Welcome to Chatting to a Friend. In this podcast I am chatting to incredible women from all walks of life about friendship, community, self care, adventure, sex, grief, boundaries and asking them how they look after themselves, how they manage their mental health and what drives them. It’s an enormous privilege to have the time and opportunity to learn from some truly remarkable women. I hope you enjoy it.
Chatting to Cathy O'Dowd
South African mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd was the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides. Her most challenging Himalayan epic was as part of team forging a new route on an 8000 metre peak.
Her many expeditions provided extensive experience with individuals and teams facing stress, risk and overwhelming challenge. She developed these insights into a 25-year career as an internationally acclaimed corporate motivational speaker.
Cathy remains an active adventurer. She lives in Andorra in the Pyrenees and spends her time canyoning, ski-touring, climbing, mountaineering and sea-kayaking.
Covid allowing, in the summer of 2022 she will be taking part in an exploratory sea kayak expedition along the coast of Greenland.
I first came across Cathy when I reqad her book in around 2003. I was awe struck and have remained a fan ever since. Her no nonsense approach to everything may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I find in equal measure a tiny bit intimidating and a huge amount inspiring. There is a part of me that wishes I could be as bold and forthright in my dealings with life. This is well worth a listen.
Website http://cathyodowd.com Instagram @CathyODowd Facebook @CathyODowdEverest
Chatting to Frankie Dewar about podcasting, being a young carer and how to protect yourself when your job is linked to your identity
Freelance Social Media goto and lover of big days outside, Frankie Dewar is a climber, hiker, skier and general fun seeker Frankie has cycled 3,000km around the UK to interview people older than herself about the outdoors to show that you don't have to "do it whilst you're young".
In this conversation, we cover everything from how the podcast came about to how she coped as a young carer to her mum and how she burst into her 20s tyring to make up for time “lost” during her childhood. How envy can be a powerful motivator, musing over what “being enough” means, how to manage when the work you do is so closely aligned with your own identity and how to support a loved one on a journey, both physical and spiritual.
https://www.frankiedewar.co/ https://www.instagram.com/frankie_dewar/ https://www.tiktok.com/@frankiedewarcreative https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankie-dewar/
Chatting to Lucy Bartholomew about ultra distance running, a sustainable healthy body and what is your "why"
Running began for Lucy when she was 15 years old as a way to spend time with her Dad. When he decided to run a 100km race through the blue mountains 5 years ago she trained alongside him for every step of the way. On race day, she ran from place to place to see him and accidentally ran her first ultra. Then she decided that she wanted to complete a race of this distance and ran side by side with her Dad for 100Km, finishing in 12:36:00 and smiling. She was in love, not only with the physical and mental side of performing the art of ultra-running but the community and the environments it took her to.
The following year she entered this race again and ran solo finishing in a time of 9:30:00 to place her second female and suddenly she had emerged into this sport with potential. She then wanted to keep pushing the limits and so competed in a 6-day multi-stage race in the Simpson Desert in Australia finishing 2nd female and 2nd overall.
Fast forward a few years and in 2014 she ran as part of the Australian/New Zealand Skyrunning team in Chamonix, France winning the junior division of the Mont Blanc Marathon to become the junior world family Skyrunning champion. She then competed in the Ultra distance world championships of 85kms where she won the junior category to become the world ultra-junior trail running champion.
A second place in the 2018 Western States race catapulted her into the public eye but when she lined up again in the same race a year later, after a reassessment of her diet, lifestyle and health, her body shape had changed and that same public demanded to know why she was no longer the same runner.
This led to a recaculating of what was important, what she loved and a chance to take it back to basics and remembering the “why”.
This conversation covers everything from her start in running, her relationship with her parents, her body and her sport.
We discuss at length her movie “Running Out”, where she ran the 231km Larapinta Trail in the Autralian Outback and the extreme challenge that presented as well as where is “the line” when it comes to pushing your body. I cannot recommend the movie enough!
Lucy is a bright, bubbly spark of joy and inspiration and I loved chatting to her.
Chatting to Victoria Evans before she sets off to row solo across the Atlantic and about equality for women in sport
At the time of the episode release (January 2022) Victoria Evans is about to depart in February to become the 8th British woman to solo row the Atlantic Ocean. Setting off from Tenerife, she will row 3000 miles over the course of nearly two months to reach Port St Charles in Barbados.
It’s a challenge that’s been 3 years in the making, with Victoria forced to postpone last minute at the start of 2021 due to COVID restrictions . It’s an endeavour she’s undertaking to raise awareness about, and money for, UK Charity ‘Women in Sport’.
A sports lawyer herself, she didn’t start being active until her late twenties when she moved to Switzerland for work. Access to the transformational benefit of sport for all women and girls is a cause that she’s passionate about on both a personal and professional level.
We talk about her awakening into sport, equality for women in sport, how the culture needs to change, why she decided to do this row and how she got into sport relatively late in life and how much benefit she has gained from it.
Finally, we talk about the row and what she hopes to get out of it.
Part two will be after her row is completed and we’ll get to hear how the dream compared to the reality.
I didn’t ask her for a #challengecatie but I will when she gets back!
IG: @seachangesport www.seachangesport.com
Chatting to Monika Sattler about cycling the Vuelta and being brave enough to make your own decisions despite what others may think
Originally from Germany, Monika moved after high school to the US to play volleyball for a university team. After an uncomfortable start at one college, she graduated from another with a summa cum laude and was accepted with a full scholarship to the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. After graduation, she worked for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
But she felt there was an inner urge that there was more than settling for a job she was not completely passionate about.
So she quit that career-aspiring job with the World Bank and went to pursue her dream to become a professional cyclist while going for a Sports degree at the University of Minnesota.
But during this time, she realized that professional cycling is not what she wanted and she had trouble finding a suitable career in sports.
To return on the “right career track”, she applied to any job everywhere and got accepted to a prestigious consulting firm as IT management consultant. She worked first in Switzerland and then Australia.
But while now financially secure and on the path she was supposed to be on, the very same urge as two years earlier emerged in her wanting more from life.
She studied the world map looking for that place she would love to live. She packed her bike and flew with a one-way ticket to Malaga, Spain, where she decided to become the first woman to cycle the entire three-week long Vuelta de Espana just hours before the all male professionals did it.
It was a decisive moment of whether to stay in her comfort zone or to take a huge leap outside of it and face her fears of failure and pursuing something that seemed beyond her limits.
We talk diversity, decisions and doubts. How to make your own goals, leaving out the opinions and fears of others and how to accept when a decision you made is not serving you anymore.
I encourage you to take on the #challengecatie with me. It’s really quite an exciting one that involves nothing more extreme than sitting with a pen and paper and facing your lifetime of decision making.
Watch Monika’s TEDx talk here.
Chatting to Dot Bekker about leaving her marriage at 58 and driving solo 20,000km from Europe home to Zimbabwe