How To Get Into Adventure When You Don't Know Where To Start: Interview With Adventurer Lucy Millar
Hey Lucy, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us. To start things off, can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? What got you into adventure?
Born and bred in Western Australia, followed by a stint in Melbourne for post-grad uni, and now residing in and around the coast in Sydney. Growing up I was always actively involved in sport, but didn’t really catch the adventure bug until my late 20’s. Although there wasn’t a lightning bolt moment, there was a series of events that did make me question what my passions were and what I feared most in life. One day, with an already booked trip to the U.S for work, I googled ‘adventurous activities in Canada’ (as you do). Insert ‘Ice-Climbing Course’. And so the adventures began! Having never really climbed before I wasn’t really sure if I was scared of heights, or even what it involved. But from day one, I was hooked. I was now a West Australian sand grouper hacking away ice in sub-30 degree temperatures, a bit of a strange concept to most people.
One moment you’re ice climbing in New Zealand to ocean diving in the tropics. Do you have a preferred adventure of choice/why?
Different activities serve different purposes. The ice-climbing had become a good physical challenge, an opportunity to develop technical skills that will allow you to push harder and for longer.
Freediving on the other hand is less about the physical and more of a mental challenge. When the record for a female breath hold is over 9 minutes, you realise that physiologically we are capable of not taking in oxygen (taking a breath) for a substantial amount of time. Breath holds and depth diving is for the most part a mental game. It’s about calming the mind, and internalising the focus. For someone that is always ‘on’ and struggles to relax, it perfectly complements my life.
What is it about adventure that has you hooked?
Each adventure I go on I know I am going to learn something new. Learning for me is a big motivator. I’m a big believer in taking control of your own personal development, and for me I learn the most about myself in these types of environments. It can be in the echo’s of a valley filled with iced waterfalls, the whirling wind at 14’000ft, or the silence 15m below the ocean surface, they all having an impact that I struggle to put into words.
You recently did a trip over the New Zealand. Where did you climb/hike and what made this trip special for you?
I recently took a group of 3 women from the company I work for to NZ on a trip aimed at taking them out of their comfort zone. All they knew was what to pack and to have a passport, with the rest a mystery.
I wanted to show them what they are truly capable of by putting them in situations that they would otherwise think they couldn’t do (cough*tallest bungy jump in NZ*cough). One of the mornings involved a 4am start to hike Isthmus Peak just outside of Wanaka. A challenging but rewarding hike with some spectacular views over Lake Hawea. It was special because we conquered it as a team, everyone had low moments at different points and hiking in the dark isn’t something everyone is comfortable with, especially when you are within metres from wild deer. A memory to keep forever!!
Feel free to watch the video of the trip: https://vimeo.com/253091176
What are some of the barriers you have faced on an adventure so far? Any scary moments on the ice climbs or holding your breathe with the whales?
I’ve learnt that often the barriers/limitations we place on ourselves before taking on something new or trying something for the first time are generally mental barriers. In almost all experiences I’ve encountered there are ways to overcome them, but you need to be committed in taking them on and willing to be vulnerable.
Besides from ice climbing, what other outdoor adventure activities are you interested in? Do any of these activities in particular complement each other?
Last year I decided to become a licenced skydiver which was the most challenging, but rewarding experience to date. I’m also starting to really enjoy surfing, I have always been fearful of being held under water but through learning to free dive its definitely helped to overcome those fears. I have a growing appreciation for the power of the ocean, it’s a healthy medicine.
What 3 tips or advice would you give to ladies looking at getting into adventure but don’t know where to start?
- Those who appear as being extremely adventurous often experience the same kind of fears when taking on something new. The state of vulnerability is experienced by all humans.
- Reach out to people for advice/support. There is a growing community like Women Want Adventure that offer great tips and ideas for adventures. Women like to plan/be prepared (it’s just what we do!) so these resources are amazing for getting you on your way.
- Find a buddy. Sometimes doing something solo can be pretty daunting. While the buddy might help you ease your nerves, you are likely helping them also get out there. That means one more person out there and enjoying themselves.
Your Intsagram handle @lucycmillar states “make time, push boundaries, find adventure”. How do you make time with your work and life commitments? Any tips there?
Life is becoming very ‘busy’ for everyone these days. It’s easy to spend time on things that will have little impact or chew through time that eventually equates to weeks/years.
Sitting down and working out where you spend your time each day/week is an important. Social media and technology can work both for and against so it’s about getting the most from your time. For me, I’m an early riser, you can just fit more in! A 15 minute morning yoga session (yoga studio app) gets you up and going and can be done literally done by your bed.
Water photogrpahy by: @beaupilgrim