The dryrobe team spend a fair bit of time out of the office and on the road, attending events around the country and meeting lots of amazing people, as well as demonstrating the many benefits of dryrobe of course. We recently received an invite to attend the Women’s Adventure Expo - an event described as the first and only adventure and travel expo in the UK dedicated to women, with the aim of empowering women who are interested in, or engaged in, adventure and exploration. The team leapt at the chance to be involved and hear some of these amazing women speak about their stories and adventures, so on a sunny Saturday in April we found ourselves by the harbourside in Bristol, ready for a day of inspiration.
The event was a new part of the Women’s Adventure Expo, as it focussed on water based activities and adventures. The day was set out with a series of incredible headline speakers delivering talks as well as fascinating presentations from water champions and organisations. From epic ocean crossings to swimming some of the planet’s most challenging waters, the day was packed with incredible stories and causes to get us motivated and buzzing to get out on watery adventures of our own.
The first headline speaker was a wonderful lady who we at dryrobe know well - the amazing swimmer Beth French. If you haven’t heard Beth’s story before then we highly recommend you go and check it out - from being diagnosed with ME at the age of 17 and being wheelchair-bound, she has gone on to conquer the illness and live symptom-free and now fills her life with incredible adventures and endurance swims. From travelling the world and living in amazing places, to becoming ordained as a Buddhist nun, Beth’s life philosophy is about exploring the art of possibility to fulfil your potential. Her current challenge is to attempt a world first by taking on Oceans 7 - seven of the toughest swims on the planet. Only 6 people have ever completed this challenge and Beth aims to be the first to complete them in one year - incredible!
Beth’s talk had the entire room hanging on to her every word - with the dryrobe team being no exception. Hearing her story firsthand was an incredible experience and made us want to get out there and get swimming right away - her message of getting out there and going for your dreams was one that should certainly be put into practise as much as possible. The message that stuck with us the most was this - “If you don’t nudge your boundaries, you narrow your comfort zone...stretch your adventure muscles.”
The next main speaker was the fantastic Erin Bastian, who filled the room with laughter and awe as we listened to her tales of adventure via sea kayak. From her first journey around Sardinia to her paddle through one of the world’s most remote wildernesses in Patagonia, Erin’s message to remember was to never look at a challenge and give up on it because it looks too big, or too difficult. Instead, she taught us to break these challenges down into smaller, bitesize chunks that on their own are more manageable and allow you to conquer the main challenge itself. Erin carried on the same message that Beth had started the day with - which is to get out there and adventure! Many people fear failure and so never get started, but in Erin’s eyes the only true failure is the failure to learn from our experiences.
The final headline speaker of the day was the amazing Sarah Outen MBE, an adventurer of both land and sea who enthralled us with tales of her 25,000 mile, 4.5 year journey to circumnavigate the globe by rowing, cycling and kayaking. A truly awe-inspiring adventure, Sarah overcame huge obstacles and some seriously extreme conditions in her expedition which at times meant she wasn’t sure if she would make it out alive. Sarah’s journey was certainly not plain sailing and she was at times forced to change her route and alter sections altogether, but she showed us that these changes of plan actually enriched her journey and took her to places she might not have seen or experienced. This message tied in perfectly with Erin’s earlier lesson that we shouldn’t fear failure, but should see it for what it is - an opportunity to learn and even to find something new altogether.
We left Bristol after the Women’s Adventure Expo filled with inspiration and buzzing to get out on adventures of of our own, most of all we wanted to get ourselves out on the water as quickly as possible. The whole event was a real celebration of amazing women and their adventures, which we certainly agree doesn’t get enough coverage. The future’s bright though with fantastic events like the Women’s Adventure Expo doing an amazing job of empowering and inspiring all the potential adventurers out there. Their next event is October this year, if you can make it we highly recommend you do.