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Melissa Harlow - Embracing Life's Adventures at 62

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Melissa in her own words:

“After connecting with my now husband on 20 years ago, we realized we had one key difference: he wanted a partner to ‘Sail around the world’. I, on the other hand, wasn't an adventurer. I was a professional woman with a degree in Psychology, dedicated to non-profit work and healthcare.

But my husband ignited a desire in me to embrace life's adventures while we were still healthy. The turning point came when he asked, ‘When are you going to quit your job and sail around the world with me?’

Despite my initial fears and attachments, I couldn't ignore the call to live life to the fullest. We set sail across the Pacific Ocean, and it changed me profoundly.

We continued our adventures by buying an RV and exploring the US, Canada, and Alaska, much to the surprise of our family.

These experiences made me resilient and fearless.

Returning from a sailing journey and hiking the John Muir Trail at age 62, I realized that the world was full of opportunities.

I see people looking at me differently now, sensing my quiet confidence. My adventure started late, but it's proof that life-changing decisions can happen at any age. The question remains: “Do it now or not?””

*Content Warning: This episode contains an instance of strong/abusive language that some listeners may find offensive.


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Show notes

  • Who is Melissa

  • Living is San Diego, California

  • Not being born into an adventurous family

  • Her early years and feeling connected to her dad (who died when she was 4)

  • Meeting her husband on about 18 years ago

  • Blending 2 families together

  • After 10 years of marriage starting to discuss the sailing adventure

  • Being a career girl and not focused on adventure

  • Not having passion in her life

  • Doing little adventures but not committing to the big adventure of sailing around the world

  • Waiting for the kids to go to college

  • Making the commitment and putting a plan in place

  • Getting the boat and needing to learn new skills

  • Having a 5 year plan and changing everything about their life

  • Not spending more that $25 unless speaking to another person

  • Working as a team in a partnership

  • Having garage sales, saving money and making it happen

  • Starting to change and starting to get excited about the future adventure

  • Being called ‘Captain B*tch Slap’

  • Being a forgiving person

  • Proving people wrong

  • Noticing her confidence changing

  • Dealing with tangled anchors while a storm is rolling in

  • Stats from the trip - the boat (Island Packet 37)

  • Starting in San Diego and sailing down to Mexico

  • Stopping to take a 1,000 mile car tour throughout Mexico

  • Pacific Puddle Jump from America’s to French Polynesia

  • Feeling done with sailing after 11 months and wanting to go home

  • The challenges of getting the boat back from Hawaii to San Diego

  • The dream vs reality

  • Magical moments while out sailing and the challenges while being out on the water

  • Spending time on remote beautiful islands - the instagram moments

  • When the autopilot stopped working and having to steer the boat in 2 hour shifts for 24/7.

  • Deciding what to do next and wanting to sell the boat, take the money and buy an RV and travel around the US, up through Canada and head up to the wilds of Alaska

  • The challenges of RV Life and wanting to do ‘Boondocking’

  • Feeling numb after traveling and feeling lost

  • Having therapy and starting to feel again

  • Getting into voice overs and having a way to start earning an income again

  • Learning to appreciate the little moments and the free moments

  • Being done with the corporate world and being a different person

  • Choosing to live a simple life and having more money than before, even though they’re earning less

  • Renting out the RV

  • Deciding to hike the John Muir Trail (211 miles)

  • Planning and testing out all the gear

  • Why it was one of the toughest things she’s ever done

  • Climbing Mt Whitney and the challenges with the elevation gain and loss

  • Trying to get equipment and gear to fit her height at 4′ 11″ / 150 cm

  • Ending up with an Osprey EJA 58

  • Trying to find trainers and shoes to fit

  • Watch the videos from the Pacific Ocean on YouTube

  • Final words of advice

  • Why you need to take an honest look at yourself and where you are in your life

  • Why you need to make a plan and get into the details

  • Give yourself little mini milestones to work towards

  • Start by putting your plan down on paper


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