Brilliant Bryony has been part of the Go Ape tribe for two seasons now, having started as an instructor at Margam Park, and now firmly settled into life at Crawley Tilgate Park.
With a degree in Sport & PE under her belt, she’s been in the outdoor industry for some time and, as you can see from the following Q & A session, her zest for life and all things adventure is somewhat contagious. Here, she tells us about some of her most exciting escapades to date. Have a read and tell us you don’t feel inspired to get out and live life more adventurously!
Where is the most adventurous place you’ve been?
Wow. Now this is hard because I have been to some very adventurous places! But if I had to pick one it would have to be the beautiful country of New Zealand. Never before have I visited a country where they live and breathe adventure quite like the Kiwis do. From the two months I spent there I found that their laidback lifestyle goes hand in hand with their sense of adventure and their love for the great outdoors. I mean, with the amazingly beautiful scenery they are surrounded by, how can you not fall in love with the place?! My trip was packed full of adventures, including hiking the Tongariro National Park, jumping off a canyon in the South Island (ropes firmly attached, don’t worry!), mountain biking, surfing, jet boating in Queenstown, sailing Lake Taupo and hurling myself down a mountain on a tin tray – to name but a few. If you relish that feeling of doing something crazy (maybe ticking something off the bucket list) or experiencing natural beauty that dreams are made of then YOU MUST GO! Adventure is in their blood, and as a nation they are pretty damn friendly, so it’s just about perfect, right?!
What’s the most adventurous, craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Two moments spring to mind with this question:
1. A week long hike of the Andringitra mountain range in Madagascar. At an altitude of 2658m this was one of the most challenging and adventurous things I have ever done. This was my first ever trek at high altitude, living off the contents of my backpack and camping on cliff edges surrounded by lemurs – it almost seems unreal when I look back on it today. At the time, I genuinely thought I was crazy embarking on such a challenging and risky trek along narrow ridges, with rocks crumbling under my feet and moments of pure exhaustion. HOWEVER, I made it… and it is one of my proudest achievements to date. The views weren’t too shabby either!
2. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so in New Zealand last year I decided it would be a great idea to jump off a canyon in what is named “the world’s highest cliff jump”. I have never been so terrified in my entire life. Standing on the edge of that canyon thinking “WHY AM I DOING THIS?!” In the jungle of adrenaline this jump is the gorilla. Once you decide to jump off that edge after countless words of persuasion from the instructors, you experience a 60-metre freefall, followed by a 200-metre swing over the Shotover River. It’s fair to say that was definitely one of my craziest decisions, but I don’t regret a second of it! Just awesome.
What did you get up to on your recent trip to Barcelona?
In November 2015 myself and a group of five other Go Ape instructors from Crawley Tilgate Park thought we would book a spontaneous last-minute getaway to the beautiful city of Barcelona. This was five days of walking, cycling and climbing the length and breadth of this gorgeous Spanish city. Some of the highlights included cycling up to Park Güell – a Gaudi-inspired landscape garden with beautiful buildings, hidden caves and some seriously good views. Little do the tourists know that if you hike up the steep hill just beyond the park you will reach a secluded and outstandingly beautiful summit, offering 360-degree views of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the snappy-happy tourists. Another cool adventure was walking up to the 17th-century hilltop fortress Montjuïc castle which overlooks the ocean and the city. It’s so worth the many steps which take you to the top! A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Camp Nou to watch FC Barca play a football game, as well as evenings filled with mouth-watering tapas and Sangria. It was the perfect break after a busy summer of Treetop adventuring in Crawley, and no doubt there will be many more mini-trips to come for the team!
Why do you love to live life adventurously, and why do you think others should do the same?
I think almost everybody would like some more adventure in their life. I’m the kind of person with the attitude of “Dream it, Believe It, Achieve it” and I honestly believe that everyone can be more adventurous if you set your mind to it. You don’t need lots of time or money to have an adventure, or have the fitness of Bear Grylls, or have lived in a cabin in the mountains of Canada. Adventure is so much closer than you think and even the smallest of changes to your attitude and therefore your life can get you living life more adventurously.
I breathe adventure. If I’m not on an adventure, big or small, I’m dreaming and planning my next. It’s how I live and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try my best to look at the opportunities and not the restraints in life, which is why I attempt to make the most of every day; whether it is taking a different route home from work, or waking up that little bit earlier to take a walk before the world wakes up. That’s why I love my job as an instructor at Go Ape – because of the opportunity it gives me to inspire people to challenge themselves and do things they wouldn’t normally think about trying. It’s so easy to slip into a mundane 9-5 routine, but people need to think about the flipside of that and look at the 5-9 routine. That’s a whole 16 hours of free time which is screaming adventure! Having a sense of adventure makes every day different; you will fear less, do more and your dreams will become a reality if you want them to. So, get out there people – and don’t look back!
We hear you have some YouTube videos in the pipeline – what can we expect from these?
This is a new project of mine in an attempt to put across what is, to me, a very important message:
Life is a one-time offer, so use it well.
I’m currently planning a YouTube channel to focus on this message and to encourage people to live their life a bit more adventurously, make a positive impact on the world we live in, and reiterate the importance of sustainable tourism, travelling on a tight budget and encouraging women, in particular, to unleash their inner adventure and make a change in the world – no matter how small. I’m looking at making adventure travel videos that will inspire more people to open their eyes to adventure and see just how easy it is to make a positive impact in the world and travel without breaking the bank. You can expect many crazy adventures documented through film, handy hints and tips on travelling, honest travel guides and general lifestyle ideas to live your life to the fullest. So watch this space!
Who’s the most adventurous person you know?
The most adventurous person I know is a very close friend of mine. She lives and works in London in a 9-5 office job, so naturally relishes ANY opportunity for an adventure. For example, there are several occasions I can recall where I have received a text in the early hours of the morning saying “Just about to book flights to Iceland… fancy it?”. As you can already tell, these propositions are always VERY tempting! Another example was when she rocked up to my house in her old banger of a car which was falling apart at the hinges, and we spontaneously went on a road trip with an old school paper map not knowing where we would end up. Those adventures are always the best; the ones that barely cost a thing yet you have the best time exploring somewhere you’ve never been before with one of your best buddies. It just goes to show that if you dream adventure, and believe you can do it, you can ALWAYS achieve it. So she is definitely one of the most craziest, adventurous people I know, for sure!