Everyone lands somewhere on the doer-ditherer scale. I like to think of myself as more of a doer, but that’s just wishful thinking - in reality I’m often more of a ditherer. To be fair, it’s easily done. We can all conjure up images of ourselves conquering mountains, exploring the high seas and descending into deep caverns instead of actually getting off our rears and doing something. If you’re totally honest, you’ve probably dabbled in some dithering yourself. Hey, I’m not one to judge! I’m a dithering master, a prince of procrastination, a legend of lethargy - but I don’t want to be…

Freya Hoffmeister - Think Big



I always seem to be surrounded by people who live such active lives; it comes with the territory of working in the leading independent outdoor shop in the UK. Our staff have been on some pretty impressive adventures - you’ll have to check them out in our blog - and I’m often left feeling inspired by their stories. But even they can sometimes feel as though they’re not pushing themselves far enough. It’s human nature, I suppose, to feel like we could be doing more, that we’re not living life to its fullest. There’s one person, though, who’s really grabbing life by the short ones!

Freya Hoffmeister, born 10th May 1964, also known as “Freya Shakti” or “Goddess of Love to the Seas“, is a highly-skilled open ocean kayaker who, among many other achievements, has undertaken the two world’s greatest timed sea kayaking continental circumnavigations - try saying that after a few drinks - not to mention holds numerous island records. She’s kayaked around Iceland faster than anyone else, around New Zealand’s south island faster than anyone else - and the first woman to do so - and did a solo, unsupported race around Australia in just 11 months... she’s definitely a doer!

On the 13th of February, Freya’s coming to Up and Under to give a talk on the last big adventure she finished, where she circumnavigated South America in 30 months for her ‘Think Bigger’ trip. Before going on to tackle North America in the coming year, I wanted to speak to her about why she’s so drawn to the open sea. “It's about the unknown,” she told me, “you never know what’s going to happen around the next corner, in the next five minutes.” I think she’s neatly summed up that nagging feeling we all have inside of us. It’s that sense of mystery, that inherent intrepidness that calls all would-be adventurers to the great outdoors, whether you’re a paddler, climber or walker, the horizon is always beckoning. But how do we answer when we feel we have no more space in our lives for adventure?

Freya Hoffmeister - Think Big

“If there is no space, make space!” declares Freya, “If it doesn't fit, make it fit! The world is not falling to your feet without effort.” Her passion is not only infectious, it removes all excuses. It’s easy to blame our lack of adventures on our jobs or other commitments, but Freya doesn’t, nor is paddling her only passion. On top of everything she's accomplished on the seas, she has 10 years experience of competitive gymnastics, five years of competitive bodybuilding, came sixth in the Miss Germany beauty contest, has 10 years of skydiving experience, including skydiving over the North pole, is a business entrepreneur with over 30 years worth of experience and is also a mother to her son, Helge… AND breathe!

How does she do all this? “A standstill is a step back,” explains Freya, “Never stop starting, never start stopping. You should always give 110%.” She certainly practices what she preaches.

As I said at the beginning, I’m inspired by the people who work around me, and they in turn are inspired by people like Freya. Inspiration is a huge part of why we do what we do here in Up and Under. We don’t want to just sell the best kit available, we also want to inspire people to use it and be inspired ourselves. That’s why we host events like these where we can get real adventurers like Freya to share their stories and help inspire budding adventurers to push themselves to their limits, discover new heights and many more cliches that I can’t quite think of right now.

Freya Hoffmeister - Think Big

So please, if you’re like me and are in need of inspiration, come meet Freya. Hear about her adventures around South America. Learn what it takes to be a true adventurer. It doesn’t matter if you’re not into paddling, there’s something to be learned for any explorer. Stick around and talk to the people around you and hear their stories and tell a few of your own - then maybe buy something...

Buy tickets for Freya Hoffmeister at Up and Under in Cardiff here!

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