Women With Altitude: Preserving history, one hike at a time

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Editor’s note – Monthly ticket CNN is a travel series that focuses on some of the most interesting topics in the travel world. In July, we hit the roads to explore the world’s largest hiking trails.

(CNN) – Alice Wortley didn’t decide to be adventurous. After moving from busy Essex countryside to busy London in 2017 when she was in her late 20s and diagnosed with anxiety, she started walking as a way to calm her mind.

But her small steps paved the way for unexpected adventures.

While reading about French-Belgian explorer Alexandra David-Neil, Wortley stuck to the details of her groundbreaking journey to Tibet. In addition to hiking, David-Neil camped and slept in caves for two years – all in the clothes of his age.

“A lot of (female researchers) wear men’s outfits because it was simple,” Wortley explains. But others hiked in petticoats, climbed, biked, camped and much more – these women have to go through another hurdle to take seriously and make their dreams come true.

In addition to recreating the famous track, Wortley began exploring the same period-specific clothing and equipment that women used to better understand their psyche.

“I found that I really understood his reading and his writing more than I did in that old stuff now,” says Wortley.

Wortley wants to encourage other women to experience nature on their own terms, away from the stresses of everyday life.

Wortley wants to encourage other women to experience nature on their own terms, away from the stresses of everyday life.

Emily Almond Bar

Visiting Iran in the midst of an epidemic is difficult in itself, but trekking a vintage 1930s burberry coat to wear for tourism is also challenging.

Following in the footsteps of British-Italian explorer and travel writer Freya Stark, Wortley had to obtain a visa and accommodation to visit Iran’s Alamut Valley, often referred to as the Valley of the Killers.

But she decided to do it in the same clothes that Stark wrote passionately about in her trip diaries – the 1930s Burberry raincoat that the researcher wore on her travels.

Antique clothing collectors took weeks and plenty of emails, but Wortley eventually tracked down a coat – with a matching hat – to wear it on her tracks in a timely manner.

“When you spend most of your hard-earned money wearing it on a crazy trip to a 1930s Burberry coat, it makes you feel a little crazy,” Wortley said. Wrote on Instagram At the time, “but it really felt like the right thing to do.”

Not only that. For her David-Neil to go to Tibet, Wortley didn’t just keep her tools and supplies with her – she carried her inspiration herself, just like a 1920-style wicker chair.

Where the road leads

Wortley says he has a list of “about 150” women entrepreneurs whose journeys he wants to follow. But given that she pays for most of her travels herself – of late, she has attracted some sponsorship from brands like North Face and Clinic – she has to be prudent about what to do next.

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The epidemic only made it more challenging. One trip closer to home was a trek to Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom, which mimicked the journey of author and researcher Nan Shepherd.

Shepherd, a Scottish woman who lived for most of the 20th century, is best known for her book, The Living Mountain, in which she writes passionately and lyrically about outsiders.

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It was Shepherd’s words that came to Wortley’s mind when she saw the tourists of the day trying to reach the top of Ben Nevis.

She points out how much the “researcher” has to say about bragging rights in the literature, mostly white men in the West wanting to say that he was the first person to go somewhere, climb something or name a place. In fact, some male researchers do not visit the area once a woman arrives, claiming that her beauty has been ruined or that the thrill is gone.

Wortley says she has IIS "About 150" Women entrepreneurs whose journeys he wants to follow.

Wortley says she has “about 150” women entrepreneurs whose journeys she wants to follow.

Olivia Martin McGuire

More feet on the trail

It reaches out to local women to join them for some or all of the hikes depending on their comfort level and brings awareness about the history of women entrepreneurs.

While traveling, Wortley tries to hire a local women’s guide. It can be daunting, as many of these areas are sparsely populated.

For her India tour, Wortley got a local mentor, Nadia Fearless travelUK-based company in which she has worked in the past.

Meanwhile, while planning her Ben Nevis campaign, Wortley was using Jane Inglis Clark as her inspiration. Clarke co-founded the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club, which in 1908 is considered to be the oldest all-female climbing club in the world. Wortley reached out to current members of the club – who still organize hikes and walks today – as well as his descendants to find his travel companions.

Still, the thought of a multi-day trek through the Himalayas with a chair tied to your back may scare some people with the thought of going out. Wortley says that while she enjoys challenging herself, the most important drawback from her work is that the world belongs to everyone.

“These women were rogues, but you don’t have to be fit to get them out of nature or do a little adventure,” says Wortley.

Her goal? To encourage other women to experience nature on their own terms by staying away from the stresses of everyday life.

“On one trip, I literally had my notebook just to write. So I really just learned to sit and stay. I’d love to do that, actually – just get a lot of people out, maybe people who are obsessed. With social media and things like that, put all the phones in one box overnight and let people just sit and slow down. “

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