WOW! Wild Women On Top turns 10
Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick | Wild Women On Top | Life Changing Adventures
Returning from a breathtakingly wild Peruvian mountaineering adventure with three remarkable strong, funny, inspiring Wild Women has triggered my reflections on what has been an incredible journey.
Sixteen years ago, I was tired, wrung out, miserable and staring forty in the face. Add co-dependence and a few other suburban housewife traumas and this became a mid wife crisis.
My life sucked until a friend's personal trainer invited me to climb Mt Aconcagua, 6,972m, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
Today I’m awestruck by the power of a community of women sharing a common vision and all the wonderful adventures experiences we have shared. I never planned to create a social enterprise. In fact it was my biggest failures that led to the creation of a service which now creates global change. I feel blessed, humbled and incredibly grateful.
As a mountaineering novice I got fit and strong, experienced the highs and lows of an extreme challenge, feared for my life and met wildly adventurous people. I failed to reach the summit of Mt Aconcagua that first time, but I fell in love with wild adventure and its powers of exhilaration.
Then just after the birth of my third child, with baby in backpack, I started a hiking group called "FitFa-Adventure". I discovered that men weren’t interested in what we did, so I changed the name to "Mum's Kick Arse". Then, over Xmas bubbles at Clontarf our little group hatched our audacious Seven Summits goals.
But I had no idea what lay ahead.
What began as a way to escape the sadness of a broken marriage, support my children and reclaim my mental and physical health has become a global movement to transform lives.
Six years later, I met the fabulous Lisa Marshall, who shared my passion for helping women get fit, fabulous and prepare for Wild Adventures. Together we built a team of loving, nurturing, passionate women who also loved bringing smiles to the faces of women who dare to leap outside their comfort zone and into the wild.
Then in 2009, my plan to help mums stay fit and healthy over the summer holidays became a magical recipe for helping tens of thousands of women get fitter, stronger and happier by hiking. Together we created the Wild Women On Top Coastrek, 30-60km Team Trekking Challenge, proudly supporting The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Eight years later, over 17,000 people, mostly women, have trekked together for fun, fitness, friends and Fred, while restoring sight to over 650,000 people in developing nations.
There truly is nothing more fulfilling than transforming lives for the better; whether that be helping women find happiness through adventure or watching a blind mum peel off her bandages, weeping tears of joy as she sees her children for the first time. Partnering with TFHF has made this possible for over half a million people.
To each and every wonderful wild woman who has, over the past 16 years, brought kindness, wisdom, commitment and courage to achieving their own as well as community goals, I say thank YOU.
Wild Women On Top is now led by the amazing Tania Taylor and supported by the incredible Julie McCrossin, Adam Spencer, John Faulkner, David Fell, Carole Davis, Penny Tribe and Markus Schar. This team is supported by the tireless enthusiasm and commitment from Danae Griffith, Elaine Kindred, Skye Paton, Lara Leisegang, Pip Soulsby, Jules Holbrook, Donna Freak, Keith Marshall, Bella Westaway, Jane Denning, Sammy Page, Ann Jenkins and Alex Willis. Bringing passion to the trails, Wild Women On Top would be nowhere near as Wild without our fabulous coaches, Wanda, Jo, Roz, Nicola, Kel, Jacq, Lisa, Fuchsia, Millie, Vic, Jules and Katherine plus hundreds of Wild Women, partners & volunteers.
Happy Tenth Birthday Wild Women On Top.
Together we've developed a unique formula that energises, nourishes and transforms. Seeing the exhausted but exhilarated faces of our trekkers as they cross the Coastrek finish line, hearing the stories of excitement after arriving at Everest base camp or reading the testimonials from our girls after they return from Wild Walks, Wild Weekends, Wild Worlds, and even weekly Trek Training leaves us with no doubt.
Wild adventure transforms millions of lives. And I am still obsessed with sharing its benefits boldly and serving our tribe with passion. The adventure mindset makes us strong, resilient, youthful, energized, happy and healthy so we can kick arse at home, at work and in life.
We love helping women lead lives they love and hope you'll help us help more women experience the health benefits and natural exhilaration of Wild Adventure. Such is the power of team.
Thank you for being part of the change we all wish to see in the world.