top of page

Susan Smillie: Former Guardian editor and writer, now author and sailor. She left her job to sail around Great Britain, turned left at Land's End, and ended up in Greece!

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.

In this episode, join us as we delve into the captivating journey of Susan Smillie, former Guardian editor turned intrepid sailor and author. Susan shares her remarkable story of leaving behind the comforts of her career to embark on an extraordinary sailing adventure from Great Britain to the picturesque shores of Greece. Through Susan's candid reflections, guests can expect to gain invaluable insights into the transformative power of following one's passions, overcoming obstacles, and embracing the unknown with courage and determination. From the highs of discovering newfound confidence in sailing to the lows of navigating personal challenges and unexpected detours, Susan's narrative serves as a beacon of inspiration for anyone seeking to break free from the confines of convention and chart their own course towards fulfilment and adventure.

Throughout the episode, listeners will be treated to Susan's candid anecdotes and profound reflections on life at sea, shedding light on the realities of living life on the water and the profound sense of purpose and productivity that comes with pursuing one's dreams. From the exhilarating moments of getting caught up in the adventure to the sobering realities of navigating unforeseen challenges, Susan's story offers a rich tapestry of lessons and experiences for guests to glean from. Whether you're an aspiring sailor, a fellow adventurer, or simply someone in search of inspiration to follow your heart's desires, Susan's episode promises to leave you with a renewed sense of possibility and a reminder that, as she eloquently puts it, "you can do so much more than you think you can."


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement.

🙏Thank you for your invaluable support!


Listen to Susan Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.


Show notes

  • Who is Susan

  • Working as a features editor at the Guardian 

  • Her plan to sail around Great Britain and ending up in Greece

  • Her early years 

  • Not getting into sailing until her 30s

  • Her first boat - a trailor sailor 

  • Deciding to live on a boat instead of a house

  • Moving from Brighton to London and living on a boat on the Thames River

  • Wanting to learn more sailing skills and leaning new technical skills

  • Dealing with the end of a relationship, and a new job 

  • Becoming less happy with her life in London

  • Gaining her confidence in sailing

  • Deciding to take redundancy in 2016

  • Remembering the moment when the decision was made

  • Being inspired by other women following their passions

  • The real realities of making this decision

  • The costs of working 

  • The start of the journey….

  • Ending up at Land’s End

  • Coming up with a new plan and deciding to sail across the English Channel

  • Getting caught up in the adventure 

  • Having a sense of purpose and feeling productive 

  • The differences of sailing around the UK and sailing to the Mediterranean 

  • The realities of living life on the water

  • Ending the trip in Greece due to the pandemic 

  • Looking after her dad after a heart attach

  • Sailing away from the media and journalism 

  • Wanting to leave the writing behind her

  • Sharing her journey on social media and keeping a record that way

  • Being contacted by an agent about writing a book

  • Getting into cold water swimming

  • Half boat, half woman

  • How to connect and buy the book 

  • Final words of advice 

  • Don’t think too far into the future

  • “You can do so much more than you think you can”


Social Media

Instagram: @smillieonsea 


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron


bottom of page