It was a cold Wednesday evening and I was one of around 350 people racing to get a good seat for a lecture. Yes, a lecture.

If University had included more lectures like this, I’d have been on time, awake and enthusiastic for every single one.

British adventurer, Anna McNuff, was speaking in Bristol. An evening of living vicariously through someone else’s bravery was ahead, all thanks to Wilderness Lectures.

Bounding down the stairs and engaging the audience from the first words of her opening story, the scene was set. It takes a lot more than great story to hold the attention of a room full of people and you could hear a pin drop as Anna shared her adventures. Well, in between bursts of laughter and the occasional collective ‘urgh’ as the tales turned to toenail malfunctions and forest toilets.

On this occasion, Anna was sharing her most recent adventure with us; running the length of New Zealand. Travelling alone for 148 days, running up to 52km a day and sleeping wild most of the time, Anna spoke in such a way that invited people to join her on that journey. I won’t attempt to replicate any of those stories as I simply can’t do them justice, but I can urge you to buy her book, where you will laugh and cry as she takes you through each stage, honestly and with an unrivalled passion for life.

It wasn’t just about the challenge or the adventure for Anna. She spent time in schools along the way, inspiring young people and showing them that they can follow their dreams. Anna proudly declared that she had had such an awesome upbringing that she wanted to share that positivity and leave a legacy, a testament to her parents, who continue to inspire her every day.

Anna is an inspiration to anyone who wants to do things their own way. She has followed her heart and you can see from the enthusiasm and energy that emits through every word that she has made the right choice.

Standing in front of a room of people, wearing her ‘pants of perspective’, she shared the most painful moments of the journey. The emotion was palpable, even though it ended with successful completion. The words that followed will stay with me. ‘Nobody ever told a great story about the time it all went to plan.’

Ain’t that the truth!


Anna’s book, ‘The Pants of Perspective’ can be found here. For more information about her adventures please visit her website and to join Wilderness Lectures for their incredible series of events, packed with inspiring speakers, please click here.

Ellis Brigham is proud to be partnering with Wilderness Lectures.  For more details on the autumn/winter event line up go to the website.




Written by Marie Yates