Nicola Hardy worked in IT in South Yorkshire for a decade before diving into freelance life as an adventurer and outdoor writer in 2019. She began by climbing all 282 of Scotland's Munros and - after her plans to hike 3000km in New Zealand were scuppered by Covid - she continued adventuring closer to home.
In 2020 she walked 330km from her birthplace in Sheffield to her new home in Cockermouth, Cumbria, journeying on foot across three national parks; and in 2021 she climbed all 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District over seven long weekends, a quirky book-by-book peak-bagging adventure.
Nic in her own words:
“I'm basically half IT organised spreadsheet nerd and half outdoor adventure loving hiker. I've taken a series of steps over the last 5 years to make my life as outdoorsy and adventurous as possible. I quit my job and sold my house in April 2019 and had 6 months of Scottish hill walking adventure, since then I've dabbled in route writing, gear reviewing, festival speaking, outdoor magazine/website writing whilst spending as much time outdoors around all that as I can.
I also now work a 2-day a week job to keep regular income coming in whilst doing my freelance work and adventuring around that. Flipping the 5-day working week on its head and ensuring my love for the outdoors doesn't become stressful due to the need to focus constantly on monetising it.”
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Who is Nicola Hardy?
Getting into the outdoors 5 years ago
Being inspired by her parents to be active
Growing up in Sheffield
Falling in and out of love with running
Reaching her early 30s in a senior management role
Living to work
Making changes to her life in 2016
Planning some walks in the Peak District
Spending more time in the outdoors in 2017
Wanting to go higher, further and to really challenge herself
Making a commitment to spending time outdoors
Deciding to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro and getting a team together
Having 100 followers on Instagram
Meeting her partner James though an IG meet up
Peak Bagging and getting to explore more of the Lake District
Enjoying the planning of routes
Wanting to do more but being held back by work commitments
Making big changes to her life
Selling her house and quitting her job
Wanting to make a full time living from Adventure
How she approached the first few months
Planning to hike all 282 munros in Scotland in a 6 months period
Wanting to try a thru-hike
Not looking after herself when it came to nutrition
Wanting to have a healthy work life balance
Going tunnel vision on a task
Wanting to leave a legacy and to show people they can make brave choices
Connecting with adventurers through instagram