THE SLAPDASH ADVENTURER
I’M COOKIE TAYLOR…
…and I’ve lived and breathed adventure since I was a child. From the moment I could turn the pages of a book I’ve poured over images of polar explorers, mesmerised by icicles growing off noses, hair whipping frozen cheeks, eyes staring wildly out of fur-lined hoods and impossible terrain reflected in battered goggles. I knew from an early age that this was what I wanted to do; it was in my blood to visit the most remote and inhospitable places on earth, to push limits and set an example of what determination and perseverance can do. To be a real-life adventurer.
Imagine my disappointment, then, to find out that I’m unquestionably crap at it.
The truth is, I’m too slapdash to be an adventurer. I possess precisely none of the qualities required.
‘Oh, it’ll be alright,’ I tell myself. ‘I’ll just jump in, bite off more than I can chew and see what happens.’
Inevitably ‘what happens’ is that it all goes horribly wrong. Like the time I was airlifted off the Everest Base Camp trail with severe altitude sickness. Or the time I was hanging off the side of a ship, got my timing wrong, fell ten feet and squashed one of the most remote islanders on Earth. Or the time I was blasted down a steep slope of volcanic ash by a sudden gale in Iceland and was forced to ‘abort mission’. Or the time I set fire to my own tent and almost died of hypothermia (slight exaggeration – I slept in my car).
It used to churn me up inside that I wasn’t good enough. It hurt to be called the ‘Bridget Jones of Adventure’ by armchair experts. It hurt even more to be called ‘delusional’ by people who pick fault from the safety of their comfort zone. It was embarrassing to report yet another adventure that had ended in chaos and to see eyes rolling. I felt highly inadequate for a long time until I decided to draw a line, stop focusing on who I’m not and work with who I am.
I love taking risks. I love screwing up. I love hearing myself screech with delight at my own stupidity. And I love the fact that I fail at most of the things I try.
Why? Because failure is not the opposite of success; failure leads to success.
1000 MILES SOLO
Iceland Expedition | 2020 | details available soon
I’VE BEEN LUCKY…
…enough to travel to some of the most far-flung regions of our globe. Topping my list of favourites have been Tristan da Cunha, Antarctica, Patagonia, Iceland and the Mount Everest region of Nepal.
I’m not interested in hot destinations as a rule; my idea of torture is to go on a sunshine break and lay by a pool. My heart truly lies in cold, remote, mountainous areas and I’m most at home when I can see my own breath but can’t see any other people. Exactly the opposite of what my husband enjoys. Which makes planning holidays a little difficult.
My wildest dream is to ski the last degree to the South Pole. I’d also love to get on a cargo ship and visit as many islands as possible in the Pacific Ocean. And visit the isolated island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. I’m not sure my bank balance will ever allow for such costly indulgences so in the meantime I’m planning a 1000-mile solo expedition (on a serious budget) to walk round my favourite country, Iceland. And when that’s done I’m planning to walk round my other favourite country, Scotland. We’ll see how it goes.
“Ignore society’s definition of success and happiness – follow your own ideas.
Break the rules
Take a risk
Be a bit braver
Don’t settle for a life defined by other people’s limitations.”