If We Want Our Girls To Adventure, We Need To Show Them How
By the Wild Women On Top team
Wild Woman Rachel Anderson has a goal. It's to inspire, and be a positive role model for, her teenage daughter Anna. The pair have a close bond, one that's kept strong through open communication and adventure challenges. They sail, climb and explore together, forging life-long memories outdoors.
Rachel wants to show Anna how exhilarating it feels to be out in nature. In the age of social media and reality TV, she wants to teach her daughter that you're so much more than your appearance. And Rachel is leading by example.
Your daughter has just entered her teenage years. Tell us about your relationship with her. What do you want her to learn from you?
I am lucky enough to have a gorgeous daughter who is happy to chat to me about anything because we have a close, trusting relationship. I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that as long as we can talk, we will be ok.
I try to get her to push herself outside her comfort zone and take some risks, so I persuade her by saying: "I didn’t get a chance to do these activities when I was young" so she has to try them - preferably with me! So far, we have been kayaking, sailing, skiing, snorkelling, surfing and rock climbing. Next on our list is abseiling, horse-trekking and, of course, doing a trek together in the wild.
You’re travelling to India next year. Is there a hiking adventure that’s at the top of your bucket list?
I can’t wait to show India to Anna as I have been there quite a few times. I want her to see the amazing vastness, colours and clashes of cultures that confront you everywhere in India.
As for my bucket list, how many buckets can I have? I'm lucky enough to have travelled to many countries, but that doesn't stop me from having permanent wanderlust. Where do I want to go? Anywhere that's wild, untamed and the road less travelled.
You’ve done seven Coastreks, an amazing achievement. What do you love about Coastrek? What keeps you coming back?
In 2020, I'm planning to complete another two or three Coastreks so I can end the decade with 10! My Coastrek experiences, since my first 60km challenge in 2015, have been so different. The first Coastrek was a hard, painful slog. The most recent 60km Adelaide Coastrek challenge in September was a fun-filled, but still tiring, trek. That difference reflects why I keep coming back.
My amazing journey with Wild Women means that each time I do a walk, I get something new and different from Coastrek. It might be because I'm getting fitter and stronger (I hope so!) or because the scenery is constantly changing along the gorgeous coastlines of Australia. It could also be because of the fabulous people I've walked with over the years, who have shared their lives with me.
You feel particularly connected to Beyond Blue, why does walking for mental health mean so much to you?
Beyond Blue does incredible work in our community and I think the partnership with Coastrek will help take it to the next level in Australia, so I'm very happy to support this cause with fundraising and promotion. Mental health issues impact all of us, directly and indirectly, so I'm sure I'm not alone in having both close friends and family members who have experienced anxiety and depression. I have seen how getting outdoors and going for a walk or a run in the bush, or on the beach, can help in managing this day-to-day.
What’s the best hiking advice you ever received?
Look after your feet with good socks and trekking shoes! And always have some talcum powder in your bag.
Has Rachel inspired you to get out in nature? Grab your daughter, sister, mum or bestie and join us on an adventure!