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Learning to Slow Down and Choose Priorities – Living Adventurously #1

Claire Fuller is training to be an occupational therapist. She loves wild swimming and getting out onto the North Yorkshire moors for overnight camps. Finding the balance between being a busy working woman and a carefree adventurous soul can be difficult.

I spent a month cycling around Yorkshire, interviewing people along the way about their perspectives on trying to live more adventurously. I’d never interviewed anyone for a podcast before; Claire had never been interviewed.

But she did bake me flapjack and take me on a walk to the birthplace of Captain Cook. So I deemed this opening foray into the world of podcasting to be a success!

I was interested to talk to Claire about learning to commit, about adapting to a new career after many years roaming and dabbling, and the ups and downs of being a busy 27-year-old woman who loves the outdoors and adventure.

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Show Notes

  • If you enjoy listening to this episode over a cup of coffee and think it might be worth the price, you can buy me a coffee here: www. ko-fi.com/al_humphreys
  • Keep up to date with future episodes (and my other adventures, projects and books) with my free monthly newsletter: alastairhumphreys.com/more/subscribe
  • Say hello on Twitter and Instagram: @al_humphreys
  • Follow Claire on Instagram: soon to be occupational therapist making the most of the UK & Ireland’s natural wonders, wild dipping along the way…
  • Learning to slow down and choose priorities
  • Travelling the world made her realise that to be a true traveller she needed to know what was on her doorstep
  • Hitch-hiking round Ireland as a student pushed her boundaries but showed her so many amazing places

Transcript

Below is the transcription of our conversation. It’s done by AI so is perhaps a wee bit ropey here and there. If these transcripts prove sufficiently useful then I will make the effort to clean then up and make them better. Do let me know if you think it’s worth my time to do that. (Or, better still, do it for me…!). If you’d like to listen as you read along you can do that here:

https://otter.ai/s/aBVxKYX0RYqonZTQQMFkuw

Alastair Humphreys
Hello. This is the first time I’ve ever recorded a podcast.
Literally just take it out of the box and press go. And of course I want to start my podcast with a major hard hitting celebrity interview.
So, would you like to introduce yourself?

Claire Fuller
And yeah, my name is Claire. I live in Middlesbrough. And I thought that it would be great to meet Alastair to talk about living adventurously.

Alastair Humphreys
The reason I wanted to meet you is because you’re NOT a hard hitting celebrity, which is exactly what I wanted. I want to try and find normal people living interesting lives. And you live two minutes away from where Captain Cook was born. A Great Yorkshire adventurer. And that seemed like a good, good place to start. So what is your what’s your day job?

Claire Fuller
My day job is I’m a student, I’m training to be an occupational therapist.

Alastair Humphreys
And you like it?

Claire Fuller
I do. I love it. I love working with people and I love the flexibility and variety that we have for like peaceful therapists, the kind of people we work with.

Alastair Humphreys
Okay, but when when you first got in touch with me, one of the things she said was that you sometimes find it hard to be stuck indoors. So what have you done about being stuck indoors?

Claire Fuller
Yeah, so being a student means lots of time in the library or working in a hospital. And so basically every bit of free time I gotta try and get outdoors. Thanks to the concept of micro adventures I get I try and do the overnight camps when I can find a hill somewhere and company. I love wild swimming so I swim down in the river Tees just down the road whenever possible, not in the bit where there’s loads of pollution and industry but some nice bits further down. And in the sea when I can.

Alastair Humphreys
And you were out last night.

Claire Fuller
I was out last night. Yeah, yeah, I camped up by Roseberry Topping with beautiful views between there and Captain Kirk Cook’s monument. And the stars. I saw shooting stars. And it was a gorgeous night.

Alastair Humphreys
practising what you preach. So you also told me that you struggle a bit with trying to do too much in life, because life is so amazing. And you want to go here and there and do this and see this and do that. So how do you go about trying to find some sort of balance between work and play, earning money, being with your friends, balance,

Claire Fuller
I find the balance really hard. It’s something I’m really working on. But I’m a bit too excited and enthusiastic about life. Lots of my friends and family will tell you that. And yeah, I have a part time job to see me through my studies, I have money. I study a lot of my time. I volunteer. I’ve obviously got friends I want to see a lot. I’ve got a boyfriend and my family live far away. And I’m all about adventure. And so basically, there’s not enough hours in the day to do what I want to do. And I have to prioritise, which is unfortunate as studying is my priority. But whenever I’ve got their free time I do try and get out as much as possible and make sure that I go for a swim once a week and that keeps me keeps my head straight

Alastair Humphreys
So how do you get some sort of balance between living adventurously and not burning yourself out? How do you go about trying to get some sort of happy medium on that?

Claire Fuller
Good question. I’m still very much working on it. And I’m trying to learn to relax more. And sometimes it is nice to just stay in one place for a little bit rather always be racing about and wearing myself down. But I know that for me been nature’s day rejuvenating, and even if I am tired when evening, like last night, I’ve just finished work, I just finished a six day week. And I was just like the sun’s out, and I was gonna make you feel amazing if I go out tonight and then come back in the morning. And I did I mean I’m pretty tired now. But it’s just about thinking about a week ahead if I have got a pretty busy week or a stressful time ahead and just work out what my priorities are. And just try and try and slow it down. And I think it’s always going to be in my nature to do lots because I like to make the most of time and make most of my life but I’m just working on slowing it down a bit and just just gonna stick your face.

Alastair Humphreys
I Think that notion of trying to choose your priorities is the important thing. you can do anything you want, you can’t do everything. And what I’ve found is that trying to figure out the things that help keep me sane. So exercise, jumping rivers, sleeping on hills occasionally – to me doesn’t feel like a luxury indulgence. It’s something that is necessary. Not every day, but within certainly within the framework of say a month.

Claire Fuller
Yeah, I definitely my problem is that applies to every day.
But now it is about working out what is actually feasible because I think I do not self reflection. And I realise I’m very much like a big picture. Big, idealistic type person say unlike is possible. If it’s the most deeply it certainly isn’t. There’s another stretch myself a bit too hard. But yeah, it’s just trying to find that balance and the space we’re working on

Alastair Humphreys
we talked earlier about some of your travels, you’ve travelled a lot spent a year in Mexico travel around the Philippines. All over the world you’ve been on, like a typical, enthusiastic, personal wanderlust. But you also told me that you’ve started to travel closer to home, can you tell me why you’ve started to travel close to home and what you’ve noticed from it?

Claire Fuller
Yeah, so just from time abroad, and been really far from family and things, I suppose I realised I’ve seen all these amazing places around the world, which left me you know, memories for a lifetime, but I’m not as the scene close to home. And I thought if I’m really a traveller, and it really adventure, Surely you’ve got to know your own home country as well. And what’s what’s on your doorstep. So I’ve kind of made it my mission over the last four years since I got back from Mexico, to actually just get outside and see what’s there. So I spent a lot of time in Scotland and Ireland. And where I’m from originally, Devon West Country. And I moved up to the north eastern England here, Middlesbrough last year. So it just basically just try and get out and no matter the weather, just see what beautiful places around and see what’s what’s out there to explode. Because then there’s so many faces, it’s unbelievable what we’ve got here.

Alastair Humphreys
It takes going all the way around the world to realise all the things near to where you are. And so tell me about your the trip you did around Ireland, what the impact that had on you.

Claire Fuller
And yeah, it’s been about a year working in Ireland as an outdoor instructor. And then I had a few months to kill basically, before I was going to start university to do my masters. And I thought, What can I do with this time, and I left it to the last minute. And then I decided I’m just going to go over to the west coast of Ireland and see where it takes me didn’t really do any planning. I just took my 10 and I decided I’d go most of the way by hitchhiking wherever I could go basically, and I never hitchhiked a bit before but not much. And so that was pushing boundaries a little bit. And I just found so many amazing places. I ended up going from Galway on the west coast, all the way around to Belfast. And so it’s kinda like half the circumference of Ireland. And just just the people I met the place I saw it absolutely blew me away. And this was October November time. And despite like by the winter was coming, just the autumn colours are incredible. And it was almost more special because it was out of the tourist season and people were surprised to see me out travelling and really intrigued by why someone might be hits in on the west coast. It’s time again.

Alastair Humphreys
I’m glad to hear that these travelling adventures and close to home in having a an impact on us. One of the reasons I’m doing this bike ride around Yorkshire now is to try and figure out the idea of home and what what home means and travelling close to home. So what What does the word home mean to you? What’s it convey to you?

Claire Fuller
Good question makes you

high when you said I’m so rolling hills and the word Devon just popped into my head. And growing up, I was always all about escaping going as far as I could and growing up in your country. So it’s a bit like that. You just want to go to the cool places and be able to go to the cinema without Jimena

Unknown Speaker
and a half.

Claire Fuller
But it was it was leaving that made me really appreciate what is close to home and you know, it’s home, his family, friends, that place that you feel that you can be fully yourself but also the landscape that you love and you just that? Yeah, that just feels close to the house.

Alastair Humphreys
Yeah, definitely. Seriously nice. long way from where you’re having a new home. Good. Okay, time for a tougher big question. What’s your favourite cheese?

Claire Fuller
Question up to you.

Unknown Speaker
D I’ve asked that question. Cheese lover.

Claire Fuller
And Amy. Amy mozzarella.

Alastair Humphreys
Okay, another big question for you. What would be a two year old version of you advise you to do with your life?

Claire Fuller
That’s a great question.

Probably to slow it down and just go with the flow, enjoy life.

Unknown Speaker
And the day that I’m working on

Claire Fuller
what’s getting in the way too many exciting things to do at one time.

Alastair Humphreys
That’s a pretty nice, and the stresses of modern

Unknown Speaker
life. Okay.

Alastair Humphreys
So when I when I came up with this idea of doing this, what I thought I’d do is try and find some questions that I’m finding that I think are quite interesting. And stick them in a deck of cards and

Unknown Speaker
put them over to you to just take a card. Give me a wisdom to go pack or playing cards from the top.

Claire Fuller
No, I was gonna be this

Alastair Humphreys
is around the border. But my thinking is that

Unknown Speaker
today’s edition of

Claire Fuller
it ask your child itself he thought you would be now with the measure up?

And what three things with your younger self be proud of?

Wow.

I think I think charted me it was a little little Explorer. Him. He was very shy as a child. I think I wanted to. Yeah, I think I would measure up because, yeah, now I’m a lot more confident. And I’ve done a lot of the things I want to stay. Say I think a child itself would be quite crowds.

And free things to do. Be proud of

saying the people I’ve met

have contributed so much to you, I am as a person. So in fact, I’ve actually gone out and put myself out and met such wonderful people made such good friendships and Connexions.

Unknown Speaker
And

Claire Fuller
the place that some of the places have been quite proud of, and exploring, especially closer to home. And finding Yeah, finding, finding a path to live on working on it, but I’m getting there. So think about them

Alastair Humphreys
on the path. I think you’re doing pretty well as your eight year old self. You seem to be heeding her advice, and there were younger selves quite pleased to see you go quite well. Okay, next card.

Claire Fuller
D

what is stopping you from living more adventurous thing?

Probably just working a job and being a university and thinking about boring University things like dissertations.

But But I try. I think it’s like I said, it’s all about balance. So

Alastair Humphreys
I think you’re doing pretty well on squeezing and squeezing in the law, I think.

Unknown Speaker
Next,

Claire Fuller
Oh, I love these questions. What was your favourite failure in life? And why was important?

Some people would say that me I’m jumping about between over the past 10 years, I’ve probably had seven different career paths six or seven. And people are like, Oh, is it doing money going to sit with, you know, what you’re doing with your life. And I have gone in all these directions, and have stopped not not committed to things very young. But I’ve now found the place I want to be. So by making this wrong turns and going in funny directions on the side is actually taught me who I am and where I want to be. And if I hadn’t tried those things, then then I wouldn’t be I wouldn’t be on the right path. I think

Alastair Humphreys
I think it’s really hard to make choices of where you want to go in life because you have no idea. Firstly, where the end destination is, and you have no idea what you will be like in 10 years from now is it and I think quite often people get paralysed by thinking up. Well, I need to make a decision now that will be the right 110 20 3040 years from now, which is impossible. So I think I think you’re doing the right thing of just choosing the path that feels right now doing what the destination is where you’re choosing these paths for the right reason, though, feel. And the way you want to be

Claire Fuller
a man change my mind in a few years

Unknown Speaker
right now. And I think, well, I asked you about your occupation therapists

Alastair Humphreys
are training to me. Yeah. And I really got a sense that you’d like to change direction. But you seem to think you’re set on this one.

Claire Fuller
Yeah, yeah, this brings together random things I’ve done in the last few years and things I love doing, I feel that there is a way to bring it all together in the long run.

Alastair Humphreys
in certain directions to get there. It’s interesting is that how you do these random different things in life, which at times seem totally different. But each is exciting and you’re interested and curious about but they do seem a bit disconnected. And then eventually that jigsaw unfolds in our that’s how these pieces do fit together.

Claire Fuller
Yeah, exactly. And it’s just about being aware of that and linking them because yeah, I think we are everything can be connected. It’s just working out

Unknown Speaker
what’s right for you. And take another card.

Claire Fuller
Tell me about the last time you climbed a tree or swam in a river or watch the sunset from the hilltop saying like Alastair just mentioned earlier last night, I went up and I comes up by rays be topping and watch the sunset. sat in the tree.

And the tree.

So yeah, yeah, sorry. I yeah.

Unknown Speaker
That’s a good one. It’s last night. So what what what I’m, yeah, that’s good. Yeah,

Alastair Humphreys
I hope it’s always quite recent challenges it

Claire Fuller
might not be next year.

What does living adventurously mean to you? Has that definition change with time? What did it mean to you as a child? So, yeah, now living adventures, they definitely means something very different. So before now is about just appreciating what we have making the most of life, doing what you want to do following your passions. For me that’s being outdoors, just wild swimming more than anything. And come camping up the hill somewhere. But yeah, I suppose it’s about challenging yourself. And that could be small or big. So yeah, by definition, when I was a teenager, I thought let me of interest he was travelling to Southeast Asia or South America. Yeah, which is what I did my felt like I needed to do at that age. But now I realise that that’s not what I need to do is what’s meaningful at the moment.

Alastair Humphreys
I found it interesting myself to notice how the reason I asked that question is because my definition has changed so much over the last 20 years. But it took me quite a long time to accept that a changing definition of something doesn’t mean that your early one was wrong. You’ve worked, hopefully showing that you’ve grown and progressed a bit and said, You my early adventures, were all based around, trying to show how amazingly tough and mature I was. So yeah, it’s, it’s an evolving thing, isn’t it? And again, and that game goes again to you, you have no idea what it will meet you in. It is time, that it can all be something different, that it’s not, it shouldn’t be a reason to not do it.

Claire Fuller
It’s really about doing what you love. And it might not always be the easy thing, but challenging yourself together, wherever that may be.

Unknown Speaker
Next question.

Claire Fuller
What did he think that being aged 27? Why now? What’s going to be like? What is that today? Like? I remember being a teenager, I was the favourites and to my friends, I think in 10 years, we’re going to be married and have kids by now. That was probably about 16. Then say I suppose I thought maybe I thought that that’s what my friends were thinking of, I think deep down, I knew I’d be a bit of a, I don’t like to follow the crowd and do what everyone else wants to do. So I had no idea what I was going to make as I’ve never make my mind up. And

Alastair Humphreys
what is life is to seven year olds. Like

Claire Fuller
think

it’s about trying to find the balance and reflect on my life more and where I want to be maybe I suppose I didn’t expect I didn’t expect it towards go back to university. But yeah, so it’s just my priority to make sure I’m doing what, what makes me happy.

Alastair Humphreys
And what was it like being a 27 year old woman try to go out and have adventures?

Claire Fuller
Good question. Well, we have we have recently, it’s people will see it as a bit shocking. Because a lot of people in the area I live in you settled down by now with with children, and so on. Yes. Do they think they think I’m amazing? I found people with similar interests and same time I embrace it people. people still think it’s interesting.

Unknown Speaker
I mean, does it bother you?

Alastair Humphreys
Doing Stuff that not everyone else is doing? So the notion of being a weirdo? Does that bother you? Like, do you like it? Or does this does it stop? You

Claire Fuller
know, now the notion of being really doesn’t stop me because I’ve always liked going against the title of it and being a bit different. But what does Why do you struggle with this when people don’t do what they say they want to do so and people and I want to go to the beats and then just like on the border? Do I really want to do that I’d love to go to China. And I really struggle when people don’t act on what they want to be doing. So people often say to me, I’d love to go out and come somewhere I’d love to going to bike ride, okay, while it’s women, that yes, I am quite interested in finding out people’s motivations behind things and and it’s almost like it’s, it’s a bit of a mission for me to help people to achieve what what they say they want to do.

Alastair Humphreys
So what is it that stopping these other 27 year old women who are going to do these things that they say I’d love to do this? But it’s because that’s something I hear all the time? Yeah. And that’s been one of the things that tipped me from going from someone who likes and ventures into someone who started trying to write and do debut podcast is exactly I’d love to do this. I’d love to do this. But and so what is it that stops was the but the 27 year old women you hang out with.

Unknown Speaker
Um,

Claire Fuller
I think one thing is fear, fear transmission, you know, even just speak my age and a people have moved the last five years or so you’ve said they’d love to do this and that, but it’s it’s been fear that stopped them getting out there. And thinking nice, they don’t have the right equipment, or they, they they’re just not the right kind of person for that even if it’s a massive dream of theirs.

There’s something else not forgotten.

Sometimes not having the similar kind of similar minded people around. And it often takes someone who’s doing something that you’d like to do to encourage you and get you out there. Before you do it. Thanks. It’s a massive thing to just be like for the first time I want to just get come from that hill on a when you don’t know anyone in your area that’s done it,

Unknown Speaker
or none of your

Claire Fuller
friends or family have ever done it. So I think it’s often people and and just that fear and lack of confidence.

Alastair Humphreys
And so then

I’m interested to know your the question I’m going to ask you is how to how should they come out and get on with it? And the reason I’m asking you that is because I’m often hesitant. When people ask me, How do I go sleep on the hill, my instinct is shot,

Claire Fuller
Oh, it’s so easy to just go and do it. And that’s

Alastair Humphreys
the reason it’s easiest, because I’ve been doing it for 20 years of my life. So and because I’m a man. And and you know, basically everything for me is easy in terms of go sleep on that hill. So how do you encourage people not to not to literally sleep on a hill. But these all of these things if I’d love to do this, but the reason I was interested to talk to you, because it was apparent that you seem to manage to overcome those barriers, which will often get stuff done. So what would be your advice to the 27 year old women who are struggling with that?

Claire Fuller
I’d say break it down. So it’s not necessarily guns, they’ve run around them heal it, if you wanted to go camp out Chaitanya garden first. So get a few friends around, break, break it down into achievable things, basically, in order to get there and look for groups in your area, even if you don’t know someone, and there’s bound to be someone around. And that’s what I found here. When I first moved. I struggled to find people that were interested in similar things, but then I got involved in certain groups and then I realised Oh, there’s loads of people that you actually have to go out and look for them. So even if that’s during the Facebook group, so like the adventure queens Facebook group was amazing. And there’s there’s loads of Facebook groups on meetup groups and seeing what other people are doing can inspire you to do that. But also thing is try and break it down into smaller, more achievable tasks. Okay, that’s

Unknown Speaker
very wise answer. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker
Right. I got time for one more card. If it’s a good one

Claire Fuller
planet Okay, nice.

What advice can you give me when I look back on my life was satisfaction rather than regret. So that’s an

Unknown Speaker
excellent one

Alastair Humphreys
advice me declare. never met before you kindly invites him for tea and flat jack,

Unknown Speaker
on a Sunday on my bike ride. I feel like this would be nibbling around.

Claire Fuller
Just follow your dreams and passions. And that sounds super cheesy. to really find out what is meaningful to you. Find out what you’re passionate about what you love, and gives you purpose. And do that. Find a way to do that even if it’s just 10 minutes every Monday. Find a way to incorporate that into your life and spend time with the people that you love.

People loving connexion, I think.

Alastair Humphreys
Thank you very much, Claire. Thank you. You’ve been my first ever podcast guest. I hope all podcast guests give me flat jack. One day you’re going to be an international mega star for this podcast.

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