A massive thank you to Rachel Goddard for writing this blog piece about Felicity Aston.
Felicity is a polar explorer, a scientist, a Guinness world record holder, received the Queen’s polar medal and has an MBE.
But as amazing as these achievements are, that’s not why I am so inspired listening to Felicity Aston.
She was one of the first female explorers I found out about, following her journey across Antarctica in 2011 and hearing her talk in 2013 and now with this podcast episode.
Unlike many films or talks I see about male adventurers, Felicity’s main message, is about the emotional and mental side of her adventure. At that point, and to some extent still now, people don’t talk about that, certainly not discussing their fears.
So often I feel the messages from (some) adventurers (usually male) are about how amazing they are, how dangerous it was, how much (or little) they prepared physically. I’ve found this can distance me from what they are doing, that it’s not achievable or something I’d be interested it.
However with Felicity (and many of the Tough Girl Podcast interviews) it’s more about how she prepared mentally, how she felt on the ice, the battles she had emotionally.
It means you can relate to it, and the adventure more, even feel like it might be something you could do!
It was really interesting to hear about how she developed mental hygiene routines; just as she had routines to sort out her kit, she had routines to check in with herself emotionally and work out how she was feeling.
She talks about how this was just as important to her success. She really learnt to celebrate successes, however small and she talks about how to translate this in ‘real’ life.
This means she learnt to break the challenge down, sometimes even to the level of just thinking about the next 100 steps. The message that resonated with me hearing her talk in 2013, which she repeats in the podcast, is "keep getting out of the tent”. It’s become one of my mantras and it’s the message she put when signing my copy of one of her books.
So, have a listen, I hope you’ll be inspired, motivated, but also entertained.
Along with being really motivational, she also has a lot of funny tales (like nearly forgetting it’s not socially acceptable to just pull down your trousers and go to the loo in public) and beautiful descriptions of the amazing places she has been.
Felicity is passionate about the polar regions and even if you don’t like the cold (she has some tips about keeping warm), I’m fairly sure this will inspire you to want to know more!