I’ve seen quite a few bloggers doing this kind of post recently, including my good friend Zoe, and with an influx of new followers I thought it was as good a time as any to introduce myself. It’s also a nice way to step away from walks, history and kit reviews – even if only for a moment!
A. Art – I was actually banned from taking GCSE Art, because there was ‘no point me taking it as I would fail’ – talk about inspiring the youth! They were right, though, as nobody needs sheep made of clouds and sticks, and at the time the only thing I could vaguely draw was a T42 destroyer (are we surprised). Still, I love art and have grown up with a father who is an artist, so it was bound to stick. I love my dad’s work, but my absolute favourite painting in the world has to be The Fighting Temeraire by Turner, now housed in the National Gallery in London.
B. I pondered whether to stick blogging here, but we all know I like that, or you’d not be here and reading this, would you? So, bikes take the top spot here for ‘B’. I adore cycling, and most of my recent trips and outdoor weekends have been on a bike due to a bad knee injury. After a second MRI scan recently, I could now step away from the cycling a little, but I won’t – I’m now hooked. It’s not just cycling, though. I started my journey towards buying my Triumph TR6 a few years ago, and never finished that trip because I fell in love with the comfort of having a car. 2019 is the year that I start this journey again and my Steve McQueen dreams are in sight once more… Albeit with my sights now set on a shiny Triumph Scrambler.
C. This one will be pretty self explanatory. I start every day with a coffee whether I’m at home, on the water or in the hills. A new favourite discovery is the coffee bag. It makes all my trips far easier and tastes as good as some fresh coffees. Winner!
D. I think there is only ever one that can come under D and that would be Dartmoor. My favourite UK National Park, the place I learned to navigate, to pack a rucksack, to bog hop, to tor bag and the place that introduced me to the concept of both “Type II Fun” and grid sprints! I still head down there regularly, and it’s home to my favourite spot in the world on the north moors.
E. Shackleton is one of my expedition heroes. He led three British expeditions to the Antarctic – Discovery, Nimrod and the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. It was the latter of these that saw the ship, Endurance, being used. I could write essays on Shackleton, but there’s so much online to read about him and his expeditions. His family motto was ‘Fortitudine Vincimus’ or ‘By Endurance We Conquer’ (hence the renaming of the ship to Endurance) and I have this tattooed on my foot as it resonates with me.
F. My friends and family. Without their support I’d probably not still be blogging, I’d not have applied for half the things I have applied for, I’d certainly not have gone back to university and my life crises would go unsolved. I love you all.
G. I am so proud to be an Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, and in that time have worked with some fantastic brands and organisations, filmed adverts, been in campaigns, given talks, but none of those come close to being an ambassador for the company that gave me my fascination with maps and their symbols. From D of E to Ten Tors, to now my own trips, I always have an OS map with me, and to be able to work with them on inspiring people to enjoy the great outdoors is a true privilege.
H. History was going to pop up at some point. Since the age of 8, when my parents took me to visit HMS Victory, I’ve been interested in naval history. This expanded as a teenager when I joined the Sea Cadets and by the age of 22 I was on Mastermind, with my specialist subject being The Life & Career of Horatio Nelson. Now? I have taken it further and am studying for a MA in the subject, naval history of course, and am planning to (hopefully one day) take it one step further and become Dr Jamieson, naval history nerd. I’ve been fortunate to use my love of history to tell Sea Cadets about Nelson and Trafalgar, to become involved with The Trafalgar Way and even judged their short story competition last week, meaning I got to visit the historic Admiralty Boardroom… Yeah, I squealed a bit.
I. Idris Elba? Can I say that? Ok, I’ll be sensible… I is for Imposter. I have achieved a lot through my blogging in the past few years, and also in my personal life. I work very hard, I ‘hustle more than anyone’ according to one of my friends, and yet when I win an award, am asked to do something, or give a talk, given an opportunity, I feel a total imposter. As though I shouldn’t be there. I’m an outdoor blogger, but have barely been into the mountains since March as my knee has been making me cry with pain, am I worthy of winning Outdoor Blogger of the Year? I cycle but ‘not seriously’ despite having ridden across the country, I like history but until recently when a friend told me otherwise, I didn’t consider myself a historian, I post naval history everywhere, should I have separate accounts? Am I clever enough to do a Masters, am I good enough to get that job (I was). I’m not sure where this came from – perhaps from a teacher who once told me all I was good for was having kids and watching Coronation Streer (joke’s on you Mr Agnew, I have no kids and the only soap I binge is Holby). One day perhaps I’ll have a bit more confidence in my abilities, but for now the imposter syndrome well and truly remains.
J. There can only be one. My favourite singer, my favourite voice, Mr Johnny Cash. Since I was a kid I have loved Folsom Prison Blues, no seriously, here’s a video… and that has never gone away. I absolutely love him.
K. Well, my name is Kate, so we’ll go with that… It’s not short for anything and it’s not because I ‘don’t like my real name’ either. My birth certificate/passport/everything says Kate, just Kate!
L. Lawrence. El Aurens, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ – T.E Lawrence is the author of one of my favourite books – Seven Pillars of Wisdom – and subsequently one of my favourite quotes/passages – “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible”.
M. The mountains have always held a special place in my heart, I climb, ski and walk them. but one in particular holds a special place in my heart, and that’s the Matterhorn. As a kid I would rope up (with skipping ropes) and take my climbing partners (Barbie, Ken and Action Man) on climbing expeditions of the ‘Toblerone Mountain’, which I now know to be the Matterhorn. I planned to summit before I was 30, but my knee put pay to that, so instead I’m planning to climb it in my 30th year. 2020, here I come.
N. As a kid, all I wanted to do was join the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer – In fact, up until last year I had the same plan but for Logistics (once my knee was fixed) but now? I like my freedom to sod off and climb mountains, to go away whenever I want to and also to get a doggo, when time allows… Ok, not really valid excuses, I’m just trying to make myself feel better about the fact my knee will probably never be good enough and I’ll be too old, haha! I don’t regret going straight from uni into a job in maritime security, I loved it, but part of me will always think “what if?” I guess… So, now, I shall just continue to study and write and speak about naval history,
O. Originality – I like to think I’m a pretty unique individual, and that’s why I’ll never separate my outdoor pursuits from my naval history. Both of them make me who I am and have done since childhood, and whilst people on IG have messaged me telling me I should separate them, I never will. My social media profiles are me, which means outdoor fun and naval history, along with life crises and who knows what else… and long may they stay that way!
P. I’m going to go with polo here. One of my favourite sports, and one I really need to get back in to. I used to play for my university team as an undergrad and I miss it so much… Ok, so I buggered my shoulder, had an unfortunate incident with a Sea King helicopter and a skittish pony, but there is absolutely no sport like it in the world. The sport of kings.
Q. Through my time in cadets I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the Queen 3 times. I was limited on what to use for Q, ok?
R. Reading – I am forever sat with my nose in a book, that’s not changed since I was a kid. I used to go to my local library and take out 10 books (the limit) a week, and would read them all. Now? I get through at least a book a week, and whilst my friends wonder at my bookshelf and think it’s purely for decorative purposes, I’ve read every book on there – sometimes multiple times. I think I spend more money in Waterstones than is acceptable, much to the displeasure of my bank manager. I have a kindle for when I go away and can’t lug multiple books with me, but there is nothing better than flicking through a hard copy.
S. The sea is my favourite place to be, moreso than the mountains I think. It has a calming effect on me and I always head to the coast when I need some headspace or a break. If I’m angry, upset, very excited about something or just want some real, fresh air – I’ll likely be beside the sea somewhere. I’ve sailed since I was 14, and have no intention of not being on the water at every opportunity, any time soon!
T. I am a planner… I like to plan, I like to be organised. Partly because I have so much going on that if I don’t, something will be missed, and partly because I am secretly a ditzy sparkle fairy with my head in the clouds. I work full time, am studying for a MA, volunteer with 3 organisations, and trying to write an ebook and keep a blog going. On top of that I have to try and maintain a social life and deadlines for brands I guest write for. I know I harp on about Trello a LOT on social media, and here I am again. When my friends ask how I manage everything, this is my answer. Trello is a project management tool that I’ve been using a couple of years now; you add cards per task, with deadlines, stickers and checklists. It’s free, it’s brilliant, it gives the great illusion of having your life together!
U. I recently went back to university, and it was the best decision I’ve made. I studied International Relations as an undergraduate at Plymouth and whilst I loved it, it wasn’t what I saw myself studying further. I knew I would be studying around work, and that it would need to be something I adored, so history won and here I am doing my MA at Exeter. Studying part time around a full time job is a lot of work, a good test of my time management skills and don’t even start me on the drive… I live near Southampton, so it’s a good 5.5/6 hours of driving (thankfully only one day a week), but I feel so much more motivated in both my work and personal life. I don’t even mind writing essays and doing work this time round!
V. Well, it can only really be Victory. The ship that inspired my love of naval history.
W. I love to escape, I use the outdoors as a place to clear my head, to think through the week and the coming weeks and there is nothing I love more than escaping outdoors for a wild camp in a sneaky spot nobody knows about!
X. X is always so difficult, but as X-Rays, Ultrasounds and MRI scans have been my life for the last 2 years, I think they earn a spot. I finally know what’s wrong with my knee after 2 years, I know what’s causing the pain and I now know how to fix it. 2019 will be a year of leg days and mountains!
Y. In 2019, I’m starting a little YouTube channel, at the request of my followers… Stay tuned to see what it will be about, but expect the outdoors and history, naturally.
Z. You know those films you can stick on any day, any time and never get bored of? One of mine is Zulu. It’s a cinematic masterpiece, though it does always end with me getting Men of Harlech stuck in my head. A small sacrifice.
So, there you have it. Me in A-Z… Of course there are hundreds of other things I could have used for each letter, and it was incredibly difficult to only pick one, but I think this has given the best overview of who I am!