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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Elise Wortley

Elise WortleyTo celebrate International Women’s Day, Elise Wortley, a beautiful fearless adventurer, spent three weeks hiking in the Cairngorms, retracing the footsteps of 1940s explorer, Nan Shepherd.

Walking, eating and sleeping alone, she only used clothes and equipment Nan would have had access to 80 years ago – even down to the big cotton pants.

To explain why she did this, we have to go back in time to when she first read Alexandra David-Néel’s book My Journey to Lhasa.

She promised her husband she would come back within 18 months time, but instead her journey lasted nearly 14 years.

In it, Alexandra recounts the final six months of her epic 14-year journey through Asia, and her quest to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa.

Totally inspired, and still thinking of this book 14 years later, Elise decided to create ‘Woman With Altitude’ - a mission which she set on, along with her all-female team in order to follow in the footsteps of many of history’s formidable female explorers.

What they were doing was trying to gain an understanding of the journeys these remarkable women made and to shine a light on their incredible achievements.

"The most beautiful part of my journey was just wandering around, wherever I wanted, finding the places Nan mentioned in The Living Mountain."

Elise Wortley“I decided to act on that idea that had always been in the back of my mind - to recreate Alexandra’s journey in some way, and to experience life travelling as a woman as closely as she would have done in the era she did it in."

"I realised that the only way to truly do this, and to truly do her journey justice would be to do exactly as she did, taking with me only what she had available to her.”

After completing this first life-changing expedition, Elise set about celebrating the stories and achievements of other female explorers throughout history.

Next up was Nan Shepherd, one of the United Kingdom’s best-known nature writers and mountain wanderers.

Elise decided to retrace the solo journey Nan took in the 1940s and wrote about in The Living Mountain – described by The Guardian as 'the finest book ever written on the nature and the landscapes in Britain'.

Elise scaled the six highest peaks of the Cairngorms in five days, before spending a further 12 days just living in the mountains as Nan would have.

She lived without any modern comforts (no smartphone), carrying all her equipment in a wooden backpack, dressed in tweed clothing, eating war rations and sleeping in a canvas tent for three weeks in the Cairngorms National Park.

Walking, eating and sleeping alone, she only used clothes and equipment Nan would have had 80 years ago – even down to the big cotton pants.

Elise WortleyThe best three words would Elise would use to describe The Cairngorms were "stunning, unpredictable and immense.”

“When I first got to the Cairngorms it was bright sunshine in Aviemore. Naively, I thought that this would be the case when I went a little higher into the hills – but, how wrong I was and I should have known better!.”

”There was a storm for about 5 days, with constant horizontal rain and wind so loud that I couldn't sleep at night and my tent kept blowing over.”

"It really was a baptism of fire! But after that the weather did clear up. The most beautiful part of my journey for me was just wandering around."

"Wherever I wanted to go, finding the places Nan mentioned in The Living Mountain, but really with no place to be, and no specific time to be there. It was really liberating.”

“My favourite place that I think about all the time is Loch Avon. I'd heard about it before but actually seeing it in person was an amazing moment."

"You can't really see it until you get to the very edge of the steep rock cliff that leads deep down to the loch, and then it just appears below - a shimmering amazing blue colour"

"When the weather was warmer, I went back to Loch Avon, as I wanted to have a skinny dip like Nan writes about in her book."

Elise Wortley"The water was crystal clear and there was no one around - just me and nature. It was absolutely freezing, but it was the best moment of my trip, I'll never forget it.”

“After exploring the world there have definitely been some dark moments over the last year, like I'm sure there has been for everyone, and it's been especially hard in London for me without much green space!"

"But, I'm lucky I've been able to work on lots of future trip planning, as well as reading a pile of books on female adventurers that I've had for years!”

“There are so many female adventurers I would love to follow, all over the world. With the current situation, I'm hoping my next journey will be closer to home again, and take me to Ireland to follow in the footsteps of pirate queen Grace O'Malley."

"Not to give too much away, but think old wooden boats, stone castles and the wild west coast of Ireland would be splendid!”

"To me, Alexandra David-Néel’s book 'My Journey to Lhasa' was one of those books I just couldn’t get over. You know when you read a book or see a film and you keep thinking about it for weeks afterwards."

"It was like that, except that with this book, I never stopped thinking about it. The book recounts the final six months of Alexandra's epic 14 year journey through Asia."

Elise Wortley"In her quest to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, Dressed as a poor pilgrim, she reached Lhasa against all odds in 1924."

"Even though it was 12 years after reading her book for the first time, I was still wondering just how she managed to achieve what she did."

Fourteen years of dealing with the cold, the wet, illness and of course the constant pressure and difficulty that came with being a female traveller in the early 1900s.

"So with my yak wool coat, a wooden backpack I made out of an old chair and an all-female team in tow, I set off in search of a special cave, the worlds third highest mountain and answers to questions I'd had for the last 13 years."

"After returning from this life-changing first expedition, I realised that the stories and achievements of female explorers in history - like Alexandra should be celebrated and never forgotten."

"I've made it my mission to bring these stories back to life, to inspire this generation and the next the same way they have inspired me."

"In July 2019 I set off on my second adventure to the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, to follow in the footsteps of Nan Shepherd, one of the UK's best known nature writers and mountain wanderers."

"Water - I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body; but I fear its strength. I fear it as my ancestors must have feared the natural forces that they worshipped."

"All the mysteries are in its movement. It slips out of holes in the earth like the ancient snake...’ - Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain.

Elise WortleyElise Wortley is a 'Woman with Altitude', and numerous other attributes like courage, fearlessness and determination that are bringing to life the incredible lost histories of these female adventurers.

By literally walking in their footsteps and using only what was available to them at the time - she and an all-female team following in tow are bringing a new generation to an awareness of their accomplishments.

Throughout history, female adventurers have been overshadowed by their male counterparts. This project highlights these groundbreaking women's stories and achievements, with the hope to inspire women and girls today.

Woman with Altitude can truly show what “the will of a woman can do”. To date, no one else has re-created these journeys in this way.

This is the first time we will truly understand what these women experienced on their remarkable journeys. The project also raises money for women's charities along the way.

"A large part of why I decided to do this expedition was in order to highlight roles of women in adventure travel."

"Also to focus on female adventure travel guides around the world as well as trying to inspire as many other women as I can to put themselves out of their day to day comfort zone."

"To take on a challenge - whatever that might be to them personally. This is a large part of why it was really important to me to keep the team as a female one whenever I could."

Elise Wortley"The interesting thing is that I was told by many people that I would never find any female guides in northern India. But, after a massive search I managed to find a local guide called Jangu, who could not have been more remarkable."

"Joined by an incredible cinematographer, Emily Almond-Barr, who documented the journey I was ready. Emily owns her own production company that focuses on getting more women onto film sets. She possessed an attitude and approach to her work which was nothing short of inspirational."

"I don’t think I would have done anywhere near as well if I had not had these two remarkable women there to support me."

"Emily and Jangu were always there for me and made me realise how important it is for us women to stick together and support each other rather than be competitive."

"As it turned out we weren’t an entirely female team. It proved impossible to find female porters in India. Unfortunately, it’s just not a job that’s socially acceptable for women to do."

"So we were also joined by seven local guys from Lachen, who helped us carry food, equipment and my spare emergency clothes."

"Fortunately, after their initial shyness with these three mad looking women, they became the life and sole of our trip."

www.womanwithaltitude.com

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Innangelo Paris Scarves

Inna Zobova is a fashion model and actress residing in Paris and is the designer of her own line of exquisite scarves. Her unique visual design signature is based on drawings, mixed media and photography. INNANGELO's scarf collections are crafted by Ratti. This prestigious company was founded by Antonio Ratti in 1945 on Lake Como in Italy and is one of the biggest luxury textile manufacturers in the world. The Ratti name is a symbol of resolutely ambitious quality in the world of luxury. Click on the image above and look at Inna Zobova's designs.

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Alparslan: Büyük Selçuklu - the first episode in Turkish is on TRT1 and an English subtitled one will be available on NetFlix in the future.

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Yabanci

Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look


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