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Being Open to New Challenges with Adventurer Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere

Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere - Model turned adventurer, walking the entire length of the Great Wall of China in 2007 & doing the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman.

After an exciting career as a model, Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere left behind that life for one full of adventures. Giving new challenges a chance has allowed Katie-Jane the incredible opportunity to walk unsupported the entire length of the Great Wall of China, cross the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, cycle across Africa on a vintage African bicycle, and so much more.

Katie-Jane shared her incredible story with Tough Girl and illustrated how being open to new challenges and stepping outside of your comfort zone can lead to a life full of passion and wonder.

Let Go of Excuses

On a holiday in the French Alps, Katie-Jane met a Polar Explorer called Tarka who persistently asked her to walk to the North Pole. While the idea seemed ridiculous at first, Katie-Jane realised she had no reason to think she couldn’t do it. Katie-Jane decided she should at least start with something easier than the North Pole and suggested they instead walk the Great Wall of China. And so her adventures began!

Katie-Jane realised she had no excuses and set off on an incredible adventure. What’s holding you back from trying a new challenge? Ask yourself what your excuses are and if they really stand up.

Have No Plan

Not having a focused plan for her life has enabled Katie-Jane to be more open to new opportunities. She shared, “If you’re not so channelled, you can take advantage of whatever might appear.” This is part of the secret to being open. Doing random things doesn’t seem all that random when you don’t have a rigid plan.

Is your propensity to plan keeping you from doing something truly extraordinary? What would happen if you let go a little bit? Often times the best adventures will simply come your way all on their own and you just have to say yes.

Practice Persevering

Walking the Great Wall of China was no easy feat. Katie-Jane faced dehydration and gastroenteritis, eventually having to be rescued. Then there was the biggest snowstorm China had ever seen, the compression of several inches of her spine, and days of not eating a thing.

A competitive nature is what drove Katie-Jane to keep going. While you might not believe it, Katie-Jane admits to being lazy by nature and finds that she needs to be pushed. During her walk on the Great Wall, Katie-Jane found that support from her partner and the charitable aspect of their adventure also helped her persevere. Even though she cried every day, comments from families of the Make a Wish Foundation reminded Katie-Jane why she was there and what she was doing.

In the end, Katie-Jane much prefers the person she became after she finished the adventure to the one who started. All it takes to get there is a little perseverance. Before taking on a new challenge, reflect on your own personality and think about what will help you persevere.

Know When to Say No

A later adventure Katie-Jane embarked on was an unsupported trek across the Southern Patagonia ice cap. With no mountaineering experience and a fear of snow and ice, it was as close to Hell on Earth as Katie-Jane could get. In 35 days, she saw the sky only 3 times, fell down numerous crevasses, and got carbon monoxide poisoning.

With this experience, Katie-Jane realised there are some challenges she doesn’t love enough to do. While you may love adventure, there are some things you can say no to. Katie commented, “You don’t have to be superhuman and pretend you can do everything.”

Follow What Calls to You

Desperate for another adventure, Katie-Jane signed up for a Transcontinental bike race in Europe. In this unsupported race, you rest and sleep whenever you need and race 200 other people across the continent. Although she signed up by herself, concerned family convinced Katie-Jane to find someone to ride with and she set off with a more experienced cyclist. Although she had little experience herself, this race called to Katie-Jane’s adventurous heart and set her down an exciting new path.

In 2018, Katie-Jane plans to embark on the Silk Road Mountain Race, an unsupported bike race in Kyrgyzstan. She’s most excited that it’s going to be more about decision-making and looking out for yourself rather than just how well you can ride a bike. Because of this, it feels more like an expedition than a bike race, which is what Katie-Jane truly loves.

With every challenge you take on, another one will come and each time you’ll know yourself and your abilities a little bit better.

Choose Hard Things

Want to live a more adventurous life? Katie-Jane says that the feeling of accomplishment is directly proportional to how hard you work. If something seems too easy, dream bigger. In her world, routine is the enemy. She’s always doing different things and changing things up. Katie-Jane said, “Cram in as much excitement, intensity, and adventure as you can to get the most out of life. It makes you smile and that’s why you do it.”


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