I’m passionate about the outdoors and the adventures that go with it. Being an avid adventurer has allowed me to travel to some of the world’s remotest and most inhospitable places and set two world records in the process.
In 2008 I became the first woman to skydive Mount Everest and in 2009 I rode semi-wild horses 1000 kms across Mongolia in just 9 days. More recently I have summited Cho-Oyu (8201m), Mount Buruntse (7129m) & snowboarded from the summit of Mera Peak (6500m) in Nepal. This year I made a successful first ascent in the Mongolian Altai Mountains and have led an expedition on Ama Dablam in Nepal. I support various charities by raising funds through my adventures, including £70,000 for Mercy Corps and $300,000 for Global Angels, to help the children of the Himalayas. It is very rewarding to visit the places and see the projects in action that I have helped raise money for and share my experiences.
"Living on Adrenaline; The Adventurer, The Artist and The Activist. Meet Holly."
BORN IN THE SADDLE
I started life as an adventurer at an early age. I was practically born in the saddle and started competing in pony club events when I was 5 years old.
I competed throughout my childhood and carried on to compete for my country up until I was 21. I learnt some valuable lessons early on and this stood me in good stead for my career as an adventurer. Riding horses toughened me up; it is an inherently dangerous sport and of course, I had many falls, some more serious than others, including a broken hip. I learnt if you fall off, you get back on the horse. I also learnt alot about teamwork and my fiercely competitive nature! I wasn’t satisfied with just taking part, I wanted to win!
MY DREAM JOB
In my early twenties, I discovered a new adrenaline sport…skydiving!
I did my first skydive over Lake Taupo in New Zealand whilst backpacking and was absolutely blown away that people were getting paid to jump out of planes for a job and decided that was what I wanted to do. My career’s advisor hadn’t mentioned this! After moving half way round the world to New Zealand and spending six months training, I realised my goal of becoming the third women to be a freefall camera flyer in Lake Taupo. Looking back this was an ambitious goal but I was passionate about achieving it. I now have over 2000 jumps and have only pulled my reserve parachute once! Jumping out planes taught me a lot about facing fear and on the other side of the coin, listening to your intuition – if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, no matter what the consequences are.
I am passionate about sustainability and conservation. Last year I graduated with a Masters in Sustainable Design. My multi award-winning campaign How Many Elephants presents a physical commentary on the devastating impacts of the elephant ivory trade. Few people know 96 elephants are poached each day. At this rate, they will be extinct by 2025. I am using vegetable ivory, a sustainable plant material from the Amazon Rainforest, to raise awareness of this crisis.
Part of the originality of this campaign is in my approach to avoid gruesome and shocking imagery to portray the facts. It is not about scaring people, it’s about sharing the enormity of the poaching crisis. This campaign will be showcased in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong in the coming months. I am delighted to have the support of Tusk and DSWT, both charities are doing incredible work to save the elephants. Please join me on my journey to raise awareness and start much needed conversations.
MY DRIVING FORCE
I feel passionate about travelling to remote areas of the planet, experiencing rich and colourful cultures and making a difference to the lives of those who have helped me achieve my goals and dreams.
The mantra I try and live by everyday is to learn new things often, to push myself to be my best self and to know I feel most alive when I am making a difference and having a positive impact on people or the planet.
Collectively, we can make a difference!