The Freedom Fizzle

Hetty talks about socks, sandals, checklists and getting outside:

Adventure is addictive, for me it is an essential and fundamental part of living. No matter how big or small it sends that fizzle of excitement through me that reminds me that I am alive.

For those of you who don’t know me I am Hetty, writer of the outdoor, adventure, travel blog – Mud, Chalk and Gears (! Throughout my life I have always been a keen sports woman, especially when it comes to things that involve being outside exploring and adventuring. I really love pushing myself both physically and mentally to find my limit, often discovering some amazing things along the way. For me, it is also as much about loving the environment I am in, as to giving something 110%, be that mud, mountains, oceans or rain – it’s all part of it. hetty

A few weeks ago Carmen asked me to write a post for The Adventure Declaration on how I get my adventure fix, what it means to me and how I got into it all. This set me thinking – for as long as I can remember I have been adventuring. From climbing every tree in my parents garden – including some particularly tall and precarious ones, which resulted in a very concerned neighbour – to current, bigger explorations around the UK and beyond. I remember going out walking when I was little and refusing to take the path, instead insisting on the “long and dangerous route” clambering over every obstacle I could find. So when it comes to answering the question of how I got into adventuring I guess I can’t tell you – it has always been a part of my life.

I can however tell you what has inspired me to keep exploring and push myself as far as I can – my parents. Growing up I was always encouraged to take every opportunity that came my way. Some of my best memories are out walking and scrambling with my dad and the dogs. Always a keen mountaineer and climber I loved hearing about his trips and stories. These were often combined with grainy photos of him out adventuring with a massive beard and dodgy tan lines – I believe sandals and socks also featured! Regardless this triggered the start of a long checklist adventures I plan on ticking off.unnamed

Without launching into a much longer and heavy story, health-wise both my parents have not had the easiest time to put it lightly. Although I struggle to deal with this, throughout everything they have only ever motivated and supported me. It has taught me to seize the moment. That thing you are thinking about doing – go and do it! The niggling doubt or fear that stops you – push it aside, you can. My mum has a million inspirational quotes to back this up)! The majority of the time the only thing that is holding you back is yourself. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

Like I said earlier, adventures can be big or small. Whether you are on a micro-adventure nearer home or a scaling a mountain, the key thing is that what you are doing makes you feel alive. There is so much I could write here, however I am choosing to keep it short and sweet. And most importantly I think it’s time we all got outside!

To follow my adventures check out Mud, Chalk & Gears ( Alternatively you can always find me on Twitter ( and Instagram (

If you enjoyed reading Hetty’s Adventure Declaration there’s 4 things you can do…

  1. Share it with your friends so more women hear about the brilliant adventures happening every day.
  2. Join The Adventure Declaration on Facebook or Twitter so we can have a chat about your latest adventures and chance to keep in the loop.
  3. Tell your adventure story- the Adventure Declaration is for all women with hearts of adventure and all adventures count. We’d love to hear from you. Click here to find out how to get in touch.
  4. Make your declaration to enjoy every second of every adventure!

Diving into Adventure

Enjoying the waves

Enjoying the waves

Nic talks about 4.30am surfing, taking a leap and using adventure to change her life:

To me, adventure isn’t necessarily an epic trip, it’s a way of thinking about everything in life. It’s about being a bit scared about doing something new and doing it anyway. Its nerves, courage, challenge and excitement. The more adventures I go on, the more I want.

Adventure changed my life. I’ve suffered for long time with social anxiety and depression. After doing some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy I learned to manage it better and the techniques I learned led to me taking some brave steps. It started with quitting my job to take a round-the-world trip on my own. Bloody scary but one of the best things I ever did. It changed my whole outlook on life. It taught me that to feel fear and do it anyway can be rewarding. That feeling is addictive!

When I got back from my trip I needed a job. The company I’d worked for before my trip hired me for a couple of months, but they didn’t need me for any longer than that. While I was there I saw a vacancy for a job for the same company in India. The role would have been a promotion and I thought it’d give me more opportunities to travel, so I applied, not really expecting anything to come of it. Turns out I got the job and after a few weeks I was boarding a plane to go and live and work in India for a year!

The job was intense and not always a good experience. I learned a lot and met some great people, but after 9 months I was ready to come home. When I got home I was so glad to be back and all the small things I took for granted before seemed like luxuries which meant I appreciated them so much more. Despite the difficult time I had in India, my thirst for adventure remained. I met up with a friend of my sister’s then boyfriend on New Year’s Eve one year to go surfing with him, camp overnight and go surfing again first thing on New Year’s Day morning. He became my surfing buddy and for months after that I often got up at 4.30am to drive 2 hours to the beach with him to surf over winter. I then went on surfing holidays on my own, staying in hostels and making new friends from around the world.

After working for a company in Preston for about a year I decided I wanted to give contracting a go. I was told that companies need contractors to be available at short notice, less than the standard 4 week notice that most permanent positions have. So, I bit the bullet and quit my job without having another to go to. I had about 2 months before I would’ve started to struggle to pay my bills and didn’t have much of a plan B in case it took longer. I just thought if the worst came to the worst I could freeze my mortgage payments and cancel a lot of monthly outgoings if I needed to. Luckily with about 2 weeks to go I got 2 interviews on the same day and was offered both jobs. Phew!

Since then I signed up for an Ironman triathlon before I even knew how to swim front crawl, took a rolenicfox1 on the committee at a cycling club in a role that didn’t exist before I joined, organised a bike workshop for people I’d never met, led rides to try to encourage other women to cycle and race, despite being a newbie and very nervous myself. I’m so much more confident, assertive and have so many good memories from the adventures I’ve been on since my CBT and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Adventure rocks! Dive in 🙂

The Adventure Declaration is for all women with hearts of adventure. Let’s share and celebrate our stories. All adventures count and we’d love to hear from you. Click here to find out how to get in touch. 

Make your declaration to enjoy every second of every adventure. If you enjoyed reading this post share it with your friends and join The Adventure Declaration on Facebook.

Being brave & enjoying the ride

Viv (2nd left) with the lovely Manchester Wheelers

Viv (2nd left) with the lovely Manchester Wheelers

Viv steps out of her comfort zone, makes an escape and has an amazing time:
“Adventure, for me, is anything new you set off to do for the first time, without knowing exactly what the experience will be like, or how the story will turn out. It might be running or riding long distances, travelling to new places or meeting new people. There often isn’t a purpose it’s the journey itself rather than the outcome that’s worth doing.

I love the early daydreams, the discovery phase where you start to turn the thought into something real. Then there is the excitement (often doubts!) and fear as the time comes to set off. Most of all I love it when you start, and everything except here and now fades into the background.

My adventures are pretty small scale by some standards: running big loops off road, or from station to station, riding out to a youth hostel and back the next day, or hiking to the top of hills to do yoga at sunset. Sometimes things go more or less to plan, at other times they turn out quite differently to what you expect. Often there are points where you are cold or tired, or something goes wrong, but the memories that stay with me are of big open landscapes, being with other people and a lot of laughing

It’s not always outdoor challenges that count. I feel the same mix of emotions when organising or getting involved with new things. Last year I set up Get Out and Give to get more people together outside, challenging themselves, and raising money for a local charity

It can be daunting, not knowing who will come, or if everyone will enjoy themselves, but it is always worth it. My favourite was meeting a student from China who came along to a walk in the Peak District and had never seen hills before. It was wonderful seeing her discover the outdoors, and share that sense of freedom that I feel whenever I am out there.

I didn’t always think this way. Throughout my childhood I played team sports, but rarely stepped out of my comfort zone to face the unknown. After Uni I went to the gym most days, realising that keeping fit also kept me sane. I also spent a lot of time thinking ‘there must be more to life than work, gym and sleep’. When a long tricky relationship ended, I needed an escape and with that small step everything changed.

I had noticed a handwritten sign about a bike ride in my gym, and after passing it a few times I decided to turn up one Sunday with an old commuter bike. I was pretty nervous, and felt out of my depth, but I knew I needed to shake things up and get out of my comfort zone. People were friendly and I survived the first ride, returning home shattered. I spent the afternoon lying down, with a huge smile on my face.

Over the new months, I kept cycling, and also made a habit of saying yes to new things even when they made me nervous. Sometimes I tried things that weren’t for me, but on the way I learned a lot about myself, and met some lovely and inspiring new people.

Enjoying the ride

Enjoying the ride

I started running, and swimming, did some triathlons including Helvellyn and Alpe Duez, ran marathons on the road and trails, got hooked on yoga and meditation, changed jobs, had parties, slept in a cave, ran in the snow and the desert, and rode across Africa. I have seen so many beautiful places and met so many lovely people. I have been incredibly lucky, and am so grateful.

There is so much more I would like to do.

If there is any advice I can give it is use your imagination, keep an open mind, say yes and see what happens. You won’t regret it.

Life is one big adventure so enjoy the ride!”

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