I have been asked by quite a few people if I made money from this expedition. The short answer: no..
The slightly longer answer… I put everything I had into the cost of the training and expedition and I’m still paying off this debt since I have been back. I have absolutely no regrets at all, this expedition was so important to me and it is heartwarming to hear that people were inspired. I also think it’s important to be honest about my experiences.
I have been asked if I’m a millionaire a few times too. One website even suggests I’m worth 3 million 😂They should see my bank accounts!
Financial stability has always been important to me, joining the Army Reserves when I was 19 helped me with that. I had student loans, bursaries and money I was earning from the Reserves to help me through University.
I was saving for a house for a few years and then decided to pick quite an expensive interest… I struggled to gain interest and sponsors on board for my Antarctic expedition for a while and decided to use my house and life savings to go on a training trip to Greenland, a trip I didn’t fully pay off until 5 Nov 21, I flew to Chile for Antarctica on 7 Nov 21. I did get corporate sponsors on board for the Antarctic expedition, I would not have been able to afford the expedition without them.
I also bought a house last year taking full advantage of the Help To Buy scheme. I didn’t get funding for my MSc so also paid this off before I left.
I’m still paying a huge cost of this expedition off and it has been difficult. I struggled when I came back with the amount of talks, driving and trying to sort my life/finances out.
Just before I left, my expedition became an Army expedition. This means I didn’t have to take any leave and my role when I came back has been with the Army engagement team.
Since I have returned, my role in the Army has been doing school talks all over the UK. I’m still being paid in my Army role but the talks are not paid. I have reached over 15000 students over the last 3 months which is amazing. I do love talking to people and it has been rewarding. It has also been exhausting. 3-5 talks a day in different regions of the UK. I think it’s ok to acknowledge although something is positive, it has also been difficult.
If you’re drowning and don’t tell anybody how will they know? I come alive when I talk, I can smile and do interviews. It is the in between that has been the struggle.
I’ve started to put boundaries in place which has helped me. I’m completing my last set of Army talks this week and will be back to my full time job. I’m working out a plan to help me with my finances and I definitely see the light.
It’s ok to talk about the struggles, it doesn’t make you weak, I think it makes you stronger. I’m acknowledging my struggles and making a plan to move forward.