I think many of us can relate to Caro Ryan’s path through life.
Caro wasn't physically active as a kid: “there’s always that one kid that’s left standing there, looking at their feet, feeling like shit basically….that was me.”
It’s hard to believe now but at the time, Caro’s experience of the outdoors was limited to walking from the car to the lookout and back or an easy, short stroll on a fire trail after a big Christmas lunch.
That was Caro’s life before she (voluntarily) signed up for a 3 day experiential leadership training course in the Australian bush when she was 21.
That course and experience not only changed the trajectory of her career but her life.
"It was one of those moments in your life when you can look back and you can identify it was…a pivot…the point my life had been going in one direction and I thought I could see the direction it was going to continue. But it was from that point that the direction changed."
A deep love, appreciation and connection to the Australian bush was born.
"For me, as a woman when I can physically push myself in a natural environment in the wildness, I feel a physical strength. I feel a mental strength. I feel connected to stuff much bigger than myself. In that space…you actually find how strong you can be."
Since then, Caro has gone onto become an avid bushwalker and guide.
She has been recognised as one of Australia’s top bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers) via her website www.lotsfreshair.com which she launched in 2012 after discovering a lack of relatable information on the internet from a supportive, female or even Australian voice.
Caro is also a member of Sydney Bushwalkers, a Search Leader with Bush Search & Rescue NSW and writes for various publications including my favourite magazine, Travel Play Live.
These days you can generally find her in Blue Mountains west of Sydney, often wearing her trademark red bandana (she’ll explain why in this episode).
In this conversation, we discuss:
* why she describes herself as the “unexpected outdoors chick”,
* her memories of sport at school as the “fat kid” who was always picked last,
* the 3 days leadership training course in the bush that changed her life,
* “red bandana girl” and what wearing a red bandana means to her,
* why spending time in nature is good for mind, body and soul,
* the stories we tell ourselves and how they limit us (including, in Caro’s case, that she “wasn’t a runner”),
* the importance of using words, labels and phrases (such as “I’m a runner”) before you believe them,
* the most common fears that hold people back from entering the bush, and how to manage them, and
* Why spending time in nature is so powerful for women.
Notes and resources:
"Hiking for Fitness and Weight Loss" ~ Caro's personal story on Lotsafreshair.com
Jo Bailey on Sparta Chicks Radio on Comparison, Resilience & Running