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Frankie Dewar  0:00  
Today is the 16th of August is day two of the trip. We are in Chandlers Ford just outside of Winchester. And I'm here I've been saying your name shady is 

Shadi  0:12  
shadi "Shardi", 

Frankie Dewar  0:13  
Shadi? I'm so Sorry.

Shadi  0:15  
All right, my friends call me shady. I won't go into why. 

Frankie Dewar  0:22  
Hello, and welcome to the extraordinary ordinary womxn podcast, sharing life's adventures. My name is Frankie. And this is a podcast where I interview extraordinary ordinary womxn and non binary folx as part of it 3000 kilometers cycle around England, Wales and Scotland. interviewing people older than myself, to show you that you don't just have to do it whist your young. You'll hear all about their adventures and what they get up to, as well as their answers to my big life questions. Like what does authenticity mean? Did you have a clear sense of direction through life? And what advice would you give to your younger self? This is Episode Four, where I speak to Shadi Ganjavian Connor. You might remember that after Episode Three, I left you cycling from Soraya's house to Shadi's house. Luckily, I got there with no more bike trouble. In this episode, I talk to Shadi about starting mountaineering in her mid 40s Shadi is ticked off some pretty impressive peaks, despite a fear of heights. Shadi was the first person I interviewed from the post that I made on the adventure Queen Facebook page. I was so excited when she replied to the post, especially as her facebook profile is full of mountains, and all the news about her trip to the Arctic in 2022. We recorded this episode in her garden, you can sometimes hear traffic people in the background, that it is very infrequent. I hope you enjoy this conversation and find it as inspiring as I did. 

Frankie Dewar  2:15  
always forget to do this. But just before we start, are you happy to say how old you are? 

Shadi  2:18  

Frankie Dewar  2:19  
How old are you?

Shadi  2:20  
I have to work this out. 45 I say that? Because my children and Tim when it's my birthday, they always say that I'm like a different age to mess with my mind. So then I forget how old I am. So like the other week I told somebody I was 47. But I'm not. I'm 45

Frankie Dewar  2:36  
I didn't really celebrate my birthday. Like I celebrate my life, but I just didn't really celebrate my birthday. I mean, I just don't really like I think I want to make every day special. Yeah, so I don't really like the idea of making your birthday like this one day, there has to be perfect. Oh, no,

Shadi  2:55  
yes. No, I don't do that either. But I do celebrate it because I think I've lost so many friends along the way. I think yes. I made it another year

Frankie Dewar  3:03  
completely. I celebrate it with gratitude. And yeah, I don't tell anyone. It's my birthday.

Shadi  3:07  
Oh, right. Okay.

Frankie Dewar  3:08  
So because of that, I always forget that it has been my birthday. So I keep telling people that I'm 25 and that's not the truth

Shadi  3:17  
awesome love it.

Frankie Dewar  3:19  
For people that don't know you. Could you please give us like a snapshot of who you are and what you do.

Shadi  3:24  
Yeah. Who am I? That's the eternal question. I don't really know who I am. But in a sort of like, summarized way, I suppose. My backgrounds, marketing and PR. I got married, had two children, and dedicated my life to charitable projects. Anything that needs help, I'm basically there. And I realized that I've run out of half marathons, tough mudders and these sort of physical challenges that are like, big, but I've been there done it. So then I thought to myself, I have got to do something that's really out of my comfort zone, something that I really wouldn't normally do. So I decided to take up mountaineering in my early 40s. So not so long ago. I think I was 42 41 42. Yeah, something like that. And so I decided I was going to climb Mont Blanc. I didn't know anything about Mont Blanc. I basically just about knew where it was. And I had to raise 15,000 pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and I trained to climb on Blanc arrived at Mont Blanc, I realized that I needed crampons didn't even know what crampons were, what an ice axe was, did that raise the money, got invited to lots of schools to talk about this amazing quest of climbing a mountain having never done anything like that. And then subsequent to that, I've climbed a few more mountains and I don't like heights. I hate heights. I don't like the cold and I I don't really like taking risks massively, but I like the feeling of being out of my comfort zone. And working it out sort of gives me wings and pleasure to sort of resolve a problem. And then when I attach it to a charitable project, it gives me purpose. So the reason why I'm doing it is for the charity. But then I'm gaining from it through personal growth. So I've subsequently done Kilimanjaro, I took a team of 20 novices with me, I decided I'm going to share the love and I'm going to place an advert and look for some women and take some women. So I took these 20 girls, and it was just awesome experience. I've done Elbrus have done the Matterhorn and yeah, and basically, it's gone from that to again to the North Pole in 2022. Wow, yeah. So yeah, so that's why I am I'm just a normal woman, who has two children and responsibilities, but decided that actually, my greater purpose is mankind. And I like to share my story of having broken the mold, because a lot of the people that I meet go, Well, what about your children? You know, in fact, I have to say this story, because last year, I think it was, somebody sent me an email saying your children are really suffering because you keep on going away. And it came from a good place. But when I asked my children, like this parent at the school sent me this email saying that you're suffering because I go away, they turn around and said, No, we are super proud. You know, you are like a totally unique mom. Most of the other mums stay at home or have a part time job. We like the fact that you go on these trips, why would we suffer? So? I think people sometimes judge unnecessarily, perhaps. But as a woman, I feel that I should do what I feel like I should do rather than conform, if that makes sense. I don't want to conform.

Frankie Dewar  7:06  
I literally don't know which part of that to dive into. But I get to go to the North Pole bit. First, What are you doing?! 

Shadi  7:14  
Yes. So

Shadi  7:16  
there's a lady that I've been following for quite some time, called Felicity Aston, you've probably heard of her. She's a scientific Explorer. She's just a phenomenal woman. And she's very much about inspiring other women to reach their goals and the stars and not sort of a middle ground. And she's run several expeditions that I've wanted to go on and just missed out. And I thought, right, this time, I'm going to be quick. And I'm going to apply to this expedition really quick. And so I applied, and she accepted me in the middle of lockdown, which was totally crazy. And the project's not just to go to the North Pole. You know, I said that my, my aim is to have a purpose in what I do. And this is a scientific expedition, where coring the ice, and those cores of ice, again, to be used for science to see what's happening with the sea ice,

Frankie Dewar  8:13  
how long will the expedition take?

Shadi  8:15  
so I think all in all, the trainings, probably 10 days or so. And then three weeks, yeah, total, which will be amazing. But what's really peculiar about this is that normally you go on a polar expedition, and you start with a really heavy load, and you get to your destination, and you have no load, we actually are going to start off at around 80 kilos, and we may finish over 80 kilos, because we will then put the ice in isolators and carry it. So it's not getting any lighter. And what's really awesome is we're six women, none of us know each other, which is super cool. We sort of met on zoom like everybody else has been doing over this period. And I met two of them yesterday in London, and it was just crazy. We like escaped and that we all get on so well. It's quite scary. Everyone's just Yeah, really cool. That's so exciting. No one's been on the ice before other than Felicity, of course. We're all in it for the greater cause, which is climate change.

Frankie Dewar  9:23  
And learning it together as you go.

Shadi  9:24  
Yes. And then sharing it with schools and businesses and whoever will have us to share our experiences. So

Frankie Dewar  9:31  
yeah, amazing. And what sort of preparation are you doing now before?

Shadi  9:34  
Well, lots of seeking sponsorship because obviously it's an expensive trip.

Frankie Dewar  9:39  
So going back to when you first did Mont Blanc 

Shadi  9:44  

Frankie Dewar  9:45  
Doing it with no experience. Yeah. How did you get into it? What did you do?

Shadi  9:51  
Yeah, so I, I don't know. I just that seems such a long time ago on blog. I mean, I didn't even understand how layering works. That's how nervous I was, you know, people are like mid layer top layer in our site, what are you talking about God again, I just threw myself into it. Thank you. I'm sort of, I've discovered that I'm not a planner. I just go, I'm gonna do something. And I say yes. And then I work out how I'm going to do it. So whether it be at the funding or be it, how am I going to get there? or What am I going to do with my children? What will my husband say? I mean, half the time. You know, a lot of women that I speak to, they say, Well, you know, I need to check with my husband, I need to check with my wife. I don't do that. I just say yes, immediately. And then I doubt any of the sort of asking questions later. And then I think when you do it that way, you just are more committed to having to pull it off. Mont Blanc, I just said, I'm going to climate I had to climate I was raising 15,000 pounds for Southampton, Teenage Cancer Trust. I mean, these are kids that are like suffering with one of the worst possible starts to life. And I just think I've got to do something. And climbing a mountain surely is easy compared to their treatment. So the whole time I was like, right, get over it. You know, your cold. Yeah, big deal. Get over it, you know, just this sort of internal conversations, and then constantly telling myself, you know, what is the worst that's going to happen? You're gonna go there. You might not make the summit. But you've given it a go, would it not be worse to sort of sit back and go, I wish I'd done that. I wish I tried that. So I sort of feel myself with that. And the Mattahorn, which is totally a different kettle of fish. That was raising money for the a&e department at Southampton general. So we had to raise a total of 500 half million pounds, half of which was match funded by the government. But that was just that was quite hairy and scary. You know, I mean, yeah, it's just it's not quite your Montblanc, but I went from that to the Matterhorn. Yeah. And then you sort of get the bug and you understand the equipment, and you realize that being outside is so much nicer than being indoors and that your mind just switches off when you're outside. You don't have to think about the small inane nonsense that we feel ourselves with day to day, because you're away from everything. And when you're sort of high on a mountain and you look down, you just realize how little everything else is, as you rightly know. So then I got totally hooks and yeah, I thought Elbrus Yeah, why not? I'm going to go to Russia, and I'm going to go north face. I'm never going north face on any mountain again. That's all I say. Yeah,

Frankie Dewar  12:47  
I mean, that's a quite a step up. Isn't it from Mont Blanc? Yeah. never put crampons on to elbrus north face 

Unknown Speaker  12:54  
Yeah. So that's all happened in three years. All of all of what I've just explained to you has happened in three years. It sort of sounds like a bit of a midlife crisis. Just admit. But um, yeah, so Elbrus was good. We had really bad weather. We missed the summit by 100 meters, because all our all our water it frozen. I mean, we were in the mother of all storms. Yeah, we lost to Team team members in the sense that they had to turn back and that is really bad for morale. Yeah, we had no water, we hallucinate it. It was just one of those. And so we made the right decision to just call it a day, 100 meters from the summit, came down the south side, got into the hut, and then thought, we're going to have a little bit of asleep. And then try again, we've got this tiny little window the next morning to try. And so that's what we did. But I mean, it took a mammoth effort to do that. Because we weren't just destroyed. I mean, days upon days of not sleeping and being caught. Yeah.

Frankie Dewar  13:58  
Did you do it?

Shadi  13:59  
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. When you know how hard it is to get a visa to get into Russia, you would do anything to not go back? I'm not coming back to do this. It was so hard to get the visa. So yeah, it was unfinished business. Yeah, had to be done. Really, honestly, I can't tell you how deep we had to dig to do that, because we were broken. And it was so cold, you know, minus 27 days on end, you know, it takes it out of you having, you know, we're not used to that sort of conditions. And then I think one of the things that holds me back a little bit is I'm vegan. And on these trips, of course, you become a bit flexitarian and then your gut isn't too happy with you because it's like what do you do so then it brings another layer of issues.

Frankie Dewar  14:51  
I'm usually vegan and just definitely helped myself to chocolate biscuit.

Shadi  14:56  
Right? Yeah, that's the problem as soon as you start eating something, that's out of your range. I didn't know you were vegan, I would have given you a vegan something or other got those things in the cupboard?

Frankie Dewar  15:09  
Wow. Yeah.

Frankie Dewar  15:10  
So how did you learn all those skills that you then needed for the Northface?

Shadi  15:17  
Um, I think just by doing other climatization peaks along the way, and certainly the north face. I mean, we had a really, uh, two really good Russian guys who know the mountain and they understand what's going on. But of course, because it's the north face, you can't predict the weather. I mean, the wet weather window said it was going to be glorious. And these sort of things you cannot predict it was totally the opposite to what it was predicted? Yeah, I think just the mountains in between. That's where I picked up the skills. I think the biggest skill that you need for any sort of project is grit. And that sort of tenacity to sort of not give up and to say, Yes, I think that's the big, that's the hardest thing. Once you're committed to doing something, you find a way of doing it anything in life like that. I think, if you really believe that, you would say yes to everything that comes your way. I mean, it's not every day that somebody says, Do you want to come to the north pole and , you say, yes, you know, I don't know what I'm going to do how I'm going to train. I've got those two tires. I don't know whether you saw them on the way round around the side of the house. That's the training, but I have no idea what I'm going to do with them yet, but I'll work it out. I've got two years to check it out. I think, to anyone listening, I would always say Just say yes. Even if it fills you with fear, just say yes. Even if you don't have the money, just say yes. Just go and say yes. And then work it out. It always works out. Somehow.

Frankie Dewar  16:45  
Has the outdoors always been a part of your life.

Shadi  16:48  
Yes. So I grew up in Austria, and my parents used to we used to go skiing every weekend. I mean, I was on the slopes. My first skis. I don't know how old I was. But I've certainly on the black runs when I was three. So yeah, I mean, I was a really quite good skier. And then I've traveled quite a lot with my parents and my parents really like hiking and being outdoors. I mean, nothing long distance, which is what I've got into. So I love anything that's endurance based now. But yes, I think from an early age, my parents would encourage being outside. And of course, we didn't have the level of technology that kids have now that sort of distracts them. But even my children, I drag them out all the time and try and spend as much time outside because I think it's just so good for your mind. Just not being stuck inside. I love being outside.

Frankie Dewar  17:45  
Is it something that's always been part of your life throughout your life? Has it sort of fluctuated

Shadi  17:51  
definitely fluctuated. So in my 20s, no, not at all. It's sort of come out again, in my 40s, I'd say that I've sort of early 40s that I've sort of started going back outside and doing insurance things like 100 K, you know, running around the Isle of Wight, or going from London to Brighton, things like that. I think some of it came from perhaps after having children, as well, because you obviously put on a lot of weight as a woman and you just think I need to shift some of this way, how am I going to do it and you start running and you know, taking up a variety of different sports. One of the things that I was really keen doing before kids was diving. So I've sort of been a diver throughout and done a lot of that in the Red Sea and lived out there for Tim and I lived out there for nearly six, six and a half years in the Sinai desert. So yeah, I suppose I've always been outdoorsy, but more so now and more sort of extreme now. But because I like that mental Battle of wanting to give up and not giving up.

Frankie Dewar  18:56  
And have you ever experienced any barriers get into the outdoors?

Shadi  19:00  
No, not at all. I think the one thing that I've experienced, and this is not my own personal thinking, but I think a lot of the girls that I've met along the way that I've sort of encouraged to come on long distance hikes with me, people always think that you need to be super fit to sort of do these sort of things. And you really don't need a pair of good quality boots to protect your feet and just do it and keep doing and not go from, you know, two kilometres to wanting to do 15 because they think oh, I'm just going for a walk. It doesn't work like that. 15 kilometres is a long way. So you really need to build up on that. Yeah, I think the any sort of barriers in people's minds, but I've certainly not fought like that. I just think Yeah, just do it . 

Frankie Dewar  19:49  
I see where you're coming from like a lot of people ask me like what sort of training I've done and how fit am I and all these things and at the start of lockdown. I was doing a lot of exercise but at the end of lockdown I had a full time job like, like, over the top full time job, I just had no time. So I've not prepared at all, I'm probably at the least fit. I've been this year that you just get started and you build it up along the way. And yeah, it works out fine it Yeah, 

Shadi  20:16  
it does. Yep. 

Frankie Dewar  20:18  
How have you found time to sort of fit it in alongside your children? I think something that we talked about a little bit earlier, but yeah, can you

Shadi  20:26  
so I'm really committed to it. So you know, like how you might put an appointment in your diary for me my appointments with myself, and it's in the diary. And you could contact me and you could be the CEO of Landrover, and you want to speak to me about sponsorship, and I will say to you, that I cannot meet you at the time that in my diary, I'm training. So that's how strict I am, I will look in the diary. And I generally have the mornings, hour and a half, two hours, whatever I want to do. And I've got a dog. So I've always got to walk my dog, and I'm an early riser. So I too like to be up about half five. I don't always do it. So locked down, slowed me down a little bit, just because I became quite lazy. I think everyone became a little bit lazy to just because. Yeah, it's the way it goes. But before lockdown, certainly I was like 530 up. By 10 o'clock. I've done like a two hour training and I've walked the dog clean the house and do you know done loads of things. So it's time to sit down and rest? So yes, I'd say to anyone who wants to sort of get fit and feel physically Well, you need to make an appointment with yourself and not tell others what it is. Because often, you might say to a friend, they say, Oh, you know, you come in for coffee after dropping off the kids to school or whatever it is. And you go, No, I'm going to the gym. And they'll be like, Oh, come on, you know, and you think Well, no. But if you don't tell them what it is, no one's going to say, Oh, come on,

Frankie Dewar  21:59  
completely. And then when you're doing that you're investing and committing? Yeah. to yourself. Yeah. How do you fund these trip? What do you do? Hmm.

Shadi  22:09  
So I'm very good at getting money out of businesses, really kind businesses who believe in what I'm doing. Some of its self funded, because that's the way it is, you know, I think often people think that these great companies out there pay for you to go on these trips, it doesn't work like that most of my trips have been paid for myself. And then my sponsors, really are sponsoring the cause. And what they get out of it is the fact that then I go to schools and businesses and talk about the trip and they get the exposure and they get lots of content that I just organically create for them, I suppose. I mean, I haven't got like hundreds of 1000s of followers, I think I've probably got like 500 or 600 I mean, nothing. But I'm not actively looking to make that big either. That's not what I'm about. I just like reaching people physically. So my passionate children, schools, physically seeing the children talking to them about my trip, hearing their amazing questions. You know, they see me and they're like, you're so and so's mom. And you're doing this, wow, if you can do that, then I can, you know, and then the heads write to me. And they're like, you know, this child who is very timid, he's really got inspired by what you're doing. And he's cycling for Macmillan, you know, whoever, and raising money for this amazing cause. And because of that, he's made friends because he's now got this passion, which is biking, or whatever it is. And so that makes me feel really excited. And also hearing and seeing other girls that I know or I've met along the way who like, shorty if you're doing it, can I come with you? And yeah, I think that's just perfect for me.

Frankie Dewar  23:51  
Seems like a ripple effect.

Shadi  23:53  
Just feel so good. Yeah.

Frankie Dewar  23:56  
Have you always gone into schools? How did you start 

Shadi  23:59  
No I hate public speaking

Frankie Dewar  24:01  
I was gonna say cuz you talk about it now as if you're really confident is the thing you love the most.

Shadi  24:06  
Now I'm all about doing the things that you hate. I think anything you really, really hate. Anything that fills you with fear is what you should be doing. That's a sign for me. That's a sign. This is like going back to the mountains. I don't like heights. So I climb mountains. I don't like the cold. So I put myself in cold environments. I don't like public speaking so public speak. I don't really like to be judged, perhaps by other women and things. So I put myself in that position. I just think you know what, got nothing to lose. So all the things that I potentially fear and would technically really hold you back and go, that that's not my safety space. I don't like being in the safety zone. I like being in this sort of uncomfortable space because it gives you wings.

Frankie Dewar  24:52  
And then when you overcome that, yeah, all of a sudden you see all these other things that you can also overcome to

Shadi  24:58  
Yeah, often that sort of The fear is actually just something that you've been telling yourself, like, you know, the public speaking. I don't want to do that, because I might sound stupid, or what would they think of me? Or what if they asked me something that I can't answer? I don't know the answer go. I don't know the answer. I mean, so what I mean? Yeah, it's just our minds hold us back.

Frankie Dewar  25:26  
I want to talk a little bit about your journey, how's your journey shaped who you are now? Hmm.

Shadi  25:33  
I've always been a little bit sort of thrill seeker, I suppose. So it's not like I'm totally different to what I used to be like when I was really young. But the thing that I've really learned is, I suppose, not living in that fear zone. When I was a teenager, and in my 20s, I was all about planning, you know, so I'm going to Yeah, to my levels, I'm going to go to university that I'm going to, you know, get this degree that I'm going to get this job, then I'm x, y, Zed, I think it's nice to have a little bit of a plan, but not a rigid one. And just go with the flow. Because ultimately, you will end up where you're meant to be. So this is where I was meant to be that I wanted to conform and follow the system. My earliest dream was to be an astronaut. So that's what I wanted to do, or become a teacher. Those are the sort of jobs so think about it Explorer, discovery, sharing, teaching those sort of things. And really what I'm doing now, is what I was dreaming of as a child, but my dreams were sort of influenced by the adults around me with things like, you know, astronauts, really not the right career for you. Because, you know, it's not really the right career for a woman, women don't do that sort of job, you know, and teach at home, you can be much better than a teacher, you know, these are sort of outside influences that come to you and you sort of go, Well, maybe I shouldn't do that. But actually, that's what I'm doing now. I am teaching because I am sharing the lessons I've learned with lots of other kids. And I'm exploring so yes, I'm not in space, but

Frankie Dewar  27:21  
somewhere very similar, but still on earth 

Shadi  27:24  

Frankie Dewar  27:26  
It's interesting, because it's quite similar to my next question. Have you always had a clear path? Have you always known what you want to do? 

Shadi  27:35  
No, no, I've always felt like I'm, I'm, you know, seeking something that you know, but now I don't s much. So I think this is what I should have been doing all along. But I was too fearful of the judgments. And I suppose the what's what ifs that we've spoken about. But now I just feel Yeah, this is what I should have been doing. And my family super supportive. I mean, my parents think it's wonderful. And I think when you've got your parents endorsement, that's good. To start off with, of course, they were really scared about different things, but that's their own worries. As parents and Tim's really supportive. I think if you've got someone in your life that sees that what you're doing fills you with, with joy, and you're bringing good to others that no one's gonna stand in your way. And say, No, don't do that. You know? Yeah,

Frankie Dewar  28:25  
what inspired you to make that decision and go for it?

Shadi  28:30  
It was all the charity stuff, I was so passionate about raising funds for causes that really mean a lot to me, that it's thanks to the charities really, that I'm here, I suppose doing what I'm doing. Because if I didn't have them, then I wouldn't have the power, the real push to push myself into the discomfort zone. Because there's only so much you can ask people for money, you know, and if you're not going to do something completely different than you know, people are gonna go Yeah, how many marathons are you gonna run? I keep on paying you to run marathons, you know, just seems off. So yeah, I think it's definitely thanks to the charities that I'm where I am. And my passion to sort of change the world little by little

Frankie Dewar  29:17  
do you always help the same charity 

Shadi  29:18  
No, so anything to do with children most of the time. So I've done Teenage Cancer Trust, a legras ambition. And the one that I'm really sort of focused on is the Mary parish trust, and they raise funds for pediatric care on the south coast. So Southampton General, but that hospital actually serves the whole of South England. So it's a huge unit fit for kiddies. And I like anything to do with helping children because I think they're our future we need to look after them.

Frankie Dewar  29:48  
And do you know like a total of how much he raised?

Shadi  29:53  
No, not Oh, no, I don't know the grand total, but it's in the hundreds of 1000s of pounds. Yeah, yeah.

Frankie Dewar  29:59  

Shadi  30:00  
Well, it's thanks to my supporters really, I've done the easy bit. They've done the hard bit of donating and believing that I can pull it off.

Frankie Dewar  30:08  
And what's one thing that you know about yourself now that you wish you'd known earlier?

Shadi  30:15  
Yeah, that is such a good question. What do I know now? I suppose that I'm more capable than I thought. You know, I think when you're young, you, you think, Oh, I wouldn't be able to do that. Or I wouldn't be particularly good at that, or that's for someone else. And I now really, truly think that we're all capable of the same things. I think any of us can do anything. We all sort of operate at 40% most of the time. And this is why I keep on saying to my girls, what do you want to do with your life? And they're like, wearing that costume? No, come on what y'all think about it? What's the craziest, biggest thing you could do? And I'm always trying to encourage them to think bigger and bigger and bigger, but in a way to impact the world. Not in a sudden, oh, I want a Lamborghini. And I wanted this that, you know, that versus nonsense, really, I mean, if that's what drives you, then that drove me when I was young, too. And I reached those sort of goals, and you think I still feel empty. Whereas I think when you serve others, you feel quite complete. If you're doing something for the greater good. That is a good place. And I would say to anyone out there who's sort of like in limbo, and thinking, what do I do with my life, think about what makes you feel alive, and helps others. If you're helping others, and it makes you feel alive, you're living on purpose, and that's fine. And the money and everything else sort of comes naturally.

Frankie Dewar  31:54  
Thank you so much, I move away, and I've got a section that is kind of a little bit more about emotion. And so I kind of want to ask you about, like authenticity and your authentic self, or your true style. And I'm asking this question, because for me, I sort of . Every year older, I get, I get a little bit more like, I feel like I'm living closer to who I really am. And I look back at the past, and I'm like, Oh, honey, I didn't know anything. And can you tell me what authenticity or your authentic self means to you?

Shadi  32:35  
Yeah. I think I look back at my youth and go, Wow, that was a dress rehearsal. And it was a hard one. But then I think my dress rehearsal made me who I am. So it, I wouldn't change it. But I mean, half the things I did in my 20s and 30s, I couldn't possibly tell you, because you'd be so shocked at some of the stuff I did. I was completely the opposite to who I am now. But I say, my authentic self is go and sample everything out there. Don't say no to anything, just do it. And don't worry about the consequences. Because that's sort of like creating foundations to your life and just live in it. You know, I mean, right now, I am, I suppose. Yeah. My authentic self is not now but then I was back then as well, Frankie. I was doing all the things that I thought I wanted to be doing. But then I suppose it's like a meal. So you can't have the same meal every day, you have it and you go sick of it, then you change and then you do something else, then you get sick of that. And then you move on until you find that right balance. And so I found my balance now because I'm not yearning or seeking for something. I think you've done that a long time ago. I didn't do that.

Frankie Dewar  34:04  
I think it can fluctuate. Like you can spend a period of time where you feel really, as you say, just like you feel like you're doing the right thing at the right time. And everything else locks into place. And then you go through periods where you're like, Oh, I just don't want to get to that right now.

Shadi  34:23  
Yes, yes, you're right, you get and then you get frustrated. And you think, why is it not quite working out, but it's there to teach you a lesson. You sort of need to find that lesson and then let it go. So I've sort of created rituals in my life or which I didn't have when I was younger, and those rituals, a lot of them keeping you know what we're saying about the exercise waking up early. You know, those little rituals, help you calibrate your compass in some way. So you know, I don't eat animal products and these are all things that I've done. covered in later life. So, in my 20s and 30s, I drank like a fish, I add everything, anything, you know. And then, over the course of time with a bit of education, whatever I'm like, aren't you know what, I'm just not gonna eat these things and see how I feel. And then I'm like, wow, I actually feel amazing. Why didn't I do this ages ago? Right. Okay, now I'm not gonna drink. Wow, I'm sleeping so much better. Okay. And then I might get up earlier. So I create, I'm constantly creating rituals, you know, and to feel balanced. I think when you feel bad, balanced, and you're grounded. That's your authentic self.

Frankie Dewar  35:41  
Amazing. What does bravery mean to you?

Shadi  35:46  
bravery? Yeah, I don't really know. I don't know what bravery is. I always think that it's somebody who's quite bold, and doesn't mind a challenge, and is quite good at problem solving. Perhaps. But, yeah, just living in that uncomfortable space is fairly brave, you know, and not worrying about judgments, because we all do differently. We all do. I don't know why we do it say silly. So I suppose being brave is just yeah, being yourself, and daring to be different. That's fairly brave. And not trying to fit in

Frankie Dewar  36:31  
it you describe yourself as brave?

Shadi  36:33  
Oh, I think that would be too much of a large title for me. But I suppose a little bit. Yes, I have my moments. I'm like, yeah, you know, this is okay. Yeah,

Frankie Dewar  36:43  
can you tell me about one of those moments?

Shadi  36:46  
Where I was brave. I think Tim could probably tell you one or two. I think bravery and stupidity go hand in hand. In order to be brave, you've got to be a little bit stupid. Because if you're stupid, you don't worry about the consequences. And then that makes you brave. You just go for it. You don't worry about the safety net. Whereas I think, in today's world, everyone wants to know that it's safe. So bravery and stupidity are quite similar. And I'm definitely stupid. So I must be brave. Is that the answer? I don't know where that came from. I'm not even drunk.

Frankie Dewar  37:32  
It definitely isn't answer. What do you think? Is there any movement in particular, or a time in particular?

Shadi  37:38  
Oh, all the time. I am stupid all the time. I do stupid things all the time. I mean, who in their right mind leaves their family behind and goes to the North Pole to do a sea ice research at the age of 45. When he should probably stay at home in the warmth of your house and look after your kids and do a bit of work. Now. I'm gonna go and gather some data for the scientists so that we can save the planet. That's Yeah. And I don't know anything about polar bears. I don't like the bloody code. So that stupidity, but then it's brave at the same time by doing it. Yeah. Or climbing a mountain. Why would you choose to climb a mountain to raise money for a charity? When, honestly, my friend Matt, who climbs with me He's like, to this day, I have no idea how you climb anything because I can see the rope shaking. That's how scared I am. Do You know I'll tell you a really brave moment, one of my bravest moments, I suppose. So we'd gone to Switzerland. And we were climbing a mountain called Peron. And it's sort of like a you might know it is quite a jagged mountain. And it was like the final test before going to the Matterhorn. And so we climbed the side of this really jagged mountain, we reached the peak and it's knife edge, you know, really sort of up and down, up and down, up and down. We got to the end of this beautiful mountain, which is on my screensaver. And I'll show it to you in a minute. And the guide tied into this bolt on the edge of the mountain. And he went all you have to do shoddy is just lean back. And just go down. Don't ask any questions. You love asking questions. Don't ask any questions. Just hook in there, lean back, and just come down. And he just went and I was left there as thinking, where is he gone? And I looked down and he had literally gone down a few 100 meters and I'm thinking I can't do this. And how do I tie on? You know, everything went blank. And I'm like, oh god, you know, I really need somebody to about who's going to appear there. I mean, we are completely on our own. It's not a peak that people are going to you know, it's in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, what I would like to describe as an angel, he was not an angel. He was a human being he was a man a Frenchman, he appeared. And I said, Can you help me? I have no clue what I'm doing is like, oh, big brown eyes looking into my eyes like no problem, I'm going to show you and he helped me tie on to this thing, leaned back, and I have no clue to this day, how I got back down. Seriously, I got down and my hands was shaking. But it's one of those things, you know, you have to be brave to get uncomfortable. If you get uncomfortable. When you get down from that uncomfortable space, you feel a million dollars. So be a little bit stupid, a little bit brave, and everything will be okay. And I will show you.

Frankie Dewar  40:51  
Yes,please do 

Shadi  40:52  
my screen saver. See, it was beautiful. It is a beautiful place, but it is less scary. What am I scariest. And that's why I put it there. It's been on there for three years, because I like that reminder of that uncomfortable space. And that sort of thinking that you can't do something and just doing it. And just going what's the worst that can happen?

Frankie Dewar  41:22  
And when you get over at the third, you've done it, that's it. And especially when you put yourself in a situation, and then there's no alternative. It's amazing how like you were saying earlier how deep you can dig, when you've got to dig deep?

Shadi  41:35  
Yes. Yeah.

Frankie Dewar  41:37  
What do you think happiness feels like?

Shadi  41:43  
You've really thought about your questions. I think happiness feels like not looking for anything, just being content with the tiniest little thing. So in Hollywood happiness is Ferrari, a big house, holiday servants, whatever, all those things, I don't think any of that is happiness, I think happiness is that, you know, sitting and just maybe watching the person in front of you, or just gazing out of your window, you know that? Peace, peace and happiness. I think if you're peaceful, and content and not seeking and wanting and yearning, you are happy,

Frankie Dewar  42:31  
Amazing we are very needy coming to the end of the questions. I've just got a few more to talk about quite let's talk about women and perceptions. And so when we started to talk about earlier before, I wanted to ask you the questions already. Didn't want to jump ahead. And then I'm going to talk a little bit about advice. And then we'll be coming to the end. What perceptions of women do you think they are? And how do you think they match up to your reality?

Shadi  42:59  
Yeah. So I think women are generally seen as weaker, not capable. They need a man to do things. I think that women sort of fit this category of, oh, you have to stay at home look after the kids. That's your job. I think that often women are not heard. And all of those tragic things which we see still to this day. And none of it's true, actually, I think women are quite dangerous in the sense that we are more than capable, way smarter. And yeah, we do things with empathy and thought without even sort of planning it. Things sort of come from the heart, you know, we dancing the dance of life without having for it to be prescribed prescribed, if that makes sense. Whereas a man's not knocking a man but they are quite linear. And we're not.

Frankie Dewar  44:04  
And So coming back to the outdoors. Do you see yourself represented in outdoor media save films, or adverts or branding on TV and what impact you think that has?

Shadi  44:17  
I don't know. I mean, I don't particularly want to be seen in those sort of arenas, because it's not my thing. I'm sort of more wanting to inspire the normal woman because I think, you know, it's great to be an athlete and these there's some great athlete, female athletes out there. I don't think they are particularly inspirational, in the sense that if a woman at home who has never explored the outdoors and sees somebody who is an incredible athlete, the first thing she's going to think is I can't do that. How can I so then there's limited thoughts come in. Whereas somebody like me who isn't any of those things and in three years is done the things that I've told you about goes to show that actually, you can do those things? Yeah, do it. Yeah. And I think sometimes people think that it's gobbledygook. They're like, Oh, it sounds really good. You know, dream it and go and do it. But how, you know, and it's just like, back to what we said, say you're going to do it, commit, book it into your diary trained to do it, find the money to do it, and just do it. I mean, just a small sacrifice here. And there means that you can do the things that maybe your friends, and you think that you can't do. And then I think it's really key to surround yourself with the right people. And I and I hate to say this, but whilst I adore women, I think we can be our own enemies. So there are women out there that say that they are friends. They are not your friends. They are not your friends. They're the sort of friends who might go out and have a few drinks and have a nice time, but they're not going to build you and empower yours, then you have another set of friends that are your foot soldiers, they are going to put wind in your sail and they're going to say, Frankie, you can do Oh my God, I can see you doing these amazing things. Those are your friends. So you have to be very careful. The company you keep, and what you share with who you share it. I think that's my biggest bit of wisdom that I've learned. Even to this day, some of the people that I really adore, and I I love to bits, I will not share some of my plans, because they will sabotage it without knowing that they're sabotaging it by saying, You can't do that. Because that whatever whatever

Frankie Dewar  46:46  
I agree completely. And I think when we're asking people for advice, it is important to sit, take a step back and think why am I asking them for advice? Quite often we go to people who we think are going to say no, when we kind of want someone to tell us not to do it?

Shadi  47:01  
Yes, yes. And I think some women, for whatever reason, don't want to see their friend be successful, you know, and it's just from a place of, they're not happy with themselves. So they don't really want to see your success, which seems really cruel and mean, but they're not doing it out of malice. That's just the way they are the things I want to do. And the changes I want to make to this world needs people that are going to go, you can do it shortly when I doubt myself, and I call you and say I can't do it. I need you to be able to tell me that I can.

Frankie Dewar  47:38  
Yeah. Or even everybody needs that.

Shadi  47:41  
Yes, definitely.

Frankie Dewar  47:43  
And do you have any female role models?

Shadi  47:46  
Yes, I do. Sadly, she's passed away. So my ultimate role model you're gonna love was Princess Diana, I adored her. And I went to school in Spain in a British school. And I remember she came over to the Prado Museum, and the highlight of my life was that I shook her hand. So I was maybe eight or nine. And I was outside the Prado, and we were all putting our hands out and I got to shake her hand. Yeah, I liked her humanitarian aspect. And the fact that she was quite a go getter, you know, she wasn't prepared to fit the mold. You know, yes, I'm a princess. But I'm here to do a job. I want to make a change to the world. And I'm not going to live by your standard. I'm gonna live by my own standards and my own rules. So and so I think she was very brave.

Frankie Dewar  48:43  
Is there any advice that you'd give to your younger self?

Shadi  48:47  
Yeah, I think, what would I say to my younger self? I'd probably say just just live your life. Don't plan too much. Yeah. And then don't look back in regret, you know, sort of, you know, I wish I'd done that. I wish I hadn't said that. I, you know, don't do those things. There are lots of other pieces of advice that I'd give myself. Actually, let me just have a little think. I'd say just live by your gut. I know it's poor. But I don't really have any advice to give myself. I really don't. I don't think I do. I must do somewhere. But I don't feel like I do.

Frankie Dewar  49:29  
Thank you so much. Usually, I would finish the interview that I skipped out one question and I'd really like to go back and ask you., 

Shadi  49:35  

Frankie Dewar  49:35  
I'm gonna go back and finish. 

Shadi  49:37  

Frankie Dewar  49:38  
Have you ever felt like you're sort of going against the grain with your, like lifestyle choices? And if so, how he coped with that.

Shadi  49:45  
Yeah, so yeah, I suppose I have gone against the grain, but I don't have an issue with it. I don't really care what anybody thinks at all. That's probably the advice I'd give my younger self, don't care about anyone and don't try and fit I always, always dare to be different. I think being different, allows you to grow. And I also believe that being different allows you to be happy. Because I think we all have a tendency of trying to fit into society and following structure that we think we're told that is the way you should live. So going against the mold will inspire other people to also start a revolution within themselves of doing the things that they actually want to do that they're stopping from doing.

Frankie Dewar  50:38  
Completely. I always think that the worst reason to do something is because that's the way it's done. And thank you so much.

Shadi  50:46  
For a welcome. Thank you for doing what you're doing. I think you're awesome. Honestly, I wish I was as wise as you at your age of 25 

Frankie Dewar  50:56  
25 and a bit.

Frankie Dewar  51:00  
I really loved that conversation, and I hope you did too. And the next episode, I took to a great friend of mine, Victoria Teal or Vicki as I know her and we talk about all things climbing and mental health new episodes are out every Monday, so make sure you subscribe not to miss it. If you've enjoyed this episode, please let me know my inbox is always open. And if you'd like to help the community, you can do this by leaving a review and sharing it with a friend. Thank you so much again for listening. Until next time, keep on being extraordinary.

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