Jenny Tough’s passion combines human-powered endurance challenges with global travel. She is making her way around the world, running across a mountain range on every continent. Her achievements so far include Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan in 2016, Atlas of Morocco in 2017, and the Bolivian Andes in 2018. In 2019, Jenny plans to tackle the Southern Alps.
On the Tough Girl podcast, Jenny Tough shared stories from several of her adventures and the lessons she learned along the way. Whether you’re thinking about a major challenge or want a little more adventure every day, you can learn something from this incredible woman.
Don’t overthink it.
After University, Jenny decided she wanted to explore the Yukon of North Canada and would do it with only human power. Cycling 3,000 km was something she just couldn’t visualize. She jumped into this adventure in the purest form. Jenny related, “I was half excited, half terrified and completely clueless and I think that’s a really good place to be.”
Jenny has respect for planning and the need for it in challenging places, but she also likes to let adventures unfold as they may. For this Yukon cycle, Jenny did the training as she went and didn’t worry about getting super fit. Because the adventure would take a month, she had time to get fit on the road.
Some adventures are best taken with the intention to learn as you go. Jenny shows us just how feasible this can be.
Be supportive of others.
Jenny’s found that if you let other people expose their fears about your challenge to you, that can start to affect you. The concerns of Jenny’s friends wore on her mind a bit through her trip. She said, “Cycling is the easy part, what’s going on in your head is the hard part.”
Often, you don’t realise how much it takes out of you when you’re looking for support. With that experience, Jenny made a rule to be super supportive whenever someone tells her their plan for an adventure.
Show them it’s possible.
After her ride to Yukon, suddenly being fit enough to take on a running endurance challenge seemed like a possibility. Jenny decided to run solo, self-supported across Kyrgyzstan. “You know when you see something and you just know your life’s not complete until you try it?” Jenny said. That’s what the 25 day run through ancient nomadic trails in Kyrgyzstan was for her.
You get told no a lot as a solo female traveler. Jenny was told numerous times that what she was doing was impossible and given directions to the nearest bus station. She realised, of course, everyone things it’s impossible. That’s because no one has done it before. She decided not to be angry at people who question her and simply show them it is possible.
“Adventures give you the lesson you need at the time of the life you’re in,” Jenny noted. It’s nobody’s job to believe in your dreams. It’s your job to believe in them and believe it can happen. Having the personal courage to say this is possible and I can do this is how you create a life of unbelievable adventure.
Make your own rules.
Jenny later cycled around the Baltic Sea in another not totally planned challenge. It took her 5 weeks self-supported and alone to complete the adventure. The obstacles Jenny faced on the trip weren’t only physical in nature.
While Jenny was in Lithuania, her grandmother passed away. Jenny knew this would likely happen, but it was still hard to process alone. Another part of solo travel is having the personal motivation to push on after tough days. Jenny did this by making a rule to talk to herself like an adventure buddy would whenever she had the urge to criticize herself.
For all the adventurers out there, Jenny encourages remembering that it’s your adventure and you make the rules. You decide how much it will cost, who you take, and how long it will be. Do what’s going to make you happy. Do the adventure the way you want to do it.
Take a listen now !
Check out Jenny’s website - www.jennytough.com
Jenny is on Twitter @JennyTough
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