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Jessica Hatcher-Moore - Journalist & author living on a hillside in North Wales

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.

Jessica in her own words:

I am a British non-fiction writer living on a hillside in North Wales, where I write with candour (and, hopefully, a dash of humour) about improbable things; UFOs, the United Nations’ use of clowns to resolve conflict, and, most recently, the rigours of childbearing.

I grew up in Shropshire and, at first, dabbled with sports and adventure writing — I played international lacrosse, was one of the fastest unaffiliated runners in the 2011 London Marathon, and once cycled 5,000 miles across sub-Saharan Africa.

My career in journalism began as a reporter for the London Evening Standard’s gossip column, although I was not good at it, rarely knowing who anyone was. I moved to foreign affairs in East Africa. There, I notched up datelines (often in a flak jacket, this time) from across the continent, Bissau to Burundi, Congo to Madagascar, and met my future husband, a photojournalist, whilst covering the civil war in Somalia.

Within five years, I'd won a number of prestigious awards for my investigative features, including a Frontline Club Award, and was a regular contributor to the Guardian, TIME and Newsweek, for whom I wrote about topics including Islamic militancy, piracy, sexual violence and human trafficking.

In 2016, pining for the British countryside, I moved with my husband to Llangollen in North Wales, a decision made in part because it had the tightest contour lines we could find within an hour’s drive of a decent airport. I am now a mother to two small boys, and spent much of their formative years writing a book about motherhood – the postnatal period, to be precise – and submerging myself in the icy waters of the river Dee, which courses through the valley below our house.

Jessica’s first book - AFTER BIRTH: What nobody tells you – How to Recover Body and Mind and is available in all good book shops.

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Show notes

  • Who is Jessica and what she does

  • Being sporty at school and playing Lacrosse for Wales

  • Being good at running, but putting too much pressure on herself

  • Deciding to flee London and heading to Africa

  • Partying, getting drunk and trying to snog boys!

  • Finding regular work with the Evening Standard

  • Celebrity parties and finding out the gossip

  • Keeping costs down and running everywhere

  • Running a Marathon in Kenya on a nature reserve

  • Finding what she wanted to do

  • Making the decision to move to Nairobi and why it was easy

  • Feeling lost after university

  • Not knowing many people at first

  • Having savings and making editor connections before leaving

  • Being enthusiastic and very determined

  • Cycling 5,000+ miles across Africa for TUSK

  • The route through Africa

  • Missing female companionship during the cycle ride

  • Teaming up with Centre Point

  • Being under pressure to arrive at places

  • Needing more downtime

  • Spending 4 months on the road - cycled for 5/7 days visit a place and then carry on

  • Meeting her husband on a trip to Somali

  • How her priorities changed