top of page

Capt. Sophie Hollingsworth - Former Ballerina turned award winning explorer

Capt. Sophie Hollingsworth - Former Ballerina turned award winning explorer - New Explorer of the Year 2017. Fulbright Scholar. Fellow of The Explorers Club & PostGrad Fellow of RGS.

Sophie's expeditions have taken her to the streets of Managua to the mountains of Madagascar and everywhere in between.

She is the Founder of AquaAid International, Sophie works with some of Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa’s most remote villages establishing sustainable sources of clean drinking water and basic sanitation.

Sophie is a Health Security Specialist with a concentration on the civil military relations in infectious disease outbreaks and biodefense, for which she has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship from the US Department of State. Sophie holds a Bachelors in Environmental Science and Global Public Health from New York University and is currently working on a Master of Health Security at the University of Sydney.

Sophie is an avid sailor, has sailed across the Pacific Ocean, and holds a 200-ton captains license. At the time of certification, she was the youngest female to ever obtain a 200-ton MCA Yachtmaster Captains License.

Her passion for adventure and discovering indigenous ways of life has led her undertake descents of uncharted rivers in Madagascar, desert transect treks in Namibia, and ethnographic research in the Republic of Vanuatu. Sophie’s work has been featured by National Geographic and the United Nations. Sophie is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and Post-Graduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

When not exploring Sophie lives between New York City and Sydney.


Listen Now


Show notes

  • Currently driving a land cruiser around the outback in Australia

  • Using exploration to help achieve a more sustainable future

  • Being a ballerina before taking a pivot into science, travel & exploration

  • Changing her life at 16 and starting to work on super yachts

  • Coming from a low income, single parent family

  • Being determined to travel from a young age

  • Working as an unpaid deck hand

  • Becoming the youngest female to ever obtain a 200-ton MCA Yachtmaster Captains License

  • Sailing across the Pacific Ocean

  • Studying Public Health at New York City University

  • Being shocked by the water crises she came across

  • Founding an NGO, the challenges she faced and what she learned along the way

  • Returning to NYC and finding the Explorers Club where she was able to connect with other like minded individuals.

  • Heading on an expedition to the Republic of Vanuatu to search for the ‘Tribe of Female Chiefs’

  • What she learned about female leadership while spending time with the female chiefs

  • Sharing her knowledge and research with others

  • What daily life was like while she was over there, where she stayed what she ate and how she handled the language challenges

  • Women and the practice of water music

  • Feeling lonely and isolated even though she was surrounded by people

  • Heading back to NYC and dealing with the culture shock

  • Graduating from University and trying to decided what to do next

  • Booking a ticket to Madagascar and deciding to start the Sofia Log

  • Winning a scholarship to do an extended 2 year research program on water security in Central Africa

  • The challenges she faced over there and why she is not a river person

  • What she’s learned from committing herself to projects

  • Deciding what to do next after she finishers her studies

  • Being a Youth Representative for the Explorers Club in the UN

  • The Sofia Log - what it is and why she started it

  • Why you have to find out what works best for you


Social Media

Twitter - @TheSofiaLog

Instagram - @captsophie


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 $10 every month to help fund the running costs.



bottom of page