Talking Scandinavia and Resilience with Anna Blackwell

Anna Blackwell is an adventurer with a special place in her heart for the north of Scandinavia. With multiple trekking and hiking trips to the region under her belt plus more – such as kayaking across Europe from London to the Black Sea – Anna has a huge adventure CV, which we dive into in more depth within the interview.

The episode discusses the pull of adventure, kayaking across Europe, getting on with your travel partner, her love for Scandinavia, lessons learned from adventuring solo in nature, adventure vs. escapism, resilience, and so much more.

Most recently, Anna has just released her short film ‘Refuge’. It is a beautifully shot film captured during her most recent trip to Sweden accompanied by some heart-warming words on wild places. You can watch this at the bottom of the blog.

Listen on all platforms or even Ask Alexa! (“Alexa, play Between The Mountains Adventure Podcast!”).

It Takes a Certain Type of Person

The moment Anna realised adventure was calling her was in Costa Rica during a gap year. The trip was made up of long, arduous days and horribly hard work – and to top it off, Anna was bitten by something still unknown and her leg swelled.

Yet, at the end of the trip everyone while everyone was happy to see the back of it, Anna was sad it was over. She had fallen in love with adventure, and knew she wanted to do more.

This whole experience is in stark contrast to the Duke of Edinburgh award – an outdoors education and experience programme for young people in the UK. Anna didn’t get on with or enjoy the way it was structured and the way herself and others were managed by those running her course, and so hated it. But now, it has come full circle and after a different experience with wild places she now loves it.

It just goes to show that it is so important that adventure and the outdoors is introduced in the right way and by the right people.

“I think that’s one of the key things about how to have a good adventure: you have to be able to laugh and you have to be able to see the positive. And we nailed that on the [Kayaking Europe] trip!”

Does An Adventure Open A Country’s True Door?

When speaking about a specific moment of kindness, Anna recalls a moment in Serbia when setting up camp, close to the end of a 4000km expedition.

A long – and brilliant – story short, the experience that Anna had with a homeless man was truly humbling, and made her appreciate the way in which she was exploring a country. How, if she had got on a plane and gone to a hotel, she would not have experienced this in the more traditional fashion of travel.

Yet, by having an adventure, by experiencing remote and wild places, she had opened a different door to that country and experienced a more genuine moment with the people within it.

What’s The Draw: The Physical or the Mental Limits?

In a flash, Anna answered straight away “oh, it’s the mental!”. Quite frankly, what a perfect guest to ask this to; Anna has recently completed a Masters studying the perception of resilience by adventurers, and straight away pulls from her research here in the interview. Nearly all of those she interviewed stated that it’s the mental side of things that is the hardest.

They seem to be intertwined though – even her physical limits are mental limits too. She knows her body can do it, but can she push herself to do it?

In Anna’s words, it’s the moments that are boring and ever-lasting while trekking that test her the most. When there’s no view and repetitive overcast weather, the question really does get asked: “Why am I doing this?!”.

But, of course, we all know why we do this.

Anna Blackwell

Be sure to follow Anna’s adventures on her Instagram (@annablackwell) and on her website too.

You can also watch her stunning film below:

A beautiful film created by Anna, 10/10 worth the watch.

Take a Listen

Listen on all platforms or even Ask Alexa! (“Alexa, play Between The Mountains Adventure Podcast!”).

If you enjoy the show please:

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If you really really enjoy the show then

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You can get in touch with me on btmtravelpod@gmail.com or using any of the Social Media links: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / BTM Facebook Group here.

You Might Also Like These:

Exploring Wild Places and Indigenous Culture with Hayley Gendron

Hayley Gendron (@hayoui) talks about her adventurous upbringing, indigenous and environmental rights, exploring remote and wild places, falling in to a crevasse, and more

Anna Blackwell

“I’m going to be honest, this was one of the best podcast interviews I’ve had the pleasure of doing… If not the best! Chris had clearly done his research and put a lot of thought into the questions he asked, which meant he avoided asking the usual questions I’m so used to answering. I loved that, I had to really think about my answers and reflect on my experiences. Most importantly though, it was a huge amount of fun!” Anna Blackwell, Adventurer, Episode 102

Published by Between The Mountains

Between The Mountains delivers researched, in-depth interviews, captivating expeditions, and expert advice for must-do adventures in the world of Adventure Travel!

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