top of page

5 Ways to Make the Most of a Challenge with Anna McNuff

Fiona Quinn - walked Great Britain; 993 miles, solo and unsupported over 57 days.  (And then cycled it!)

Who better to learn about maximising your adventures from than one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, Anna McNuff? As a British born adventurer and author, Anna travels the world on long, human-powered journeys. Her adventures have included running the length of New Zealand and cycling the Andes.

Living a life of adventure and sharing all the highs and lows certainly qualifies Anna to teach us about how to get more out of every challenge we undertake whether it’s going on our first adventure, trying something new, or pushing ourselves to the next level.

1. Push Out Your Comfort Zone

One of Anna’s recent challenges was a unique social media ride across Europe. Thinking about how many of her journeys challenged her physically, Anna began to realize that there are loads of other ways to challenge yourself. Anna decided to challenge herself to explore outside of her comfort zone. Because she loves to plan, Anna settled on doing a trip where she didn’t make a plan but left things to the last minute. Her followers on social media had the power to decide whether she’d go left, right, or straight for a month.

What was it like travelling with no plan at all? “It was scary and that’s exactly why I did it,” Anna related. If you’re looking for a challenge that really changes your life, consider pushing out your comfort zone like Anna. She specifically thought about things she was uncomfortable with or hadn’t ever done before and went out to do them. Pushing out your comfort zone like this is an incredible way to learn, grow, and empower yourself.

2. Don’t Go Solo

While it’s great to do adventures on your own, it’s also easier because you can lose your cool and it won’t affect anyone. When you’re with someone else, you have to have more patience and self-awareness. For her next adventure exploring a country where she didn’t speak the language for the first time, Anna invited Faye Shepherd, a friend and fellow adventurer she’d recently met, to a 6-month cycling adventure in the Andes.

Anna’s philosophy is that if you’ve got two people together whose only intention is to do good, you’re going to make it through. The first few weeks of the challenge were spent getting used to each other, but the pair learned that the trick was to be very honest. While solo travel can be quite the experience, don’t discount the value of bringing a friend along!

3. Share the Low Points

While cycling the Andes, Anna and Faye ran into plenty of challenges. In Bolivia, for example, nutrition was a real struggle because the food was mostly bread and sugar. While they weren’t worried about putting on weight, they were simply sick of eating sugar. During a remote loop up a volcano, the cycling duo had trouble finding shops that were open to restock. They got down to having 800 calories a day which made it tough to keep going.

“You can’t help people if you pretend everything’s fine all the time,” Anna mentioned. When other people aren’t fine, they’ll simply feel abnormal because you look happy all the time. Anna makes it a point to share the low points and the challenging times in her journey. This is a vital part of supporting and encouraging others. Share your truth, all the highs and lows, so we can all learn from each other.

4. Support Your Partner

When you have a friend with you on an adventure, you want to see them blossom, Anna explained. Anna knew her partner had worries on the trip and she wanted to help her overcome some of those fears. One of these things was that her partner hated getting naked. Knowing of a place in the salt flats where people often got naked, Anna planned a little side adventure.

She pushed her friend outside of her comfort zone and the two had a terrific adventure. Anna relates that naked cycling needs to go on your bucket list because the sensation of a warm breeze passing you is so liberating. The two had so much fun in the end, even though that was something Anna’s partner was terrified to do. When you do get to go on a challenge with someone else, think about pushing your partner to face their fears too.

5. Live Like No One’s Watching

You know how some people say ‘dance like no one’s watching’? Anna believes you should live your life like no one’s watching. She’d like to tell us all to stop worrying what other people think, listen to what makes you happy and go do that.

You’re always learning and growing on adventures. You never know what you’re going to get. Appreciate every moment of your journey and focus on the exciting things ahead!


Listen Now


Learn more about Anna

Twitter: @AnnaMcNuff

Instagram: @annamcnuff


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate every month to help fund the runnings costs.



bottom of page