Fiona Quinn on how to adventure in your own way

18 Sep 2020

Fiona Quinn is a keynote speaker, endurance adventurer and entrepreneur, and has previously presented Gold Awards at St James’s Palace.

Here, Fiona shares some tips on how to adventure in your own way

As an adventurer, and author of Ignore the Fear, I know a thing or two about being scared in the outdoors. When I was little I nearly drowned in a swimming pool and have been scared of deep open water ever since. You might think, then, that the idea of losing sight of land to stand up paddleboard the west coast of Britain, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, would be something that I wouldn’t even entertain.

And when the idea first popped into my mind, you’d have been right. I dismissed it right away. But as time passed, there was something about challenging myself in this way that appealed and kept niggling away at me. What if I could put my fear aside just enough to make it happen? I was captivated from there and believed in myself long enough to make it to the end of the adventure.

For me, though, being nervous in the outdoors often makes simply getting to the start line the hardest bit of all. Building up the courage to step out of the front door and towards something that I have no idea if I’m capable of can be daunting. The key to getting myself out into the unknown, even if it’s just exploring locally, has been to approach it in my own way.

I’m not an athlete. I haven’t trained for any of my adventures and I never go after a fast time. I just plod, or paddle, along at my own pace. Fuelled by cake, I push hard when I want to and relax off when I don’t. By making up my own adventure I get to set my own rules and find a way that works for me.

So here are my top tips for setting a challenge and adventuring in your own way.

1. Plan an adventure that excites you.
It sounds obvious, but if you look at the plan and all you feel is worry (or even indifference), then that probably isn’t the adventure for you. There are so many options, there’s no reason not to make up a route or pick a sport that makes you smile just thinking about it. If you start off excited by the challenge ahead, it’ll make it much easier to get going.

2. Find something that motivates you.
Whether it’s cake, another food group, bird watching, spending time on the water or anything else, figuring out what you’ll go the extra mile for is a great way to keep pushing yourself when you might feel hesitant about taking that next step.

3. Remember that you get to set the rules.
If you only want to travel a few miles or you want to walk out of your front door and explore the streets nearby – whatever works for you, embrace it. Finding your own approach makes it unique and interesting for you. Plus, you’ll learn a lot more about yourself coming up with something that’s designed to suit you.

Fiona Quinn paddleboarding

Virtual DofE Adventure is a great opportunity for you to challenge yourself, on your own terms. Complete your 30km in one go or spread it over a month. Adventure in towns and cities or explore green spaces. Travel on your own or share the experience with friends and family (whilst following Government guidelines). If 30km seems like a daunting target, this is your chance to believe in yourself, see what you can do and raise vital funds for the DofE. DofE Adventure in its usual format is a walking event but you can cover your distance target in any way you would like.

Read Adventurer Laura Kennington's blog on what to eat whilst on an Adventure.

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