Challenges Ideas for Sarah 2020


Challenge Ideas for 2020

Over the past few years, I have tried to undertake one challenge each year that helps me to step outside my comfort zone. I do this for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I love it and get a huge amount of personal satisfaction from doing an endurance based, travel challenge.

Secondly, I get to share this journey with others, to show them how I did, what the challenges were along the way and what I’ve learnt.

Thirdly, my mission with Tough Girl Challenges is to motivate and inspire women and girls, it’s to increase the amount of female role models in the media. This is something I’m very passionate about.

I can’t go around talking about challenge and adventure, and stepping outside your comfort zone when I’m not. If I’m talking the talk, I have to be able to walk the walk.

Here are the challenges I’ve done over the past few years:

*This hike was sponsored by Cicerone Press

** This hike was sponsored by Komoot & WaterWell.

At the start of 2020 I’ve got a number of smaller challenges planned.

In February I’m going off to hike the Overland Track in Tasmania, this will take 8 days and I’m working with Cicerone to help them to launch their new guidebook.

I’m also planning another hike in May doing the West Highland Way in Scotland.

From June onwards I have no plans….

I have a massive list of challenges I’d like to do - Sail a leg of the Clipper Yacht Race, Hike the PCT, Cycle Across Europe, Cycle Across America, Hike in New Zealand, etc, etc, etc….. and I would love to do them all, but I am struggling to decide on what I want to do and then commit to doing it!!

Instead, what I though would be awesome and really interesting would be to reach out to my community and ask them what would they like to see me do! Which is what I did....

I shared this…. in the closed FB Group The Tough Girl Tribe and with my Patrons.

*** Challenge Ideas for Sarah 2020 ***

Tribe, I have so many ideas of challenges and adventures that I want to go on and I’m stuck about what to do next! As I’d love to give them all ago.

One of the key things for me has been sharing the journey from start to finish and I want to continue to do that. I think it’s a very powerful way to demonstrate the steps that were taken to complete the challenge and show everyone what goes on to make it happen.

Is there a particular challenge/journey that you would like me to do, and to share, so that you can follow along?

Here are some ideas I’ve had and would love for you to vote or to suggest your own!

All ideas welcome!!! I’m excited to see what you come up with!!!

Added in no particular order..... I'm looking at June onwards of 2020….

I suggested these 7 challenges

  • Cycle Across Europe - Velo6

  • Hike the Te Araroa Trail (New Zealand)

  • Swim the English Channel (my bro’s idea)

  • Cycle across America (LA - Florida)

  • LEJOG

  • Hike the Pacific Crest Trail (West Coast America)

  • Hike the Camino Frances - The French Way

These 2 were suggested by community members.

  • The Spine - winter run of the Pennine Way

  • Cycle across Canada

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I found the results and comments really interesting.

The top 3 challenges as voted for by my community.

  1. Cycle Across Europe Velo 6

  2. Hike the Te Araroa Trail (New Zealand)

  3. Swim the English Channel

I’m going to take each of these challenges and just brain storm a little more about how I could make them happen....

My main considerations for all challenge :

How can I ensure that the Tough Girl Podcast continues to come out while I’m doing challenges.

What I’ve done so far is to preload podcast episodes to come out while I’ve been on the road and this does work, and I can make it work for probably 4 months at a time. But this is a huge amount of work I need to get done in advance and it’s very full on and I probably need about 2/3 months to make this happen.

This also limits me to only doing Tough Girl Podcast episodes (which come out on a Tuesday) and not doing the catch up episodes for Tough Girl Extra (which come out on a Thursday), as it would not be possible to produce this much content, unless I was able to hire a podcast editor. But at the volume of episodes I produce it would not be financially viable.

Manage the behind the scenes of Tough Girl Challenges

On boarding new patrons, dealing with e-mails, FB groups, website links, dealing with issues etc. I can do a lot through my phone, but it is easier to have a laptop and good wifi.

As I have limited funds, and don’t pay for marketing. I need to do all the sharing, posting and engaging on social media which is a must when you are trying to grow your business and to spread awareness.

I have started to work with a VA, but this costs money, so I have to manage the budget very careful and at the moment this is just a few hours per week. There could be an opportunity to grow this role more, which would help to take some of the pressure off me and give me more time back.

The costs involved of getting to and from the challenge.

Challenges in UK and Europe are a lot easier as I can use my phone and phone data, flights aren’t as expensive and insurance is easier to get, plus if something goes wrong it’s a lot easier to get home from Europe than it is from the middle of the Mexican desert for example.

I’m in a fortunate position that I basically have 2 ‘homes’ - I live with my parents when I’m in the UK, and I live with my brother and his family when I’m in Australia (both rent & food free).

With this, I can look for challenges in the UK and close to the UK and I can also look for challenges close to Australia (e.g. This is why I’m able to walk the Overland Track in Tasmania as it’s only an hour flight away from Melbourne).

Sharing the journey

There are so many different aspects involved, from recording vlog footage daily, creating videos, editing the videos, sharing on social media, doing instagram stories etc.

One of the biggest issues I had with the Appalachian Trail was sharing it while I was dong the challenge. I wasn’t great at doing daily instagram updates or blogging as I went along.

I did film each day, but the issue was getting wifi and being in a location for long enough to get the vlog footage from my go pro to my camera and uploaded to dropbox so an editor could edit it.

It was a nightmare and a real logistically challenge. I had finished the trail on 10th September and the vlogs were coming out in late December.

I managed to vlog on the Camino and have 3 videos coming out each week while I was walking, I also carried my laptop with me.

The Lycian Way was different again, as it was so much more remote, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to edit while I was on the hike and I didn’t want to take my laptop with me. I knew I would be editing the vlogs when I came back. That’s 25 vlogs do edit - which is a huge amount of work and took me pretty much the whole month of January to do and that was working on it daily.

While hiking the Overland Track, I won’t have my laptop with me and I know that I will be editing and sharing the vlogs when I come back in February.

It is possible to manage the vlogging, and every challenge is different. e.g. it’s a lot easier to take my lap top with me when I’m cycling as weight isn’t such a big factor, but not so easy when I'm trying to be lightweight and move fast.

I'm also a lot more efficient and had more experience of doing this now and have hopefully got better at it!

Tracking

For the longer trips and the more remote trips I would like to get a spot tracker as it does add an element of support and gives my family comfort when I’m away.

There are monthly costs involved with the spot tracker and I do need to look at this as an investment.

I was very fortunate to borrow a spot tracker from a friend when I cycled in America and Mexico and it was a great to have it and to know that people knew where I was. I would like to have this in New Zealand and Europe.

Gear

I need to replace some of my dry sacks as they are started to get holes in.

I would like a warmer sleeping bag (mine is great for the desert - but not more normal conditions and I sleep very cold).

I do need to get a warmer puffy - one that can also get wet.

I do go through trainers pretty quickly. But I make do.

I can put duct tape on my dry sacks and they will last a few more trips. I can wear more layers to keep warm - I do need to invest in some merino wool layers at some point.

The thing is, this isn’t a reason to stop me from going on adventures. I will get to replacing/upgrading at some point and I also hope to be able to get some gear via sponsorship e.g. Osprey sponsored my last backpack for the Camino Portuguese which was great.

I probably need to reach out to some more companies to get these final items! It's on my long list of things to do.

Fitness

With a lot of the longer challenges, you can build up your fitness as your go. So for me it's more important to be strong and to just have a good base fitness which I can build on.

I did have some issues with my left knee and lazy glutes but these are pretty much sorted now. However, as my right hip flexor has been compensating for my weak left side, I do need to work on my right hip flexor as it's starting to play up.

Cycling would be a lot easier on my body than hiking, especially if I wanted to hike the TA trail in 100 days.

I though it would be useful for me to break down my thought process and how I could make each of the challenges work.

Cycle Across Europe Velo 6

First challenge....I don’t have my own bike. (I do have a bike 200 miles north of LA in America!)

I have my dad’s old bike which I had re done up while I was doing training for the PCH in 2018. It’s a 90s bike, it’s not the best, its rusty and very heavy. But it’s still a bike I can use. Especially when I don’t want to spend money I don’t have.

Options:

  • I have 2 panniers for a bike rack (but I don’t have a bike rack). So option 1 would be to buy a bike rack and have that added to my bike. (Cost £50 approx plus £30 for labour or I could try and do it myself… could be interesting!!)

  • Option 2, would be to buy a Seat Pack (£120), Handlebar Pack (£100), and a Frame pack (£90). I like the brand Ortlieb and then not bother with the back rack.

I have most of the equipment I need for hiking challenge and most of it will work for cycling as well. the other thing I would like to do before I go on a cycle trip would be to do a bike maintenance course - approx £200. As I really don't have a clue (even though I've cycled over 4,000 km!)

When?

I love the heat, and the sunshine, so the best time of the year for me to cycle across Europe would be during the summer months. So June - July - August - September would all work for me.

Cycling I would be able to make use of Warmshowers - which will also save me money on accommodation and an evening meal, and maybe even breakfast and lunch or too. I can wild camp to keep accommodation costs down. <