I’m Sarah Outen I’m an adventurer and author and I’m also really happy to be
a YHA ambassador I think my adventuring career really
started from my childhood in terms of the fact that
I spent loads of time outside I was really sporty I spent time climbing trees and just kind of exploring
the areas where we lived and we lived in quite a number of places because my father was in the RAF and through my senior school years I did my Duke of Edinburgh award that was a real taste of expeditions even if they were just a few days at a time and from there it’s grown into to
bigger, longer more remote stuff really but I think that that grounding
in the outdoors and the appreciation of it and the sort of skills and experiences
that I had as a youngster were really formative for me So in 2009 I rowed across the Indian Ocean
solo from Australia to Mauritius and that was the result of
three years of planning and training and working towards
making that happen because it was a massive project
to pull off in terms of logistics and finance and
everything else in between and that journey really came out
of being totally inspired by hearing about ocean rowing and in an instant knowing I would like to have a go at that and that had come to me at university that moment of hearing about ocean rowing and so on so I thought well that’s what
I’ll do when I finish and I ended up going solo after
my father died very suddenly and he wasn’t ever going to come
with me on the boat but the people that I notionally
started getting together as a team they didn’t know my dad and so I thought well this has to be solo because I wanted it to be
in his memory and use it as a way to get through
that grief so that was really my first big journey and certainly independent,
totally independent and solo and it was whilst I was out there that I thought about what would happen next and certainly one of the things
that kept on playing in my mind was the idea of another journey a longer one, one that went across
all the other oceans and across land as well and so that was London to London via the world which took eighteen months to plan and bring together the sponsorship
and the team and the logistics and so on and then it took four and a half years
to complete it as well with many ups and downs in between but the essence of that journey was
to row and cycle and kayak a traverse of the northern hemisphere starting and finishing in London and I’ve always really loved
working with young people and I think that travel and the stories that people can
bring back from journeys are so powerful at inspiring and educating and just opening young people’s minds so that was a real thread to that journey was connecting with young people and
schools and then separately it was to raise money for charities so we raised about fifty thousand pounds in the end through the journey so it was
a really special if not slightly crazy expedition at times Well for me it’s about… I think a journey is a spectrum or
like a jigsaw puzzle with so many different things there’s so many different experiences
and emotions that you will go through in that time and definitely the positive, enriching, exciting, mind opening learning stuff definitely outweighs the challenges and even those challenges, I think, just give you so much in terms of
knowledge about yourself or strength or just insight really into
how to get the best out of yourself so it’s kind of a no-brainer to me I look at it now and it feels like it was a no-brainer. So part of the journey involved kayaking
for 1,500 miles through Alaska and a big part of that journey took us through areas where there were bears but in that part of very remote Alaska these coastal grizzly bears are really big and really quite curious as well because they don’t really see people that often and at this stage I talk about us because I was kayaking with another lady a really brilliant kayaker called Justine Gimborn we’d pulled ashore on this beach
at the end of a long day thinking “oh this looks good” we set up our tent and then went to the
back of the beach there was a little stream, a little brook running through there were salmon about that time of the year so we’d been told that if we came across
a stream, or brook or something we should check for salmon because the bears are gonna be feeding there and we looked in this brook there were no salmon and we thought that meant
“oh great there’ll be no bears here because they’ll be off hunting for salmon” hadn’t occurred to me that the salmon will come up and down with
the tide and that kind of thing and maybe a bear it’s just going
to be somewhere different anyway but we were both having a bit of a wash, a shower and then Justine left that stream area
and went back to the tent and I’m bent over washing my hair when I notice something walking down
the river towards me and for a split second I thought
it might be Justine and I looked up and there was this grizzly bear just “what are you doing, what are you doing?” and before that I’d imagined that my first face-to-face encounter with a bear would be this spiritual moment
and it would be quite special and I’d totally remember all the rules about what to do and how to behave. As it happened, I didn’t I squealed and flapped and turned to run I fell over and splashed at which point this bear who’s really curious comes running down the
river towards me and thankfully I was able
to get out onto the bank and get back to where the tent was screaming at Justine that there’s a bear and she says “what do you mean,
is there really a bear?” and of course there’s a bear and I arrive back and she’s just
filming with her video camera as I’m stood there naked and this bear is now sniffing all the clothes that I’d just left in the middle
there and it took quite a bit of shouting and
throwing rocks into the water to splash to get him to leave but that was definitely a very funny moment
afterwards if not at the time.>>Interviewer: Land or sea?>>Sarah: Sea>>Interviewer: This is going to be tough I think. Rowing cycling or Kayacking?>>Sarah: Oooh I can’t choose! I just can’t choose. though, if I’ve just said ‘sea’,
maybe I should say rowing a bike’s not much use out there.>>Interviewer: Lake District or Peak
District?>>Sarah: Lake District.>>Interviewer: Reading or writing>>Sarah: Im’ going to say writing>>Interviewer: Tea or coffee?>>Sarah: Tea>>Interviewer: How do you have it?>>Sarah: How do I have it? I’m all about the herbal
I like cutting up ginger and things. So my favourite YHA Hostel is Edale. It seems to have come up a lot of times in my life both for business, for pleasure, helping youngsters on
their own adventure trips but equally starting out with my own and so I’ve been there the most and it feels like quite a special place but hopefully now that I’m an ambassador and I get to go and stay in
more of the hostels and visit them then we’ll see maybe that’ll change in fact I’m staying there next month I’m gonna walk the Pennine way
next month and so I’m starting from Edale.>>Interviewer: Okay. I think that travel and adventure and the people that you meet
through those experiences and the way that you can
learn about yourself and the people that you’re with is so powerful just, unilaterally
it’s powerful for everybody and it’s almost like there’s no
negatives associated with that either and so the work that YHA does in
facilitating those things to happen be it with groups coming in, to go out from there with all of their activities and so on and also the charitable aims of YHA in terms of offering breaks
for young people and for families and so on it just feels like a really organic fit with what I believe in and so I’m really excited by being an ambassador.