my life, in the form of ‘Four Mums in a Boat’ – the story of four Yorkshire Mums who decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean, which members will be discussing online.
The real crux of what Love Her Wild has done for me though? It is Bex, and this community who have brought me to my upcoming plans on The Everest Adventure in the Lake District, and a ski expedition in Arctic Norway. You can read more about these and the challenges that go alongside here.
The community has offered me opportunities and I have seized them. As a result of Love Her Wild, I’m improving my fitness, working towards goals and growing in confidence. I’m feeling like my life is more in balance – I have things I’m excited about in my personal life, and as a result I’m pushing myself more at work. I’m working on my mental strength as well as physical and I’m investing in my spiritual wellbeing too.
When someone posts in the Facebook group, or a new post goes on the website, I feel genuinely excited. This is a community that makes me want to give back. I have taken a lot from the wonderful women who inhabit that corner of the internet, and I want to offer anything I can in return.
Love Her Wild is a very special space and I would encourage any woman who likes the sound of it to have a look.
Tough Girl Challenges
Another community for adventurous women, Tough Girl Challenges runs the best podcast on the internet (in my humble opinion). Host Sarah Williams interviews women who have undertaking jaw dropping challenges.
The focus is largely on feats of endurance, from Ironman achievements to ultramarathons to cycling around the world. Sarah asks thought provoking questions, giving the listener a real insight into what it’s like to run the length of Kyrgyzstan, be a Paralympic sailor or ride horses across Mongolia.
Of course, Sarah herself is a real guru when it comes to adventure. She has completed the infamous Marathon Des Sables and is currently thru hiking the Appalachian trail in 100 days.
The podcasts celebrate the achievements of exceptional women that are so often overlooked. Women receive only a tiny fraction of the funding when it comes to adventure grants, but listening to the Tough Girl podcasts shows us what is possible.
I like to whack an inspirational interview on when I have an admin-heavy, repetitive task at work, or alternatively when I’m beasting a workout at the gym. Hearing what these remarkable women have achieved makes me go harder at the things I want to achieve.
There is also a Facebook group, where women ask questions and share advice on anything from nutrition for multi-day ultramarathons to where the UK’s best climbing spots are. In the community, there are women who have done some extraordinary things, but I have never once seen any judgement of newbies. Someone who has swum the English Channel will happily give advice and support to someone who is just learning to swim.
The Yes Tribe
Adventurer Dave Cornthwaite is responsible for this exciting movement, inviting us all to Say Yes More. The notion that the magic happens when we say Yes to things that are out of our comfort zone isn’t a new one, but Dave has built a community around it.
They run regular group camp outs, where a bunch of strangers and their bivvy bags sleep wild together, quickly becoming friends.
Dave also runs, a festival, aptly named Yestival, which I have nabbed my ticket for and am pretty excited about. On the testimonies, it was described as ‘a positive mental asylum’ which is my kind of space!
Then there is Yes Stories, an evening held upstairs in a pub where people present on their adventures and the magic that has come from saying Yes. I recently attended my first one, and made it my mission to speak at one of them after The Everest Adventure in the Lake District.
The Yes Tribe’s current project, and a big one at that, is The Yes Bus. This is a converted double decker bus in a field, that will be a co-working space, a place for talks, films, education, yoga – just about anything you can think of achieving in a bus in a field.
As someone fighting an ongoing battle with my comfort zone, I love embracing the power of yes.
The Edward Thomas Appreciation Society
This is my ‘in real life’ community. Affectionately named ETAS, we’re four firm friends taking on walks in different spots accessible from London. You can read more about my gal pals and the inception of ETAS here.
So since a failed trip to the Lake District (I’ve still never been), we have tried to get out on a walk around once a month. We have explored the North and South Downs, the Chiltern Hills, Salisbury and Amesbury, Cheddar Gorge, the beaches of Margate and Broadstairs and even done a lovely canal side walk around Tottenham Hale.
Our walks are highly unpressured, and involve a lot of faffing and discussing when our next picnic/pub/café stop will be.
We take it in turns to plan the walks, but we all chip in, and rarely seem to complete the actual route we set out to do. The important thing is time with our dearest friends.
Therapeutic discussions will always take place. From venting about career challenges to concerns with romance to just picking apart what is going on with our mental health, we listen to each other and explore life’s questions, while absorbing the natural world around us.
ETAS is friendship in its truest most wonderful form, aided by trees, paths and perfect views. After years of feeling frustrated because chats with friends only seemed to happen over pints and in crowded bars, I have found the kind of socialising I was always meant to do. Just over a month ago, I decided to quit drink, hopefully permanently, so it’s a huge relief to know my social safe space is outdoors.
So these are my key tribes – the places that I feel accepted and free to be the best version of myself. Do you have a tribe, or a community that makes you feel this way? I’d love to hear them!