Holly Budge is an incredible adventurer with a CV spanning the globe. Holly was the first person to skydive above Everest, she has ridden and raced semi-wild horses across Mongolia, and taken to mountaineering from the crevasses of Mount Rainier to the North Col of Mount Everest.
Some of her most important work, though, is the conservation effort that Holly puts in to save elephants. 96 elephants are poached each day, and Holly’s work alongside rangers with non-gory exhibitions is helping to reduce that number.
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21 Year Old Mindset
As Holly puts it, her entire adventurous life really begins with a tandem skydive that she had when travelling in New Zealand. Those 60 seconds of freefall, fear, and excitement really captured her passion. After landing, she decided to become a freefall camerawoman.
For Holly, it’s all about keeping that “21 Year Old Mindset”. Not letting the adult and cautious side intervene too much, and just shooting for the passions and dream. Naturally, it also helps having people around you who support your dreams.
I can completely understand where Holly comes from. I did my first tandem jump with GoSkydive for charity – who I highly recommend! – and 4 months later I still have a rush and punch of adrenaline as I remember the day.
It seems to have worked too; climbing mountains and jumping out of planes isn’t a bad way to fill your expedition-CV!
Something we discuss in the podcast are the parallels between skydiving and life itself. It’s a perfect metaphor: during that freefall there is no-one to ask, no-one to check on you. It is yourself and every decision you have ever made up to that point – just like your daily life!
Not only that, but Holly reminds us that it is so important to “turn up with the right skills, and put the preparation in”. When skydiving above Everest, things didn’t quite go to plan. You can find out more in the podcast, but for Holly everything just slowed down and the training kicked in to ensure that she landed as safely and efficiently as she possibly could.
Just as with anything, it’s all about calculated risk. Mitigate as much as you can and don’t recklessly chase the next moment – or adrenaline. The idea is to keep doing what you love each day, not to make today the last day.
“On my first solo jump I remember looking at my instructors and the other cameramen in the plane and thinking “how are they looking so relaxed?!”, they were laughing and joking… and that became me! It’s amazing what you can get your head around. What was once really scary you can make quite normal”
How Many Elephants
We discuss too, the conservation work that Holly does with her registered charity “How Many Elephants“.
96 elephants are poached every day, and Holly uses non-gory, incredibly impactful and visual art to put in to perspective just how many we are loosing.
Her work alongside and supporting rangers and communities is incredible, and I highly recommend you check out her work and support if you can. With endorsements from people like David Attenborough, you really can’t go wrong here!
Having Holly on the show was a total pleasure. The passion and experience she has for adventure and the world really shines through, and I hope you hear that in the podcast.
With a background like hers, it’s also no wonder that she is a speak too. You can check out more of Holly’s work with her own personal website here.
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