WOMEN'S ADVENTURES NZ
By Debbie Goldingham
Rain pelted down, palm trees fringing the shoreline tossed madly, as heads down, eyes fixed on the road ahead of us, furiously pumping our legs, we bravely cycled through the storm. Day one of our cycling trip around the island of Savaii in Samoa and it wasn’t looking too good. My itinerary had said that once we got off the ferry from Upolu, we would stop at the local market, pick up some food for a picnic lunch and stop along the way at a nearby swimming hole for lunch…...yeah right!
We had dodged through the waterfall curtain that poured off the corrugated iron roof of the marketplace, loaded our supplies into our accompanying support van before heading back into the deluge.
One of the meanings of the word “adventure” is, “not knowing what the outcome is going to be.” Things can often turn out a bit differently to what the itinerary says but this often works out as a positive as the women on the adventure get a sense of empowerment, ownership, comradery and bonding that comes about through sorting out the next step together. Yes, I’m the leader of the adventure and generally there is a Plan B but I love it when we work together as a team to make it happen. This is just one of the many pluses of women having an adventure together.
So how and why did Women’s Adventure NZ start. I started taking women on adventures because basically there were so many adventures that I wanted to do and I figured that there must a lot of women like me out there. Not your hard core adventure enthusiasts or your adrenalin junkies but just everyday women who wanted to try new things but didn’t want to do them on their own, women who wanted have a bit of adventure in their lives and meet other like minded women. And of course busy women who wanted someone else to do all the planning, researching and organising for them.
It’s been nine years now and I’ve organised all sorts of different adventures from learning Burlesque dancing to two week tours over to Samoa, Bali and Vietnam. From easy half and one day adventures like horse riding, cycling, kayaking, fishing, caving, bush walks to multi day cycling, travelling and cultural adventures.
Women’s Adventures NZ has been the catalyst for women creating new friendships, for getting some valuable “me time,” for learning new skills, for gaining confidence and courage and for discovering and exploring new dimensions of themselves.
“Why not have men come on the adventures,” I get asked this a lot, usually by men. Whether we like it or not the dynamics of a group change when there are men involved. You get a bunch of women together who don’t know each other and within a very short time there’s lots of laughter, sharing of stories, deep discussions, lots of support and encouragement and of course - fun! When there are men in the mix, women tend to be a bit more reticent, not as open and sharing and the men, sorry guys, but they do tend to take over!
There’s lots of adventures coming up and I’m always hearing about new things to try. Just some of the adventures on the calendar are: the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, Horse Riding, a weekend in Rotorua, Vietnam in October this year and in April 2019, Bali in October 2019, E- Cycling and Winery tour on Waiheke Island, the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail and Art Deco in Napier.