Next up is the awesome Gemma Brunton. By day Gemma is an incredible photographer (check her work out here) and mum to two teenagers. During her spare time Gemma loves an adventure, big or small and is an ambassador for the awesome YesTribe.
I met Gemma a little over a year ago on the AWL program run by Quiet the Hive. I instantly thought Gemma was bloody brilliant. I was in awe of Gemma’s motivation and enthusiasm for life and the fact that she ran her own successful business. Since then, Gemma and I have been good friends and have been on a couple of micro-adventures together; SUP sessions and some wild camping. It turns out that Gemma can make a massive fire using Tampons and Vaseline – what a woman!
Gemma loves wild camping, has completed an expedition in the Himalaya and loves spending time in the mountains – you can follow her on instagram through @gemmabrunton or @gemmabruntonphotography – I recommend you do.
I spoke to Gemma a few weeks ago to understand more about how she became adventurous, what her childhood was like in terms of adventure and what she loves about adventure. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, there are two short videos and a summary of my key findings from the interview at the bottom. Those are a good place to start!
Here’s what Gemma said….
What does being adventurous mean to you Gemma?
“It’s a very personal thing isn’t it? I think adventure inevitably means different things to different people. To some people, adventure is a big word with big aspirations to go and climb to the top of the world or to the depths of the ocean or whatever, but other people it actually means maybe just stepping through the front door on the day when you don’t really feel like it. So there’s a massive spectrum isn’t there.”
“For me, as I get older, it tends to mean the smaller things, sometimes just small things whereas when I was younger adventure meant world conquering, you know, unachievable things. But I realised as I get older, it doesn’t have to mean such big things as it as I used to think it did, just thinking or being slightly outside of your box. It’d be great if we could invent another word to describe adventure – it doesn’t have to mean getting lost in the wilderness and eaten by a bear and that kind of stuff because I think that scares people off.”
Was there anything different about your childhood that could have impacted how adventurous you are?
(I love this 9 minute snippet from the interview and have put it in here as I think Gemma brings it to life much better than I ever could in writing!)
Do you think your parents had any influence on how adventurous you are?
Anything else that you feel may have made you adventurous Gemma?
“So I travelled solo to Australia, Thailand, Nepal and India. I was travelling between school and university and I wouldn’t say that I spent a long time planning it! My plans for my gap year had fallen through so I needed something else to do, and decided to go travelling. There was no one else who could come with me so I had to go on my own or not go at all……When I was 18. Mom and Dad weren’t thrilled about the idea, I completely understand why, but I somehow managed to educate them and persuade them that I’d be okay. And it was, it was utterly terrifying I won’t lie. I remember landing in Australia, which of course is the most familiar of the countries that I visited, you know that I’d feel most at home in. I remember settling myself into the hostel and I wouldn’t leave my hostel room for 24 hours I was too terrified that first night to go out!”
“I remember going for a walk. I was on the other side of the world, I had no idea where I was, I had to go buy some food or be starving. And that was the first step of adventure. From there, it grew massively and to the point where I was happy to travel and go anywhere, book trips, get my own transport. That nine months was pivotal in cementing a confidence and a sense of ‘go out and get get adventure and make stuff happen’. Actually, family, commented when I got back, they said, ‘Gosh, you really changed. You went as a slightly timid she, under confident school leaver to this sort of fully-furnished adult with confidence and enthusiasm and ambition and drive’ and I totally, totally get it – I absolutely came back a different person. Yeah, that was a good experience!”
Massive, massive thank you to Gemma for being so generous with her time and her thoughts about adventure. The key takeaways for me are:
- Adventure is VERY personal and can mean different things to different people – Michelle Ellison made this point in my first adventurous women interview too, maybe this will be a common theme?
- Exposure to travel and others who travelled early on in life made travel become the ‘norm’ for Gemma
- The need to be independent at a young age has helped Gemma become independent and more adventurous in adult life
- The ‘feeling’ after the Ten Tors challenge was one of Gemma’s most vivid memories. Perhaps creating these feelings for children or women is key to supporting them to become more adventurous?
- Gemma and I had very different experiences of travel when we were children, but we have both ended being quite adventurous women. Maybe there re multiple ways to support people to be adventurous?