Natalie took a leap of faith 3 years ago that changed her life. Having worked for the Ambulance Service since 2001, she decided to take on one of the Seven Summits.
Having never climbed anything higher than Brown Willy, Natalie signed up for Kilimanjaro which sparked a series of life changing events that led Natalie to return to Kilimanjaro 6 months later with a qualification in expedition medicine and a determination to push herself above and beyond anything she’d done before.
Natalie has now spent 46 days working on Kilimanjaro as an Expedition Medic, whilst also running a GP style clinic for the Tanzanian staff working on the mountain. Natalie has first-hand experience of being a 360 client – she has undertaken the Lares Trek in Peru and 2 Winter Skills courses with Rolfe and most recently the incredible Stok Kangri expedition in the Himalayas, Ladakh, India.
Next up is Toubkal and then the jungle Manaslu Circuit in Nepal.
What was your first adventure?
It would have to be the school camping trip when I was about 10 years old!
We were camped out in Tehidy Woods, all supposedly tucked up for the night, but no, we had to go exploring. Each one of us daring the next to go further and further from our tent.
My turn comes around and obviously I get totally lost and end up crawling into a tent full of smelly boys (I was 10yrs old!!). They start shouting about a girl being in their tent and I get caught. I was frogmarched back to my tent to find all the girls pretending to be fast asleep!
I can still remember the horror on James’s face at seeing me climbing into his tent. I’m hopeful he wasn’t scarred for life!
What has been your most memorable adventure?
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend long periods of time trekking up and down Kilimanjaro over the last couple of years and I can honestly say that it should be on everyone’s to do list. I have never enjoyed myself more than I did when I was over there, living in a tent, washing in glacial water and dealing with Marge Simpson style hair!
The highlight of one trip was spent at Barranco camp, sitting outside on a clear night, full moon high over the summit and the stars extending as far as you could see. The camp staff, clearly used to the view, thought I’d gone a bit doolally with Altitude Sickness and it took me a while to convince them otherwise!!
What item of travel kit you can't do without?
My travel speaker!
There is nothing better than a good camp dance-off to some cheesy music after a hard day walking up a mountain!
A mountain playlist passes the time like you wouldn’t believe, but it also has the added benefit of taking you back there every time you hear it afterwards.
What three bits of advice would you give to people who are keen on adventures, trekking and climbing?
- You won’t use half the stuff you think you will, so think about the person carrying it. Honestly, the gas powered hair straighteners that went on my first Kili trip didn’t see the light of day!!
- The best gear isn’t always the most expensive. Search eBay, Outdoor Gear Exchange and various other sites. Starting out can be super expensive, so grab a bargain whenever you can! Ask opinions, but do your research too.
- Physical preparation can get you so far, but Mental preparation can get you all the way.
What is the best thing about your job?
I couldn’t pick a best part, I just love all of it – from preparation to flying, to trekking, to immersing myself in the culture, it’s a really great way to live.
Getting to experience something for the first time is exciting, but experiencing it with a bunch of like minded people can be even better.
I can honestly say that I really love my job!
Why did you choose to work for 360?
My first encounter with 360 was a bit epic. I signed up to a Winter Skills course without much (any) idea of what I was agreeing to. It was HARD, but I loved it. Shortly after the course, another travel company left our Peru team without a holiday. With only a couple of months to go before departure, 360 came to our rescue and provided us with an extraordinary trip.
I now wouldn’t travel on an Expedition with anyone else, and after building up my overseas trekking portfolio, I was honoured to be offered a job with the 360 Team.
I know people say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but in this case I would highly recommend it!!