Choosing the Right Trail

When I was a girl, one of my favourite pastimes was lying on my back on a spongy bed of Couch grass in my mum’s extraordinary garden. Mum’s garden was nestled near the centre of a large-ish cattle property in central Queensland. On my back, I would bring one leg up (always the right!) and rest the ankle on my opposite knee. With my left forearm I created a ‘visor’ above my eyes to shield them from the sun.

There I would lie for undetermined periods of time watching the clouds change into different shapes, listening to the buzz of cicadas and other insect going about their day and thinking.

In my thoughts, on that Couch bed, I would design timelines of activities or local adventures. Using the space and freedom of our cattle property and my siblings or visiting school friends as participants, I would orchestrate events. Building ‘horse yards’ as the stage set for re-enactments of the Cisco Kid or directing and producing a ‘dinner and a show’ musical event for an audience of teddy bears and parents, going on an ‘overnight journey’ to the back paddock. These events were a string of experiences worked together in my head to create an outcome and reward.

Lying there with the gum’s and ironbark’s swaying above me and the warmth and strength of Mother Earth beneath, I would strategize and then, all at once, leap to my feet and take flight to enact my plan.

It’s little wonder, that after global exploration including many epic trekking and kayaking journeys, I decided to settle in to a career as a travel agent. With a journalism degree in my hand, my heart led me to a professional life of planning and adventure. The unexpected benefit of my time with the remarkable Australian story of Flight Centre, was the discovery of business. I was fascinated with the inner workings. The difference between revenue, gross profit and nett profit. The tracking of return on investment for marketing spend. The structures of commission and reward for the motivated and hard working. I loved learning and being immersed in these experiences as much as I did the tantalising destinations I was sending my clients.

In my late 20’s, married and living in regional Australia, I developed a desire for social responsibility. A lover of change, I was ready to direct my energy into facilitation growth in others. This calling placed me in a centre for unemployed youth and a task to keep teenagers off the streets. No school prepared to take them, these kids were altogether lost in the system.

Quickly understanding that classroom activities were a waste of everyone’s time I turned my focus to nature. I channelled the kid I once was, lying on my back in the grass concocting outdoor adventures. We walked up mountains and paddled down rivers. We built fires and made tea. My participants grumbled as they puffed their way up a hill, some cried, some swore but they all made it and the smile always came when they understood their accomplishment.

During my motherhood years I decided to haul in the work hours. During this special time with my tiny children, I kept my hand in working for my family’s business in investments. These years feel quite blurry in all there extreme busy-ness and somewhere along the way I partially lost my sense of self. While the planning part of me was still fully engaged, the adventurous part seemed almost fully eroded.

It is little wonder when the opportunity to form GirlsTrek was whispered in to my ear I rolled in to action with the speed and voracity of a mountain lioness! I was singularly focussed and re-ignited a seemingly bottomless tank of energy.

My life up to now, from that small girl conjuring up personal adventures, to my business life lessons and my deep understanding double edged sword of motherhood was the long strategic planning session for this new business.

GirlsTrek was the symphony of all my years as a student of personal adventure in the classroom of nature. I did not choose GirlsTrek; it chose me.

Receiving an accolade from your industry is a thrill. There is also relief that your idea is widely recognised as a good one that provides positive social impact. It’s a moment in time when you can appreciate what it takes to invent, construct and grow a business. It affords the opportunity to thank with deep gratitude those that have helped you and continue to help you.

The true reward is in a life’s commitment. I am deeply committed to encouraging women to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and fulfil their instinctive need for personal adventure. I believe our experiences at GirlsTrek ignite a passion in women to acknowledge their true self and with that acknowledgement, create positive change in the world that surrounds them.