The Intrepid Magazine Issue number two, has just been published. It’s an adventure based magazine written by women for women. There are lots of contributors including myself.
It is a magazine to be reckoned with. To read about the details of how other women of all ages, face their fears, manage their own adventurous mishaps, danger, fun and challenges is totally humbling.
As I read Intrepid, my own mind began to wander into the past, far back into my childhood, which is where my love of fresh air, sun, wind, rain and wildlife began to develop.
After long days imprisoned at school, I would race home, tear off the straitjacket of school uniform, put on jeans, t-shirt and trainers ever ready to join the local boys for a game of soccer! Or go horse riding, play hockey, swim in the local pool and run, run, run, for the sheer pleasure of it.
In fact, I tried to persuade our Primary School headmaster to have a girls football team…all to no avail. In those days girls weren’t meant to play football. Not to be deterred, I encouraged, cajoled and bribed ten other girls to make up a full team. We held our football practice every break time, right outside the staff room window!
Sadly, the education system at that time, was not ready for an all girls football team!
On awakening each and every morning of a school holiday, I would leap out of bed, rush to the window and peer around curtains to assess the weather! No rain, meant a coming day of excitement and an indescribable sense of freedom. Hours of exploration in nearby woods climbing trees. Crawling through caves or tunnels or wandering vast fields. Quiet, hilly roads and deserted moors to cycle, on a bike with one gear, secret camp fires to build and cook upon. Birds and animals to spot… and most importantly, definitely avoiding letting parents know about my risk taking, including purloined, forbidden boxes of matches!
Back in the 70’s being a ‘tomboy’ was somewhat odd. Such a label, appeared to be the best way I could be understood, by family, teachers and friends. Quite simply, I was just an adventurous girl/teenager, who luckily was not actively discouraged enough, to extinguish my outdoor fervour.
Fairly recently, my Mother reminded me of a long forgotten swimming achievement. It evolved from a family discussion around the Sunday dinner table. I’d spent most of the year practicing to pass the A.S.A. Personal Survival Awards of Bronze, Silver and Gold. Feeling very pleased after my Gold Award pinnacle…..I proudly announced to my family, that I could easily swim a mile in the local pool!
My ever encouraging Father, apparently said something along the lines of, ‘You’ll never do it, you’ll never swim a mile, if you do I will give you £5.00 extra pocket-money.
Determined not to be discouraged or deflated, my twelve-year-old self replied, ‘I will do it Dad, you just need to keep going, I’ll just keep going.’
A kind swimming attendant counted my lengths, all seventy-two of them. It was a mammoth effort. I encouraged myself to keep going by singing songs. I remember well how tired and hot I felt, as I scrambled out of the pool, to lie full length on the cool pale blue tiles. It was though, a special tiredness, born of effort, triumph and achievement. A fantastic feeling.
So that’s it! Throughout all of my travel escapades, camping, cycling, climbing, hiking, running, swimming trials and tribulations. I am quite simply mentally and physically….encouraged, supported and urged on, by the motto of my internalised childhood self. Something I hadn’t understood until recently.
‘Just keep going!’
A rallying cry for life itself.