My name is Catherine Edsell, I am a female adventurer, expedition leader, PADI divemaster, Reef Check trainer, yoga teacher, FRGS, mother of two, and for me, the 'mother of two' is the hardest challenge I have ever had to face.
I have been working in the expedition arena since 1997, and was a full time expedition leader until 2004 when my first daughter was born. I was initially under the illusion that I could just strap the child to my back and carry on, but although this may work in the African bush, or the paddy fields of Nepal, it didn't really work for me.
After my second child was born and I realised that my first daughter was exhibiting developmental issues, my world closed in, and my first real adventure after that was not until 2011, when my need to explore was stronger that all the limiting factors in my way, and I took the children to work in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. At that time, Hannah was 4 and Olivia 6. It was an amazing achievement, and although both children were sick, one bad enough to take us to hospital, it was worth every minute of it.
From then on I sought to involve more adventure in my life once again; I trained as a Divemaster, as it is easier to take kids to a beach, than to drag them through the jungle, and I started to lead expeditions again with my kids in tow. The juggling act of school, dealing with my eldest's developmental issues, house, work, marriage, (aka life), and making sure that I lead at least a couple of expeditions a year is not an easy one, but it is important for me to have that balance, to be free, to be able to inspire others, to demonstrate to the other mums at school that you can break the mould, to teach my children that the world is a huge but accessible place, and that each environment has it's own challenges, and it's own beauty. I lead predominantly scientific research expeditions now, and cover all manner of environmental issues in my work, which I love. I recently had an idea to open up the expedition and adventure world to other mums who, like me, have felt trapped by the limitations of their situation, or who just don't think they can muster up the energy to climb anything higher than the stairs at night, and whose tropical forest is enclosed in a palm house. This has now become a reality, and it's not just for mums - all women welcome! Its a huge world out there....