University of Minnesota Press

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your summer and considered (1) making history, (2) spending the whole thing on a wild 2,000-mile canoe trip, and (3) putting your relationship with your best friend to the ultimate test, then you know exactly what author Natalie Warren has experienced. In the summer after graduating college, Natalie and Ann Raiho set off on the banks of the Minnesota River with the ultimate goal of reaching the Arctic waters of Canada’s Hudson Bay in 90 days or less. Natalie writes all about their journey in her book HUDSON BAY BOUND, and is here today to chat with another history-making explorer, Ann Bancroft, who, along with Liv Arnesen, were the first two women to cross Antarctica. This conversation was recorded in October 2020.

More on Hudson Bay Bound: Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic:
More on Ann Bancroft's historic journey across Antarctica:

Show Notes

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your summer and considered (1) making history, (2) spending the whole thing on a wild 2,000-mile canoe trip, and (3) putting your relationship with your best friend to the ultimate test, then you know exactly what author Natalie Warren has experienced. In the summer after graduating college, Natalie and Ann Raiho set off on the banks of the Minnesota River with the ultimate goal of reaching the Arctic waters of Canada’s Hudson Bay in 90 days or less. Natalie writes all about their journey in her book HUDSON BAY BOUND, and is here today to chat with another history-making explorer, Ann Bancroft, who, along with Liv Arnesen, were the first two women to cross Antarctica. This conversation was recorded in October 2020.

More on Hudson Bay Bound: Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic: 

More on Ann Bancroft's historic journey across Antarctica:

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University of Minnesota Press
Episode 15: ‘The way you show up is everything’: History-making expeditions and the women behind them.

Sound bite: “It was hard for me to understand the larger cultural and political systems that we were defying by paving our own way as two young women paddling north for three months.”

Host intro: If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your summer and considered (1) making history, (2) spending the whole thing on a wild 2,000-mile canoe trip, and (3) putting your relationship with your best friend to the ultimate test, then you know exactly how author Natalie Warren feels. In the summer after graduating college, Natalie and Ann Raiho set off on the banks of the Minnesota River with the ultimate goal of reaching the Arctic waters of Canada’s Hudson Bay in 90 days or less. Natalie writes all about their journey in her book, Hudson Bay Bound, and is here today to chat with another history-making explorer, Ann Bancroft, who, along with Liv Arnesen, were the first two women to cross Antarctica. This conversation was recorded in October 2020.

Natalie Warren: Hi, I'm Natalie Warren. I'm a paddler. I'm a mother, scholar, environmentalist and author of Hudson Bay Bound.

Ann Bancroft: And I’m Ann Bancroft. I’m a polar explorer and educator and delighted to be here.

NW: I'm thrilled that you are here, Ann. I think it's about nine years ago, almost a decade that I first met you on the shores of the Mississippi River.

AB: That's right. It doesn't feel that long ago, but there was so much excitement in the air that day. It was great.

NW: Yes. And you've just been a wonderful role model, mentor, inspiration, sounding board and friend for me over the years, so, I'm excited to talk to you about some of the themes in my book. I wanted to chat first about the perhaps biggest theme and most difficult for me to articulate as I was writing the book and even still today, and that's really why it's so important that we were two women doing this expedition. At the time that we were doing the trip, I didn't fully understand the importance of being two women embarking on an expedition of that magnitude. Then, when people asked us about it, we would just say, “Oh, we're lucky to be the first two women. I don't know why two women haven't done this before.” You know, anyone can paddle if they have arms, so we were just kind of laughing it off at the beginning. It was hard for me to understand the larger cultural and political systems that we were defying by paving our own way as two young women paddling north for three months. So, in the book, I talk about the email we received from a sales rep when we were planning our trip that was riddled with problems, but really posed the question, “Why would I fund your vacation?” And now, nearly a decade later, I look back and I'm like, well, that was a really valuable experience for me as a woman, but also I can see the ripples that it made culturally and politically. I'm wondering what you think, like, why do you think all-female expeditions are important and how you've been able to articulate that?

AB: I want to go back for a second if I can and say that in reading your book, I felt a tremendous amount of parallels to my own experiences. And one of them is just what you're articulating and wanting to talk about now, is the importance of as women of venturing forward and following our passion. And sometimes, in the course of doing that, writing women into history and doing something that women haven't outwardly done before that sort of on the page in people's consciousness, because I felt the same way in 1985 getting ready for the North Pole trip. I just wanted to do it. It was my 10-year-old girl dream to go to the far reaches of the north. As a Minnesotan, you just look north all the time and dream. I wasn't thinking of the significance of being the only woman, the first woman. That was not sort of in my fabric; I just wanted to go. Like you, it became more and more important to write about it, to talk about these trips, to try and bring it forward in the consciousness of others, boys and girls and all sorts of people. And it's been a really interesting, I mean, I don't know how many years ago that was—1986 we were at the top of the world. It still shows me that there's work to be done in terms of gender equity, for sure. People are still amazed. They still have mythology around the way you should look to go up there or down there, wherever you're going. You know, you have to be big and burly or something like that. The outdoor world still has that sort of dressing to it. And of course, you and I know that it's not about that. It's about passion. It's about skill. It's about working together most importantly; it isn't about your physical size. And I think women do it better than men in some regard. Certainly, from a physiology standpoint, being in cold environments for a long period of time, women are actually better-suited. We have a little extra layer of body fat that we sometimes curse as child bearers. You know this well, just having [a child.] We're more efficient physiologically—we don't need as much to eat or drink and so we don't give off as much. But I also think our temperament, our creative way of problem-solving and communicating is not necessarily better, but it's different. And it needs to be in the equation as we head out and whatever the makeup of the team but I think it's really important and a treasure to travel with all women. Most of my life, it has been where I was the only woman because there just wasn't a lot of my female friends wanting to do what I was doing. And I sort of look at it as like you. There was certainly initially that surprise, but also that sense of privilege to be the first, to figure out what to do with it. And what to do with that platform is the way I sort of frame it, but I also get aggravated as well that in this day and age, it’s still sort of a phenomenon. I want us to be further along. And yet, the flip side of my coin is but how lucky am I that, in some ways, we weren't, because what an experience it has afforded me.

NW: Yes, absolutely. I think about that a lot, too. It's still amazing when two women decide to do something that if two men were doing it today, people wouldn't think so much about it. I've been thinking a lot about it because there have been major improvements in terms of elevating women in society. At the end of the day, though, you still go to that family dinner and the first question is, “Do you have a boyfriend?” Or the questions that we get from people that just seem harmless sometimes can be almost microaggressions or telling us what we should be doing and when we should be doing it, that I think is still very, very prevalent in society and directing people, especially women towards a specific path that we're told that we should take. And I think that's why it's still so surprising when women do something like a large outdoor expedition because we are actively defying the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle social cues that we've been getting our entire lives.

AB: I've loved the lessons that my major expeditions have put forward in terms of expectations, and then, when they get—when you do the expedition, a lot of those expectations or, just the notions that people have about you and what you're capable of, I love those that break down as the story unfolds. I've been doing this for so long in my life, and on the one hand, so much has changed and on the other hand, so little has changed. I've been so lucky that my polar expeditions, in particular, have sort of punctuated these time chunks from ’86 to ’92 to 2000. These big expeditions; you get to mark what has changed. You started off talking about trying to get funding. In my early 1992 expedition to the South Pole, we couldn't get any sponsorship. They just looked at us, like, “We can't risk it, even if we like what you're doing.” Another one would say, “You're just not big enough.” Or, [they would say,] “Why not take a dog.” Once we did it, we sort of bootstrapped our way to the South Pole, it changed a few minds, but not not enough. It's still a struggle. You still come up against people who—men and women, by the way—who look at me, and I bet you get this, too, because you’re far more petite, but people that say, “You’re so little to have done that.” And I go, nobody has ever called me little before, but okay. That's the mythology part that I just love busting. But you get to see over time with these expeditions the movement that our society has embarked on, or lack thereof, it just depends. But it's been such a lovely privilege for me to have had this long career in an area where so few people have traveled and definitely so few women. It gives me this real window into a lot of the subtleties of sexism and the inequalities to opportunity.

NW: We had moments on our expedition that I reflect on in the book where I was constantly thinking, would this be happening to us if we were two men? And the answer is you don't know for sure, but it's a feeling more than anything when somebody is overly concerned about you or tells us we need to get a dog for protection. Or, we got preyed on a lot. And on Lake Winnipeg, we had that older couple who just didn't want us to leave their sight because I think they were worried about us on a big lake. And in all of those moments, something would, it was an embodied sort of visceral feeling that told me that those were moments of sexism. And that's where I've been struggling to articulate exactly why. And you could argue it in circles with someone about how people would have said or done the same thing if we were two men. But at the end of the day, it's this feeling that I remember from all the trips that I've taken and even just small interactions that I have today, that sort of compile over time for me to better understand why it's so important and why we were so lucky to be able to be women doing that because those accumulate to be a very, very large barrier at the end of the day.

AB: Yeah, in some ways, my North Pole trip, because I traveled with seven men and forty-nine male dogs gave me personally, because I was an elementary schoolteacher and my work environment was predominantly female, I thought I knew what sexism was and all of that. When I got up on the ice, and I was living with the seven guys who are like my brothers, and we're still friends to this day, we're living together in our remoteness, which was really important for where I learned the lesson. I felt this subtle sexism from people that care about you and love you. We still joke about it today, and I'm still struggling with how to write about those difficult moments. But on that trip, I was able to articulate certain stories because I knew the word “sexism” just rattled, mostly men. So, I was struggling with what lexicon to choose from, what words to utilize to tell the story. And then, I realized, just tell the story, don't worry about the words. Don't lecture about sexism. Just tell the story and let them feel through the story what you felt. And that was wonderful because the story always delivered, and people got it. All ages, both sexes, they understood just what was going down. It became harder. And this is where I identify with what you just said. It became harder to articulate those stories when we were all women. Because, like you, it was a gut feeling, it was that gut feeling with question: I wonder if this would be happening if we were men, or if we had a man in the group. It's much harder to pinpoint it when you're all women, and you're feeling it. But what you do know is that you don't have to prove yourself to your team members when they're all women. You get that mess out of the way. It's not even there. But in a predominantly male group, you never lose that sense of “I can't falter because somebody will make the assumption it's because I'm too small, I’m a woman and this and that,” and you don't have that when you're with all women. It’s such a lovely way to start an epic, dream expedition.

NW: Absolutely. That's a great point. Ann and I—I mean expeditions, my favorite part about them is that really all you have to think about is moving and staying safe and what you're going to eat next and where you're going to camp. So, not having that extra layer in the dynamic of having to constantly prove yourself and your ability was an absolute privilege for traveling with Ann Raiho. I was wondering, you have been very active environmentally throughout your life, especially pertaining to water. I was wondering, how have your expeditions shaped your relationship with the natural world?

AB: That's such a great question, and I'm not sure I've really thought about it in that way, believe it or not. I say a lot that I feel so privileged. I have been so lucky to travel to places where so few have. And they're often quite stark environments. So, they can be really nasty one second, and you can blink and then, they're just glorious. All depends on the wind, the temperature and things like that; and the sun makes such a big difference. I've also been so privileged that I grew up in a rural setting. I live in a rural setting now. I just feel so attuned to nature; it helps me navigate the rest of the world, the world that you actually exist in most of the time is where I feel the best about myself. It was my refuge as a shy kid. I wasn’t a very good student with a learning difference. With all of that, it was my refuge and it remains so. I can't imagine trying to write or trying to work at the desk without going out walking. That's the way that it sort of loosens the bolts up a little bit. I'm always stunned. I'm 65 years old and I'm still astonished when you look out the window, as I'm doing right now, and it's so glorious that it just sort of brings you to your knees. And there's absolutely no words said or need to be said, just it doesn't. I think that's just such a powerful, powerful element. I worry about not having enough green space for your little Lucy, and clean water. I worry about what we're doing to this planet. Because it is so integral to who we are as human beings. And that's where I struggle to find articulation. Why is it that we need to be connected to the natural world, and we've modernized ourselves so much that I think so many people are disconnected. It's such a gift when you're able to open up their eyes on a walk or whatever it is that you do with somebody who's not really entered the world or been aware of it around them. You don't have to go so far, you can just go right out the door. But I think you and I and our friends have this wonderful sort of perspective because we've been able to travel and get to know the natural world that demands your honesty. You know who you are, the way you show up in it is everything, and you can't fake it. When you fake it, you get into trouble. We've learned a lot from the world around us. I think you and I both are trying to share those learnings with others so that they can have those awakenings as well.

NW: Yeah, absolutely. I think mental health is a huge component of that. I always feel like I'm being called back to the river. And I can't always respond, but it's this dull [feeling], it’s waiting for me or I need to get back to it. And it depends on the responsibilities in life. I look out my window right now in the city, and I see my neighbor’s Trump flag. So, it's very different from looking out your window right now. It's not as peaceful. But I do think that people are supposed to live in that systematic way in nature where we're all supposed to ebb and flow together, and we've become so disconnected with all of the destruction that we've done to the environment, but also how we've removed ourselves from the environment over time into this sort of paved, brick infrastructure, fences, all these things that keep us not only from other people, but from nature itself. And now, thinking about my daughter, what have I learned that I think is the most important. It's not how to be a good student or it's not I want you to succeed in your profession and career. I want you to have good mental health, and I know that that comes from time in nature and being able to step away from the busyness that is everything else. And I think if I can instill that in her with the help of people like you, then, I know that she will have a good life.

AB: It's interesting with all of this COVID[-19] stuff going on. People are out more. I always think that there's silver linings to the storms. The storm that we're in now, in some ways, has provided people with a new opportunity to go outside where they wouldn't. I've never seen so many walkers in the countryside. I'm like, I don't know who you are because they haven’t been out [before]. I moved, so I was getting rid of a lot of expedition gear that accumulates over time, and people were just scooping it up because they're going to go snowshoeing for the very first time or skiing or they're anticipating this disruption in their life this winter. And so, they're creatively trying to figure out other things to do, which they would have never done before. It brings a smile to my face every time. I've never sold so many camping pads in all my life.

NW: Yeah, definitely. And it starts with—all of the parks around Minneapolis right now are so busy, that people are starting to look further and further out and going camping overnight. And that transition almost from, “Oh, I go to a campground at a state park,” to “Oh, it'd be cool to camp in the wilderness in our own site,” and then just how it expands from there. You touch on a good point here, which is time spent in nature—whatever nature means to whoever is in it—really has a positive impact on that person and potentially, the environment in the long run even though we are going out into the environment and you're managing these groups of people in natural spaces. For me, the time that I've spent in the outdoors is the reason why I care so much about environmental issues politically; it's because I've seen it. I've been in the space. I've seen the tundra. I've paddled the Mississippi and I've seen what things could be and what they are now and the importance of cleaning up our water and thinking about how everything is connected and works together. And that really starts with a walk in the woods and starting to make the connections between the trees and the leaves and the soil or getting excited about a flower that you don't know the name of and then, you can really develop your environmental ethic just by starting to experience the environment itself.

AB: Yeah, absolutely. I think when you love something, that gives you the impetus to want to protect it. And in the case of the environment, it's a lifelong effort, because it's not going to be magic. We're not going to save the Boundary Waters in one sweep. I feel like in terms of that issue, I was fighting that when I was in college. It comes and it goes, there's different politicians, there's lifespans differently, so our efforts to engage others and help open their eyes and find the same astonishment that we have found in the natural world is a lifelong effort and our efforts to protect it follow that. I'm sure you felt this, too. What happens on an expedition happens in life. So, we're taking one step in front of the other and eventually, you get somewhere but you learn that it doesn't necessarily come quickly. It takes work. I always remind people that I chose to do these expeditions. I love them. They’re the hardest things I've ever done in my life, physically and emotionally. Everything is sort of hard fought. And I think, at least in this country, we tell young people all the time—we've been doing this for decades—follow your dreams, follow your heart. Well, dreams are hard won. I think when we encourage young people to follow their dreams, and be who they need to be, which I wholeheartedly endorse, we also have to finish that narrative with talking about what it takes. My dream as a 10-year-old girl after coming across the Endurance book on my parents’ bookshelf about Ernest Shackleton didn't come until I was 47. So, there's many mishaps along the way. What a wonderful ride that is. So it's fun to not only introduce the wilderness to people, but to utilize those stories to develop and encourage them to engage in wherever they are on that spectrum with the natural world. So, adventure can be in your own backyard, right in the heart of a city. There is green space. And so, how do we find those and engage with those and open our eyes wide open to find the amazement of a bug you don’t know or a flower you don't know. Every day, I find something new just by simply looking down.

NW: Following you on Instagram is a great pleasure because here's a picture of a mushroom but I know that this mushroom, it's just—you are a form of activism in the things that you do that might seem just commonplace, but they have so much impact and power and just knowing that you're walking through the woods and observing those things.

AB: Well, it’s my cryptic, political commentary actually through nature.

NW: I love it. So, thinking about how what happens in expeditions happens in life, it’s something that I reflected on in the book or tried to, because expeditions have really taught me that nothing really matters that I usually think matters in my normal life. Not that they're not important, it's important that we take care of people, it's important that we take care of humanity, those things matter. But when you are just worrying about staying alive and staying fed and staying warm, it really changes the perspective on what we are so anxious about in our day-to-day lives. I remember at the end of the trip thinking that the trip was an entire lifetime. It was really challenging paddling upstream, and you couldn't stop paddling for a second or else you would float backward. But then, you get to the Red River and you're flying and it's kind of boring after a while; you're just going fast, and I’m thinking maybe that's like when you have the job that you have been wanting and you're making good money and then you're like, wait, but what's the point? Then, you're on this massive lake where things hit you so quickly and so unexpectedly that you have to cope with and use the skills that you've built from the challenging times and the leisurely times to get by that and realize that you have very little control over your life. And then, the Hayes River, you've built up this wisdom and you're using all these technical skills. And then, in the book I sort of allude to, if the expedition is really a full lifetime, the end would be sort of floating out into Hudson Bay, but it really did feel like everything that I've learned from my trips have been parallel to different stages in my life. I'm sure it will continue to be that way. So, I really love that you said what happens on an expedition happens in life?

AB: Well, I love your analogy of our time on the river, on the water, was a lifetime.

NW: It feels that way.

AB: It does and how lucky are we that in a way we can pull away like that and all the noise is gone. We're not hooked up. What matters is the person in the bow and that you're taking care of each other and you're paying attention to the weather and the changes and you're able to feel the subtleties of your first week and your last week and the tone of your muscles and your shoulders, and your nut-brown body. That's all that's there, and then, you re-immerse and that's also another kind of shock and another kind of learning when you enter back into the world where we spend most of our time.

NW: Yeah, absolutely. The biggest shock for me is always finding a bathroom. You’re used to peeing, you wait until you have to pee right now. And then, you just squat. I remember being in New York City of all places and realizing I had to pee but you know, far too late and then trying to find a bathroom and just being like, I wish I were back in the wilderness. But lots of other shocks when you return to the world as well.

AB: Returning to the world has been one of the bigger challenges in a lot of ways when we're gone so long. I don't know about you and Ann but when Liv and I travel—Liv is my Norwegian ski partner—we've been traveling together for 20-plus years. Oftentimes, we don't talk. Of course, in the Antarctic, you can't really, the wind is in your face, you're in single file, you're behind a face mask and everything. So, that's not very conducive to conversation and then, we're both introverts. You're tired. But we have this language that is nonverbal, that connects us. But coming back into the rest of the world from that silence after 100 days, it takes all of your accumulative expedition life to sort of bolster yourself to do it; you learn skills about how to do it with grace and because as you know, you and Ann, your job didn't end when you finished on that distant shore, you had to share the experience. You had people to thank and greet. And so, in a way, the expedition is just in a different phase, as you reenter, but you're still in a way, working. And so, there isn't that internal reflection time that you got when you were on the water.

NW: Yeah, absolutely. I think the hardest part of the expedition was writing a book about it. When you're there, that's the fun part. And then, people [are saying,] “Oh, that must have been really challenging. You were in storms and camping through bad weather.” No, that was the best part, and this is the hard part is figuring out how to talk about it.

AB: Yes, you're writing the story, and it's predominantly your story. You've got to write about Ann, she's your buddy, she's your best friend, she did the experience. But you have challenges and how do you write an honest account about your friend and sort of the interpersonal moments that were a challenge.

NW: That's a great, great question. I often joke that I just wrote a book about Ann; more so than the trip. I tried to really bring in our relationship to it. Sometimes, it was awkward to talk to her and just check in and I'd be like, I'm writing this book, basically, about you, and she’d be like okay. I think for a while she thought like, “Oh, Natalie's just writing some stories.” And then, you know, I remember when I told her I was getting it published, and it was like, “Wow, okay, this is real.” And there are certain things that we talked about that Ann was pretty specific she didn't want public. And so, I had to play this delicate dance of how do I express these arguments that we had, from my point of view, which as we all know, when you're talking from your point of view in an argument—there's always another side to it.

AB: It's just the wrong side.

NW: Exactly. Right. Yeah, so it's a really interesting lesson or activity for me to have done to try to paint both sides as best as possible while still being very, very biased in my own experience, of course, as I wrote about those stories. John, my partner, always jokes that I was writing a historical fiction novel, because Ann and I would get together—and I don't know if you have this with Liv, too—but I'll say something like, “Oh, remember on our trip when this happened,” and Ann is like, “That happened?” And I’m like, “Yeah, you don't remember that?” She’s like no. I’m like, “I’m pretty sure this happened.” Recently, we were talking, with all the fires going on out West. Ann was telling me about these helicopters that were picking up barrels of water and dumping them on the fire. I said, “Well, remember when that plane on Lake Winnipeg had a big barrel on the bottom and it was picking up water right near us while we were paddling and dumping it on the fires just east of us.” She was like, no. I was like, what? As time goes by, you repress things and remember things. At the end of the day, you're questioning what really happened here if the two people who were there can't agree on it.

AB: Right. Well, Liv and I wrote our book together. And we did a lot of talking beforehand about how to—we both wanted, for instance, to be totally honest, because we feel like that's what nature demands of us. And so, we should give that if we're going to recount the story. And we also said, well, we don't want to go you write one chapter, I write the other. But we started, we had our journals as you did and what we learned from it—the book was the hardest thing on our friendship—and what we learned was that even though we experienced the exact same thing, and wrote about it that night, so not very many hours later, you interpret the exact same moment differently. I remember saying something like “but my journal says so, so therefore, “and then, she’d go “well, my journal says this.” And I’d go “well, it’s in Norwegian, I can’t read it, so I don’t know.” But we had really hard, hard moments. Then later, we had to go walking—we get together, she's in Norway and I’m in Minnesota—to work it out. And of course, what does that do but deepen your friendship. Either it breaks it or it deepens it. It was such a good learning that your journals are not the Bible and that four eyes, not two, they see different things, and you reinterpret and your memory as you said, for us, it's 20 years ago, the trip takes on different meaning. And the stories change over time. I used to listen to my father who was a consummate storyteller, and we all would look at each other and go “well, that story's evolving.” So was ours. And so, it’s given up because we lecture sometimes together, too. And you just have to let it go. You can't say it's not true, because it's her truth.

NW: Right, exactly. And being able to go through not only the expedition but I imagine that process of writing a book together and still being sisters and best friends at the end, I think is a really good mark for the importance of having those challenges in our relationships because they end up being our most valuable relationships. When I think back to the big fight that Ann and I had on Lake Winnipeg, she is the person that I have had the most conflict with, and she is the person who is closest to my heart. So, in expeditions, those things really come out because you really have no choice—what are you going to do, paddle backhome by yourself? You have to get through it in that physical space and also in the emotional space and coming out the other end is a really, really powerful thing in relationships like that.

AB: Yeah.

NW: Is there anything else that you want to talk about?

AB: I always love talking with you, because we go all over the place and you're so articulate. I just want to go back to your book. I loved reading it. I mean, one of my favorite books was Canoeing with the Cree. My dad gave it to me when I was pretty young. I think I was in high school. And I always wanted to do that trip. We started by you reminding me of being on the shores of the Mississippi and I was watching the two of you getting ready to launch and just that excitement that I had for you, all that was before you. I just loved reading your book and feeling the parallels of our very different experiences, but many common threads from our friendship being forged deeper, to unknown challenges, to the way in which women receive women doing these trips, all of it. What a pleasure to read your version of that remarkable trip.

NW: Thank you, Ann. I'm just so honored that you were able to write the foreword for it and be a great cheerleader throughout the years. I remember a very specific moment talking with you. It was before we were going off to do the Yukon River quest with our team of six women. We were going back and forth about why we should be doing it because we needed to raise money to be able to go and do it. So, our whole team was bouncing off different social justice ideas and environmental issues and why are we going here and paddling 450 miles in 53 hours. What can we get people excited about. You had me over to your place and I was talking to you about it and you said something that really made a difference for me. It was that the trip itself is enough, you don’t need to add all those other things to get people to care about. Other people are going to be so excited that you’re doing it at all, that you’ll get the support that you need. And now that I’m a little bit older, and I have people reach out to me who are doing trips, I just repeat that because it was so helpful to me as someone who is constantly trying to make a difference in the world and do these larger expeditions. To be able to know that just women going on trips was enough for people to get really excited about it and to be able to support you, you have definitely done that for me. I’m trying to pass that on now to women who are doing similar expeditions, so thank you for that negative wisdom that will live on hopefully.

AB: Well, you’re welcome.

NW: Well, all right, my time is limited before a crying child and a dog come back, so I should probably start to wrap things up here. But thank you so much for taking the time to talk. It’s always so fun, and I just really appreciate your support and your friendship.

AB: Well, right back at you, girl. I’ve said this to you before, but I knew that afternoon watching you guys on the shore of the river that I would see you again and that has come back in spades to be true. And, how lucky am I. Thanks for hanging out with me for this last fifty minutes.

NW: Oh, yeah, a great pleasure.

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