Sometimes you read a book that changes your life… In the last year I have been fortunate to have read not one, but five books that have grabbed my imagination, inspired me, and ultimately have made me believe that I can take on my own big adventure.
Beware, as these tales of the adventures of ordinary people taking on some massive challenges are likely to inspire everyone to add a bit more adventure into their lives, but even if they don’t, they provide a rip roaring read!
Just a Little Run Around the World: Rosie Swale Pope
After losing her husband to cancer, Rosie rented out her cottage and set off on a solo run around the world in an effort to raise cancer awareness and deal with her grief. I was gripped on every page, not just by the adversity she faced, such as her encounters with wild animals and dangerous people, but above all by the kindness of the strangers she met, her exhilaration at the journey and the cathartic nature of running which allowed her to rediscover her love of life.
Four Mums in a Boat: Yorkshire Rows
Yorkshire Mums Frances, Helen, Janette and Niki dreamt of rowing the Atlantic and despite ordinary lives with full time jobs and eight children between them, they managed to make their dream a reality. This book really changed my perspective on what we can achieve when we put our minds to it and reminded me that being a parent doesn’t mean having to totally give up on our dreams of adventure.
Wild: Cheryl Strayed
After the death of her mother, the failure of her marriage and her descent into self destruction, Cheryl Strayed made an impulsive decision to walk 1,100 miles of America’s Pacific Crest Trail. Despite being a completely inexperienced hiker, she manages to survive (and thrive) in the wilderness and in the process pieces her life back together. Prepare to alternate between weeping and being inspired to get away from it all!
Beyond Impossible: Mimi Anderson
I have written a longer review of this inspiring book in which Mimi charts her journey from an unfit 36 year old who started running because she wanted thinner legs, to a top ultra runner and world record holder. However, the most compelling parts of the book tell the story of Mimi’s battles with anorexia and how running has allowed her to finally control her eating disorder. After reading her story I felt totally inspired and convinced that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to!
The Pants Of Perspective: Anna McNuff
Anna McNuff did not class herself as a ‘real’ runner, but that did not stop her setting out to run New Zealand’s 3,000km Te Araroa Trail. She might not have taken a GPS, but she did have a pair of unicorn running tights to see her through! Anna’s honesty about the challenges and her own failures is completely gripping and her zest for life shines out of every page. This book made me instantly want to go and run the length of New Zealand too, and set my mind whirring with ideas for my own big adventure!
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