Plus-size outdoor adventures…

Exhilarating and empowering – those two words best describe my experience at the 1st plus-size women’s hike held by Escaping Your Comfort Zone.

The morning was overcast and drizzly, yet mild. I packed my small back-pack with some water, my phone and a rain coat. I tied my shoe-laces and was met at the door by my hubby Pete who had made me a coffee “for the road” – now that’s a man that understands me and my relationship with coffee 🙂

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I pulled into the car park at Lysterfield Park and immediately saw a group of women chatting to Richelle, founder and leader of Escaping your comfort Zone.  Richelle had her favourite Pink hat on –  as promised, so she was easy to identify 🙂

IMG_2282The mood was excited and calm all at once, it was just so comfortable to arrive to some familiar, and some new faces.  I was thrilled to see Kate, who also attends yoga with me of a Wednesday, she always has the most amazing smile and hug ready every time I see her.

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I LOVE how this hike was planned, not only were we with like-bodied and like-minded women, but we ranged in experience and ability.  Richelle, with years of her own outdoor experience under her belt, had cleverly planned the trail the week before, and had a team of 4, including herself, who were tasked with being spread throughout the pack to ensure no one was struggling and we were all supported.  This worked so well because all 4 of the team were super friendly and engaging women who ensured you felt at ease immediately. Perfect.

With a group of 12 curvy women including the team, we set out at 9am on the pre-determined trail.  One gorgeous lady bought her son in the pram – he was such a cutie, and he enjoyed the ride too.  Richelle had planned alternate routes for the pram in two areas where the track changed into single track and wasn’t accessible with the pram.

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We headed around the lake, across the “beach”, up the small set of stairs onto the bridge, across the bridge and around a corner – then we headed UP a hill – by the time I got to the top I was feeling puffed and my legs were telling me that was a long hill. At the top we stopped for 5 mins to enjoy the scenery and catch our breath. From that moment on I got the most amazing burst of energy and adrenaline and I felt like I could walk for ever. We continued along a wide path, then split off down to the lakes edge to stand on the jetty… the views were spectacular.12924525_992708964153323_1530378829849557446_n

From there we enjoyed a trail that was single file with the added excitement of lots of fallen large tree branches which just added to the fun. There were kangaroos everywhere and we had a lot of fun taking “kangaroo selfies” along the way.

Richelle put together this video that shows our adventure – I just love it!

The two hours went by so fast. As we rounded the corner to the car park I was disappointed. I didn’t want this time to end.

I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. I want to be active. I don’t like exercising on my own. I don’t like walking alone to exercise.  I know, I know – it’s “me time” etc. and that’s true, but it’s just something I’ve never enjoyed. When I walk with someone, or a group, I feel like I can walk forever.  I feel motivated and happy. When I walk alone, I feel like it’s a chore. Does that make sense?

We walked just over 5 1/2kms in 2 hours, the pace was comfortable, the scenery was beautiful and the company was friendly, fun and supportive.

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Escaping Your Comfort Zone is a brilliant idea, I’m so excited to be part of this exciting group.  I’m really looking forward to regular outings and exploring our countryside.

I’m thrilled to be presenting at the upcoming Escaping Your Comfort Zone – Plus-size Adventure Retreat where I’ll be finally able to try stand-up paddle-boarding! Click here for more information and to book, there’s only a couple of places left.

Richelle has planned more exciting hikes and adventures, make sure you sign-up to the website here and follow the Facebook page.

If you’re reading this and wondering if it’s for you – feel free to give me a call or drop me a line, I’d be happy to encourage you and chat to you about it.

If you’re not in Melbourne, Victoria and you’re interested in events in your area, please contact Richelle as she’s looking to expand this across the country and beyond.

Join me on the trails?

Love your shape!

Janine x

Escaping Your Comfort Zone

I’ve always enjoyed being active outdoors and on a recent holiday with my hubby Pete in Ubud, Bali, we took the opportunity to rise bright & early (those that know me well know that I’m not a morning person – so this was commitment!) and head to the starting point in central Ubud of the Campuhan Ridge Walk.  We set off at 7am trying to avoid the heat, unfortunately the day was one of the clearest we’d had so far in this wet season visit to Bali, so the humidity and heat were not kind to us that day.  The trail starts at a beautiful temple and gently winds its way up the ridge between the two ravines and rivers that run through this area.

To say that the scenery is spectacular is an understatement.  The trail goes for approx. 3km before you come to a gorgeous village with art shops along the road.  The road is unpaved but if you keep going about 500m you’ll come to an incredible café, Karsa Kafe with a beautiful lotus pond full of frogs and lovely coffee, juices and snacks.  This is the usual “rest point” for serious hikers, but for us in the extreme heat this was our end point for our hike.

This is how I looked half-way through the hike…. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much! It was an exhilarating morning.ResizedJanineCampuhan

On another morning during our holiday, we also awoke early to the roosters crowing and decided to get up and do some photography. A gentle amble down the road through the village from our villa bought us to the top end of the Rice Paddy walkway that runs approx. 6kms to central Ubud through the most beautiful rice paddies, villages and views. That day we walked 13kms in total.  It was bliss, (including the incredible breakfast and views at Sari Organic on the way) and despite how much I despise humidity and being drenched in sweat continuously, I had an incredible time and loved every minute of it.

With the busy life that I lead as a mum, wife and business owner, it’s easy to prioritise things away from my own active enjoyment.  I LOVE my weekly yoga classes with the gorgeous Sarah Harry at Body Positive Australia (I’ve missed 3 weeks in a row due to my trip to Bali and the dengue fever I’m still recovering from since I returned – but that’s another story!), and my family and I regularly enjoy weekend outings walking, photographing our local countryside and being as active as possible.  I have to admit though it’s easy to not step outside of my comfort zone when even if the hectic life I live isn’t enough of an excuse, I find it difficult to schedule activities without having the security of like-minded or like-bodied women around me.  For example, I have never walked into my local gym and just signed-up for a Zumba or Boxing Class – even though these are two things I enjoy and would dearly love to do.  The thought of a room full of not necessarily body positive people puts me off.  My fear of not being able to keep up overwhelms me.  I know how stupid that sounds – and given that I AM body positive and highly confident, I still suffer from these restrictive thoughts. Hence when the opportunity came along for me to attend the Body Positive Yoga Classes I jumped at the chance!  I absolutely LOVE the opportunity to be guided by a teacher who understands that EVERY body is different and EVERY body is capable of different things. Sarah gives alternatives for every pose – oh the freedom of being able to have choice to participate and to enjoy.  Priceless.

This year I wanted to start creating some new habits for myself. My work often means I spend hours in my home office behind the computer and on the phone, often not moving far at all for most of the day, then other days I’m out and about at meetings and showings and I’ll do kms of walking.  The point is, I want to be as active as possible, because when I’m active, I feel better.  I can think straighter and I feel calmer – oh yes, and being an insomniac, I also sleep better too!  So I’ve actively put into place regular yoga classes, bought a walking machine for those days when my work dictates a low-activity day – I can just take my smart phone and walk a few kms in between work, and I’ve been incorporating some outdoor activities with my family.

But I still want more.

Guess you can imagine my excitement when just this week I stumbled across Escaping Your Comfort Zone – THE most exciting idea for plus-size women since, forever!

PLUS SIZE WOMEN CREATING ADVENTURES TOGETHER

A community of plus size women with a taste for adventure and exploring the great outdoors.  We want to inspire people. We want someone to look at us and say because of you I didn’t give up.  This is your community to share all the insights and inspiration you need to allow you to be the absolute best version of yourself.

Richelle Olsen

This photo caught my eye because I’m obsessed with clouds.  I have copious amounts of cloud photos, and I’m sure I drive my husband crazy with my constant comments on how amazing that cloud formation is!  Then I was drawn into the vista, then I clicked further into the website and then I read the words on the Facebook event I was looking at … Plus Size Women’s Hiking For Beginners – YES that’s me!!

I want to introduce you to Richelle Olsen.   She’s an Aussie 30-something, plus sized, and she’s cycled 6,500kms from Canada to Mexico, hiked to Everest base camp, run a 25km mountain race in the Spanish Pyrenees, trekked the Inca Trail, scuba dived in oceans and freshwater caves around the world, raced over 20 triathlons, solo hiked the Queen Charlotte Track in NZ and had a whole lot of other adventures in between. I feel tired just listing those incredible achievements!

RichelleOlsenBut Richelle says she’s just an everyday woman, not overly fit, loves the outdoors, and  wants to inspire and support other plus sized girls to experience what she has, without limits.

Richelle says “You don’t need to be fit, you don’t need to “look the part”, it doesn’t matter what size you are, all you need is a sense of adventure, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone”.

Now that’s a woman after my own heart, and I’m guessing yours too right?
So will you join me at the upcoming event in Melbourne on Saturday 2nd April? Here’s all the details…. I’ll be there and I hope to see you too. It’s going to be fantastic and the start of some very exciting opportunities to escape my own comfort zone.  And it’s FREE!
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And if that isn’t enough to get you excited – how about joining me at this one? I will be attending this incredible weekend and am honoured to have been invited to add value with a presentation on Mindset and Curvy Women.  I can’t wait  for the upcoming PLUS SIZE WOMEN’S OUTDOOR RETREAT WEEKEND to be held on the Surf Coast in Victoria.

 

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Stay tuned for some (no doubt hilarious) photos of my first attempt at Stand-up Paddle boarding.  COME AT ME!!!

Whose in?  Join me…

Love your shape!

Janine x