In 2017, Fiona Quinn walked and cycled the length of Great Britain solo. This year, she’s setting a goal to break a new world record by becoming the first person to SUP Britain. Fiona is an adventurer, speaker, and entrepreneur showing the world what life can be like when you design it for yourself.
In a chat on the Tough Girl Podcast, Fiona shared how an entrepreneurial spirit leads to a unique life of adventure. For those with a strong will and a desire to be the leader of their own life, Fiona sets a standard for making that possible in work and play.
Explore Your Career Path
Fiona always wanted to run her own business and direct her life as she saw fit. With a plan to learn the ropes in corporate, Fiona got a job right out of University and immediately hated it. Dealing with a four hour commute to London round trip wasn’t something Fiona could live with so six weeks later she quit and started setting up her first business.
With few responsibilities, Fiona decided to give starting a business a go while also working a full-time research position in the area of her studies. Even though her first business was a failure, Fiona learned a lot about the kinds of things she wanted to do and what she didn’t. From there she’s had other successes and failures in business that ultimately led her to where she is today.
Fiona’s story is one of self-exploration and a journey to finding what fit right. Forcing yourself to fit into a corporate setting doesn’t always work. By stepping out and finding calculated ways to take risks, you can find what you’re truly meant to do.
Design Your Own Adventure
In 2014, Fiona was struck by the idea of micro-adventures and that began her exploration of the outdoors. Loving the freedom of adventure, forays into cycling and micro-adventures led Fiona to eventually develop her own adventures.
“If you’re doing a set challenge, you don’t have same autonomy,” Fiona related. Doing an adventure on your own gives you more self-development. When you’re struggling at something but you’re in the middle, you have to keep going forward and you learn so much from that.”
Fiona reminds us that expeditions don’t have to be major. Dip your toe in the water or dive right in, it’s up to you.
Gain Confidence and Grow
As Fiona spent more and more time cycling, her confidence really began to grow. In the beginning, she had to learn how the brakes worked and what to do with a puncture. As she learned the ins and outs of cycling, Fiona gained confidence to do something bigger.
Fiona later made up her first real adventure to cycle home for Christmas 80 miles from London. While she didn’t make it because of a storm, Fiona navigated on her own for the first time and gathered loads of learning. Next, Fiona made up her own triathlon. Cycling was easy, but running or swimming weren’t really her thing. Instead, Fiona decided to walk, cycle, and SUP. Finally, in 2016 she was ready for something really big. Fiona decided to go on a great British adventure cycling 1,000+ miles.
Looking at the progression of Fiona’s adventures shows us just how beneficial it can be to start out small and slowly increase our level of adventure. For those who enjoy the challenge of mastery and enjoy taking on more and more, this can be a fantastic way to plan expeditions.
Mind Your Mindset
On one of the biggest mileage days of her Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling adventure, Fiona faced her foremost challenge. While in a remotish region, a horrible storm came and Fiona had to push her bike up a hill that was too steep to ride in the rain for half an hour. Miserable, cold, and lonely, Fiona craved somewhere to stop and get help but there was no such place nearby.
She simply had to keep pushing through and cycle in the rain. Looking back, Fiona is glad she did this adventure because she learned that she can keep going and achieve more than she thought possible. Fiona did the ride again in 2017 and made it all the way through. She said, “It’s easy to view things as failure, but it’s more of a failure to have not started.”
The idea that how you feel about stuff affects the outcome is heightened on an adventure, according to Fiona. You can make yourself feel like rubbish if you’re thinking that way. But if you’re really positive and looking for little things, it helps you move forward. The energy you put out is what you get back.
Navigating Adventure and Social Media
Fiona met loads of fellow adventurers through Instagram and then in real life through her expeditions, showing us just how positively social media can be used. Fiona related that when you travel solo, you get to meet so many people and that’s one of the best parts. In fact, during one adventure, two people found her on Instagram and brought her cake. It’s small gestures like this that take Fiona’s adventures to a whole new level of wonder.
While on an adventure, Fiona tries to digital detox as much as she can. She focuses on thinking, absorbing the environment, and talking to people. While on your next adventure, think about interacting with those around you and spending time with your thoughts and see just what happens.
Listen to Fiona on the Tough Girl Podcast
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