Lessons We Can All Learn From Three Inspirational Women Adventurers

There are so many inspirational women out there. Sometimes you don’t even have to look very far. They might even live right around the corner! As we celebrate Womens History Month and last week, International Women’s Day, we thought we would recognize three women adventurers who caught our eye at AdventureWomen – and why.

Sarah Marquis: A Solo Traveler With A Thirst for Authenticity & Culture

“My expeditions unfold the roots of who we are as human beings,” says Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis, who has walked solo across many of the world’s most remote places. “The difficultly in life is to know your mission. Mine is to be a little bridge between humans and nature.”

Marquis’ adventures are like the great expeditions from an earlier time — long walks, carrying all her own supplies, interacting with cultures, wildlife, and landscapes. The main difference: She is a woman traveling alone. “I disguise myself as a man every time I go on an expedition, hiding my hair under a desert hat, big sunglasses, no tight clothes (and always all covered up), and I always wear natural sand colors to be able to hide in the landscape,” she says of her strategy to avoid attention.

Between 2010 to 2013, Marquis crossed six countries, from freezing-cold mountains to scorching deserts, from high alpine to tropical jungles as she solo walked from Siberia to Australia. “I’ve been held at gunpoint by drug smugglers in the Lao jungle, and my camp was raided most nights for two months by big drunk Mongolian horsemen,” says Marquis of some of her expeditions’ sketchier moments. Her most challenging expedition was walking the most hostile terrain in Australia alone for three months while gathering her own bush food, as the aboriginal people do.

“Surviving — in any environment — is not just about the technicalities,” she says. “It’s about exploring our capacities to open new doors into the unknown, and allowing ourselves to be amazed about everything.”

Noteworthy Feats

  • 2000: She walked from Canada to Mexico.
  • 2002–2003: Spent 510 days alone crossing the Australian outback.
  • 2006: Trekked from Santiago, Chile, to Machu Picchu.
  • 2010–2013: Walked from Siberia to Australia.

Rebecca Rusch: A Biker Who Found A New Purpose While Exploring Her Past

“I love to use my bike as the ultimate tool for exploration and to see the world,” says mountain biker Rebecca Rusch.  Rusch’s passion to explore led her on her most challenging ride in 2015, where she biked, together with her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, 1,200 miles through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in 2015 to look for the remains of her father, a fighter pilot who was shot down in the Vietnam War.

“Riding the Ho Chi Minh Trail was the culmination of everything I’ve learned and trained for in my entire career,” says Rusch, who has also biked up and down Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. “It challenged me physically, but emotionally it was such a big personal journey that I came home a different person. I also came home with a new mission to do my part to help with the cleanup of the unexploded land mines that still exist there,” says Rusch, whose story is told in the 2017 film Blood Road.

“Finding a purpose to use my bike as a vehicle for change was a powerful experience and gave me focus for perhaps what I’ve been chasing all these years,” says Rusch. “I do believe that the world is a better place if everyone goes outside and gets sweaty and dirty.”

Noteworthy Feats

  • 2001: First female self-supported expedition river boarding down the Grand Canyon.
  • 2007, 2008, 2009: 24-hour solo MTB World Champion.
  • 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012: Leadville Trail 100 women’s champion.
  • 2015: Rode length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
  • 2016: Rode up and down Mount Kilimanjaro to support World Bicycle Relief.

Beverly Joubert: Taking Time and Risks to Spotlight Wildlife Preservation

Award-winning conservation filmmaker and photographer Beverly Joubert has devoted her life to protecting wildlife sometimes almost giving it up in the process. Joubert and her husband were filming water buffalo on the Okavango Delta and were both attacked, but luckily survived to tell the tale and continue their work protecting the world’s biggest predators.

The South African couple typically devote years to a single story and live most of their days in the African bush tracking specific animals. For example, their 2006 film, Eye of the Leopard, took five years to make and followed one leopard cub from eight days old until adulthood. The result: never-seen-before moments that capture the hearts of people around the world.

In 2009 Joubert started the Big Cat Initiative, a long-term effort to protect big cats and the ecosystems they inhabit. Their 2011 film “The Last Lions” reached more than 350 million people worldwide. Joubert’s photography has appeared in more than 100 publications.

Thanks to Men’s Journal for helping to spotlight their choices for the “25 Most Adventurous Women of the Past 25 Years”. We’re sure some of our Adventure Women could easily make that list in the future!