118. Kate Leeming: From Africa to Australia: Exploring the world by bicycle

In this episode, host Sue Stockdale talks to  Australian adventurer Kate Leeming to discover more about her love for cycling and the impact she aims to make through her cycling expeditions.  The episode also covers topics such as education for sustainable development, the role of women in community development, and the physical and mental benefits of cycling. Kate has cycled almost 100,000km completing major journeys around the world and became the first person to cycle an unbroken line from Africa’s most westerly to its most easterly point.

(All photos courtesy of Kate Leeming)

About Kate Leeming

As an explorer/adventurer, Kate has cycled almost 100,000km – two and a half times the Earth’s circumference – on her major journeys. She has successfully completed expeditions on all seven continents and attained four world firsts. In 2010 she became the first person to cycle an unbroken line from Africa’s most westerly to its most easterly point – from Senegal to Somalia cycling 22,040km over ten months through twenty countries.

Kate’s previous expeditions include the 13,400km Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition (1993) when she became the first woman to cycle across the new Russia unsupported (aiding the children of Chernobyl), and the 25,000km Great Australian Cycle Expedition (2004/05), supported by UNESCO, which included the first bicycle crossing of the Canning Stock Route by a woman. Her current project, Breaking the Cycle South Pole, will be the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole. In preparation Kate has completed polar training in Svalbard, Northeast Greenland and Arctic Canada, and preparatory expeditions – in polar conditions, on sand or at altitude – on every continent. In 2023, Kate completed two unique fatbike journeys; across Queen Maud Land in Antarctica and Breaking the Cycle Across Australia, 8617km from Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron, to its most westerly, Steep Point.

For her achievements in exploration, adventure and community work, Kate has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Education degree from The University of Western Australia, a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the prestigious Spirit of Adventure Award from the Australian Geographic Society. Kate is now setting up the Breaking the Cycle Foundation to magnify the value of her legacy; to help alleviate poverty, support the environment and achieve equality as well as educate tomorrow’s leaders.

Connect with Kate Leeming via LinkedIn : Breaking the Cycle Foundation:  Facebook: Instagram: Twitter

Time Stamps

[00:01:24] Cycling across Australia.
[00:05:14] Making a difference through exploration.
[00:09:39] Importance of education in poverty.
[00:14:46] Real Tennis – the original game.
[00:22:02] Dealing with support teams.
[00:25:12] Finding funding for filmmaking.
[00:30:29] Trying new things and self-confidence.

Key Quotes

  • “The single most important thing you can do to protect the environment is to educate women.”
  • “I loved the opportunity that I had to go across Somalia with the government’s protection.”
  • “ My great, great uncle that was the second person to cycle across Australia.”
  • “Robert Swan was the one who really taught me that there’s much more purpose to what I’m doing than simply riding a bike.”
  • “I got to the finish four days ahead of schedule after 10 months”.
  • “Without education, communities, countries and people will stay in poverty.”
  • “Cycling is like my heart and soul.”

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Kate Leeming Transcription

Sue: Hi, I’m Sue Stockdale, and welcome to episode 118 of the Access to Inspiration podcast, the show where you can be inspired by people who may be unlike you. And today I’m talking to an adventurer from Australia, Kate Leeming. She’s cycled almost 100,000 kilometres, two and a half times around the Earth’s circumference on her major journeys. In 2010, she became the first person to cycle an unbroken line from Africa’s most westerly to its most easterly point, a cycle that took her over 10 months through 20 countries. In our conversation, I wanted to discover what lies behind the achievements of Kate’s adventures, to learn what her bigger purpose is, and whether the hardest challenge of a project is sometimes making it to the start line. As always, you can listen and read the transcription on our website, accesstoinspiration.org. Welcome to the podcast, Kate Leeming. It’s great to speak to you today.

Kate: Thanks, Sue. Lovely to meet you too, halfway around the world.

Sue: You’re such a prolific cyclist. I’m sure you’ve got such an amazing perspective on the world from what you’ve seen on the back of a bicycle. I understand that it was your great, great uncle that was the second person to cycle across Australia. Is that right?

Kate: Yeah, it’s a great story, isn’t it? My grandmother, I remember her telling me about this great uncle, Willie, she would have been his niece. And it was just like family legend that he cycled across Australia. I mean, this is before there were really roads or anything like that. And he was a great Bushman, so he could find his own water and carry his water and that kind of thing. I think from the West Australian Goldfields to Adelaide, I think in about 26 days, and then on to propose to his childhood sweetheart in Victoria. So it was a very romantic thing. Once they were married, he put her in a boat bound for Fremantle and he cycled all the way back again. Yeah, he’s just one of the so many pioneers that I find very inspiring. So I like to tell his story.

Sue: And because he was a relation of the family, do you think in any way that’s influenced you with your choice to do so much cycling?

Kate: Not really. I found my own way because I was an athlete. I started riding a bike because it was one of the great ways to keep fit. And then I found my way into cycling when I traveled to Europe, to the UK first, playing hockey for my university. And then I did a little trip in Ireland, just hired some mountain bikes in Ireland. And then I’d planned to do a bigger trip with some other friends, some of my hockey friends in France, which I did. And then that kept leading to more. So I did about 15,000 km through Europe. So that was really me discovering my own passion. And as far as Uncle Willie goes, I admired a lot of pioneers, but I just love the story. And in fact, in the recent expedition I’ve just done, I actually followed his trail through the West Australian goldfields, which is Oof, about 600 kilometers east of Perth. Put that in any perspective in Australia. He did so many things. He did recondition two-thirds of the Canning Stock Route in 1929. The Canning Stock Route’s the world’s longest stock route that runs across four deserts in Western Australia. And he certainly did influence me in wanting to cycle that. So I’m the first woman to have cycled it as part of a much bigger journey. So he just keeps popping up in little things that I do and little influences here and there.

Sue: Well, he clearly had a purpose in cycling there to make a proposal to his sweetheart. How important is it for you to have a really clear purpose when you set out on one of your adventures?

Kate: that’s just the bottom line. If there’s no purpose, why do it? So every journey I spend a lot of time just thinking about it, researching what the story can be. Is it a story that is something I want to do first and what difference can I make with it? And so I think of all of those things first before I even announce that I might be doing something. So they have to be clear in my head because when it gets really down to it, when it gets really tough, sometimes struggling in the middle of the Sahara Desert or whatever it is, if you don’t have that clear purpose in your mind it would be easy to give up and I’ve never wanted to give up because every single journey Yeah, it’s very clear and it’s usually a story, it’s adventure on top of making a difference.

Sue: And do you sit with an atlas or a globe in your house twiddling it around and looking for some place that hasn’t been explored yet?

Kate: Often the last expedition actually, often I get the ideas when I’m out in the field. And certainly I had a great interest in geography growing up and did some geography at uni as well in school. So once I discovered Europe for myself, then I met your friend Robert Swan. For those who don’t know, he’s a polar explorer, first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. And I was working in a gym in London and he was a member of that complex. So he came in and I cornered him, got chatting with him. And I had this idea about cycling across Russia. This was just when the Soviet Union had broken up to the CIS and then it just had become its own, just one country. And so previously it wasn’t possible to cross the whole area. And Robert was the one who really taught me that there’s much more purpose to what I’m doing than simply riding a bike.

And I can make much more of a difference. So ever since then, I’ve always tried to make a difference to the people and the places that I travel through. So the Russian expedition was to aid children affected by the Chernobyl disaster, as well as explore the new Russia. It was like the whole country was opening up before our eyes. It was really incredibly interesting. He became sort of the patron for that expedition, and at the time he was the UN Ambassador for Youth and the Environment. So all of these things, his support, he didn’t really have to do much. It was just this, say, hey, you can do much more with this, and I’m behind you. And he’s just another person who’s kind of popped up in my life occasionally when I’ve needed some help.

Sue: He’s a very inspirational person, Robert Swan. I was down in Antarctica with him in 1996. I was asking you about how you come up with the ideas for your expedition, and it seems to me that part of it is you’re in the field, you’re thinking about what else could be done.

Kate: And I think each expedition changes me a little bit. So when I’m looking to do something else, I’m seeing something through new eyes each time. And so each one is like building on the one before, in some way I see the world slightly differently. So when I came back to Australia and wanted to see how my own country fit together, that’s kind of how that started and then it got bigger and bigger. And so I’ve been planning it for a while, but I’ve seen across the whole of Russia, seen a lot of Europe, but I wanted to see how my own country matched up. And I hadn’t seen much of my own country. I come from the southwest corner. I’d been to other cities just to play sport pretty much and seen a reasonable amount of Western Australia, but not the rest. So that was a 25,000 kilometer journey. It wasn’t just around the edge, which is about 14,000. And there was 7,000 kilometers off road on remote tracks, including the Canning Stock Route. So it was a personal exploration as well as this time, it was about education for sustainable development.

And it was Australia’s first and one of the world’s first demonstration activities for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, which was just starting off at that time. That was the purpose of that one. And I created some education programs and tried to hook up with different schools in remote communities along the way as well. And then having seen my own country I’d always wanted to see Africa. I didn’t want to do what other people do and go north to south. I just was looking at a map of Africa showing levels of illiteracy and because of my passion for the importance of education and what I noted was this band of countries across the base of the Sahara, through the Sahel, from west to east, that were in most need. And that’s how that idea started. So it was actually the purpose started, and then I thought, how do I tell that story?

And then I realized, actually, I can’t just tell that on its own, I’ve got to actually look at all of the causes and effects of extreme poverty, because they’re all related. So the whole journey ended up being 22,000 km journey through 20 different countries, over 10 months and that was exploring the causes and effects of extreme poverty. So big topics but it was really incredible because it worked amazingly well. I got to the finish four days ahead of schedule after 10 months with a little bit of adaptation here and there but it was a continuous line and I stopped and visited 15 different projects during the journey. It was a lot of logistics, whether it’s safety, whether it’s just keeping to plan. I had to cross the equator twice, so it’s a wet season somewhere I had to cross. So I planned it all with the seasons and it worked pretty well.

Sue: What a huge accomplishment. And I think what I’m hitting at the heart of that is the importance of education. What makes education so dear to your heart, Kate?

Kate: Well, I’m a qualified teacher myself, actually, even though I haven’t really used it that much in the way it was meant to be used, but I’ve used it in different ways. Without education, communities and countries, people will stay in poverty because they can’t see their way out of it. They’ve got to actually be able to read and understand and learn and have opportunities to create opportunities for everybody else, and especially the education of women in many of those countries is obviously even more important. It’s the single most important thing you can do to protect the environment, for example, is to actually educate women. I mean, there’s all of these things that we’re worried about, but actually, if you educate women, it would be the single most, most important intervention that we could make is helping to educate them.

Sue: Now, I know our listeners are going to be saying, and why is that? What’s the connection between educating women and the environment?

Kate: Oh, well, because women tend to think about the whole community and their families first. They tend to not waste anything. Sorry, men. They tend to be the ones in certainly in poorer countries that are doing a lot of the physical work. With an educated woman, she’ll help lift their families out of poverty because she’ll be able to work, earn more money, save that money, not spend it. and that’ll go back into the community, so everything gets managed a little better as well.

Sue: That makes complete sense. Now turning to the sporting side of what you’re doing, the physical activity of cycling, and I also know you coach people in real tennis. How do you look after your body? Because I’m imagining there’s huge physical demands that you’re putting on it, cycling thousands of kilometres. What’s your regime for fitness and health?

Kate: Well, cycling itself doesn’t really hurt my body, apart from you get sore little bits here and there, but not long term. Cycling actually helps everything keep going. In fact, I have a very bad knee injury that’s caused from the real tennis from a single accident. And I’ve had eight operations. I’ve had cartilage grafts, all sorts of things without getting too boring, but actually made world number two as a female real tennis professional. this knee was always stopping me. I can’t do much more for it but the cycling actually helps it keep it going and it’s not going to just suddenly break down in the middle of a journey.

You know if it’s a bit sore or something I can manage it. As far as the knee goes and my body goes it’s actually something that I can keep doing. I’m not someone who does big distances away from doing my expeditions I’ll make sure that I’m expedition fit or fit enough just to start with and then I basically get fit as I go because I find that if I just try to train really really really hard before an expedition I’ll be burnt out and I my body basically knows what to do if I start an expedition Usually it’s detraining before the expedition because it’s so hard to put it together.

So I’m up all working, you’ll know about it, you’re working around the clock and you think, oh god, I’ve got to do this. It’s three o’clock in the morning again. So traveling big distances, flying to places, it’s just trying to pull teams together where I need teams. It’s always really complex. So just before the expedition, I’m probably going downhill with my fitness, just because there’s no one else to do it. And I’m dealing with different time zones all the time. And then once I’m out there, it’s like a big relief. As I said, I’m not unfit. I’m actually making sure that I start where I know that I can step it up. I do some longer rides, but then I do a lot of interval training in the gym, one minute sprints to active recovery, that kind of thing.

I do a bit of cross training. I also work as a real tennis pro, so I’m actually already active. I do quite a bit of indoor cycling and I do a lot of Pilates as well for keeping my posture. So with my Pilates I sort of work to a very specific plan and that helps keep me also functioning quite well. I’ve found also that as I get older it’s more important to be expedition fit so I don’t want to have several years where I don’t do anything. There’s nothing better than going out and doing an expedition to actually make sure you’re still up to it physically and mentally. I’m still planning to make the first bicycle crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole, but I want to make sure that if this comes through, I’m capable and ready.

Sue: And if you’re enjoying Kate’s story, then you might also enjoy episode six, where I spoke to Riaan Manser. who took two years to circumnavigate Africa by bicycle. Or episode 95, where Ray Martin spent 14 years on a sabbatical travelling around the world. And Ray talks about how he was trying to make a difference in some of those communities that he visited. Now back to Kate’s story. I just love the way you threw into the conversation. I’m number two in the world for real tennis professional. For, again, the listener that’s not come across the idea of real tennis before. How does that differ from the tennis that we might see some of those top people playing in Wimbledon, for example?

Kate: Yep, so Real Tennis is the original game of tennis. It’s the precursor to all racket sports. It’s a 900 year old game where it started in the streets in France, where they would have played with their hands with a ball made of cloth over a barrier. The game evolved largely in monasteries and courtyards. So the architecture of the court looks like a courtyard, and it’s asymmetrical. You still have a ball, you still have a racket, you still have a net and a court. But they’re all different too. We call the other game lawn tennis, our game is actually tennis, but we have to call it real tennis.

The scoring is quite similar, apart from a few extra complications, because the court is also so big. So we like to call a real tennis like a mixture between tennis, squash and chess. And you play games and sets. We have the Grand Slam is just the same, the Australian, British, French and US Opens. There’s a world championship that goes back to 1740. It’s the longest running world championship of any sport. And that happens every two years. There’s all these traditions, but it’s also played in a modern way with good athletes. So you can play it to any standard, but it’s quite a difficult game skill wise to pick up initially, especially for those who don’t have racket skills.

Sue: And if you had to choose. real tennis or a cycling and you were only allowed to do one, which one would you decide?

Kate: I don’t know. I don’t know, Sue. I really don’t know because the cycling is like my heart and soul. It seems like I can relax and be out there. The tennis is like, it’s not just tennis. I’m part of this sort of global community where I have, it’s kind of like my social side as well. It’s like, I’ve got a lot of my friends and, and People who care, connections, networks, that actually helps. It works both ways. That helps with my trying to find sponsors, for example, or I get just support. People are just following. They’re like my groupies. They follow, but my knee isn’t really coping with playing, which is frustrating. So it’s not enough for me without being able to play. I don’t want to leave my friends and all my real tennis friends in that community because it’s really special. Yeah.

Sue: I think what I’m hearing you say there is the physical activity. it’s only part of what you get from these things. So there’s the social side from the real tennis and there is a making a difference, making an impact from your bike rides.

Kate: Even if I’m coaching real tennis, I’m really helping people, you know, people who don’t have confidence, giving them new skills, helping them out. That’s, that’s very rewarding. I mean, with my expeditions, one of the coolest things is when I’ve given presentations or people have been following my journeys and they go off and they create their own journey. for their own purpose that they feel passionate about. And when I hear those stories, that makes it all worthwhile.

Sue: Given that you spend so much time on a bicycle on your travels, where do you call home?

Kate: I think home is where I spent my formative years. I still feel like I’m a West Australian. I grew up on a farm. That’s where my family is. So in that respect, I still think of Western Australia as home. Melbourne is like, it’s like if you’re living in London and I don’t know, you’re talking about Istanbul, it’s that far away. So living over here, it’s like living in another country almost, even though we’re all Australian from the West to the East. I’ve lived here for 20 years, but I still think of Western Australia as home.

Sue: And when you’re at home, wherever that is, Melbourne or Western Australia, how do you relax?

Kate: Well, I love to go out on the bike actually, because usually I don’t get the time normally. So like I go home for Christmas to Western Australia, I take a bike and I actually go out riding and sort of reconnecting with all the places that I know. And it’s really important. And, and I’m not racing. I’m not trying to beat anyone. If I went out with other people, it would probably be different, but I’m just going there. I actually find that really relaxing when I, you know, every time I finished some serious exercise, I feel quite relaxed.

Sue: So it does seem like the physical activity is a core part of who you are and what enables you to be at your best. In terms of your expeditions and your adventures, and you’ve done so many, Kate, what are the highlights for you?

Kate: I feel so privileged. Highlights are always very difficult, but I guess I loved the opportunity that I had to go across Somalia with the government’s protection and everything was just this incredible thing and to be able to just go across their land and they’re all intrigued and they’re just to see people they’re just normal humans like us and and saying probably another real highlight was cycling Namibia’s entire coastline that was so special I mean we’re not talking roads here we’re talking the beach I’m cycling for a thousand miles 1600 kilometers across the Namib desert like following the beach all the way down and cycling along and it’s sealed sort of sleeping on the beach and you would get a bit of a scare and run back.

I mean it was just this incredible surreal experience and the whole thing that was very special. The Canning Stock Route as I’ve mentioned that before that’s almost like a spiritual backbone of this country in the just for the pioneers the spirit that it has and obviously with my own great uncle so that’s a special one. And Ladakh the Indian Himalaya so they’re my probably really most special places. I’m very privileged to be able to see and experience these things. I just hope I can share them adequately.

Sue: And I’m imagining that you’re not just doing these cycles on your own. You must have a support team or people who are there to help you as you go.

Kate: It varies. So out of my 97,000 kilometers that I’m up to now with my journeys, 55,000 have been unsupported, so carrying all my bags, and 42,000 have been supported. All the earlier ones were unsupported. Across Russia, I had a friend, Greg Yeoman, who came with me, and then we always had a Russian cyclist cycling with us as well, but we carried everything. Europe I carried everything, Australia I carried everything apart from the canning stock route. And then after that with Africa I started to want to make films. I had all this footage from before and we couldn’t use it, it wasn’t good enough. and so this time I had a support vehicle and that then it gets very complex when you start having a team because we’re all doing different things as well and it’s my idea so they’re buying you know my concept so they don’t have always the same commitment that I’ll have to this whichever expedition it is and I’d say probably in Africa the hardest thing about that journey was actually dealing with the support team because apart from the driver I couldn’t afford to pay anyone else so you know you can’t always pick and choose sometimes so when the first filmmaker wasn’t working I had to find a way to to deal with that and send him home and without anything getting damaged it’s just horrible things I have to deal with that I don’t really like having to deal with.

I’m not only cycling when I’m on these expeditions I’m also kind of leading it and they’re all some were doing things that I don’t even can’t even see what they’re doing I might be two or three hours ahead of them so whatever it is. So they’re not next to me all the time. So that’s the hardest thing I’ve found with bigger teams. Mostly I try and keep the teams really small, just because fewer things are going to go wrong. And it’s really hard to find the right people. I mean, in Australia, just the expedition I’ve just done, I had great people, I had some retired four wheel drivers who were the support vehicles, patient, really good in the outback, really well prepared with everything. And then I had really good high level filmmakers, so they also really know what they’re doing. So that makes it a bit easier, even though I still have to deal with people a bit more than I would otherwise.

Sue: It’s quite an undertaking when you have a team to lead everybody else, as well as do the cycling. I’m imagining that then is requiring quite a lot of mental energy to do all of that.

Kate: Absolutely, I find cycling alone or bikepacking, it’s easy. I can just grab a bike. Sure, you have to pack things. Sure, you have to plan routes and things and have other plans, but as soon as you have, especially when I’m cycling and I’m the only cyclist, so I’m the only one person and then I’m also having to present in front of a camera and I’m having to do all this stuff as well as, you know, So it’s much more complex and much more difficult. And every time, for example, in Africa, we were stopping to places and someone was going to show us around their project. Well, I just already cycled for seven days straight and now I’m getting there and now I’ve got all this energy and I have to match it. So it’s kind of like days off are sometimes harder than the actual cycling as well.

Sue: And one of the things that anybody running expeditions can find challenging is this relentless cycle of fundraising, getting sponsorship. doing the adventure or the trip, and then writing about it or fulfilling sponsor commitments, and then having to go right back through that cycle again. So it’s raising money to do something, tell the story and continue. My sense is also when you’re doing the filming, is the filming for you to be able to tell your own story in the future? Or is there also something around sponsor commitments that is baked into that is a need that you have to fulfill?

Kate: Oh yes, so the hardest thing I’d have to do is raise funds and it’s not easy. Occasionally I find some private sponsors and as you say, there’s the expedition and if I want to have an education program, well that costs and often I can’t afford that. And then obviously filming, so there’s the filming costs and then on top of that, you say you get back, you’ve got all the footage, it’s good enough to make a TV series or a film with. then I’ve got to find the funding to make it. So to find the funds beforehand is nigh on impossible for filmmaking because of their perceived risk of the adventure. And I’m really striving to find that balance between keeping the expedition really authentic and having it being swamped by crew and sound booms and stuff like that. Simple as possible, just one filmmaker is fine who can do everything. And so that way you can get the more authentic stories, you get undercover much more. Still obviously have to have a camera, still have to have a support crew to make it happen. But it’s kind of a happy medium. I don’t want to have a circus traveling with me. That’s just a recipe for disaster. And I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’ve got to enjoy it.

Sue: You’ve had so many experiences of different countries. I’m wondering, how have your travels shaped how you view the world?

Kate: Yeah, one of the main reasons why I love to travel by bike is because it gives it just a fantastic sense of place and a perspective of how the world fits together. Before you go to a place, you can imagine, you can read things, you can see things on a screen. And you think it’s going to be like this, but actually when you get there, when you’re in it, it can be so different. And yeah, back to Africa, you hear so many things and people say, oh, you’re going to die crossing Africa. It’s not true. I had a good plan, but just to be able to make people who are having a very hard time, people begging and mothers with babies in their arms and you’re going, oh, I can’t do anything. There’s so many different things. The best I can do is help to tell their story and hope to create some action. In the future, well, I’m in the midst of creating my own foundation right now called Breaking the Cycle Foundation.

It’s not ready yet, but basically it’s going to be one is my way of supporting a lot of these grassroots organizations, people that I’ve met, organizations that I’ve met that are doing fantastic things in Ethiopia and Uganda and Niger and Namibia and so on and also in Australia and India and so being able to support some of those organizations and then also on the education side creating immersive expeditions so that actually young people probably university age mostly going to have an immersive experience meeting these organizations as well, and help helping them sort of becoming as becoming tomorrow’s leaders. So I’m setting it up now. But it’s not easy. And so what I am hoping is that that is pulling together everything, like, sometimes you feel a little bit helpless not being able to do anything in your passing through. And this would be just some concrete ways of doing some very cool things and I’d be overseeing things to see that the money’s directed in the right way. That’s where I’m heading and that’s a reaction to so many things that I’ve seen and people that I’ve met and circumstances that I’ve seen.

Sue: So the world’s impact on you inspired or encouraged you to work towards setting up this foundation?

Kate: Yes, that’s the best I can do. Obviously, no one can fix everything, but these are examples and those organisations supported that this could be an ongoing thing. That’s the plan. Maybe it won’t be just me in the end either. Once it grows, we’ve got to get it started first. So it’s a really fulfilling way to make a difference and say thank you. As we know, it’s really hard work and to make these things happen. But on the other hand, It’s still an incredible privilege and it’s never lost on me. And I can do this until I’m much older as well. Yeah.

Sue: So finally, Kate, if you could go back and give your 14-year-old self some advice, knowing now what you know about the world, what would that advice be?

Kate: Gee, it’s tough because as a 14 year old I was a very successful sports person as a school girl, but I probably still didn’t have that much self-confidence. The sport gave me everything in terms of my status, but to speak in front of people scared the hell out of me. So I became a doer and then I guess I was so much fearing failure maybe of things that I wasn’t very good at so I guess as a 14 year old self just to be able to step up there and try things that I wouldn’t be so confident in trying such as if it was public speaking that would be one of them but it could be many different things yeah try more things and I guess that’s part of the message that I’m trying to educate younger people now is to sort of go out I can’t tell you what to do. You’ve got to find out for yourself. You’ve got to learn about the world yourself. I’m just inspiring you, hopefully, to get there.

Sue: Well, you’ve given us a terrific story today, Kate, of your life, your experiences, and I’m sure that you’ll inspire the listener to look at the world in a different way. Thank you so much for your time today. And if the listener wants to find out more about you, how might they do that?

Kate: They can go to my website. There’s two URLs, kateleeming.com will do it. Breakingthecycle.education will also do it. You can find me on social media as well, but you can definitely contact me through my website.

Sue: I would highly recommend that, listener. There are so many amazing things that Kate has done. It’s worth having a look there. Thank you again, Kate. Great to speak to you, and I wish you well in your next adventure, hopefully in Antarctica by the sounds of it.

Kate: Thank you, Sue. Fingers crossed for that one.

Sue: Thank you to Kate for sharing her inspiring story with us and I’m sure it left you with plenty to think about. Now let us know what you enjoyed about this episode by sending us a voice note or message or go to our website contact page and also remember to subscribe to the podcast so that you’ll be easily notified about new episodes. And with Kate talking about how she loved Africa, that will be the theme of next week’s podcast, where I speak to Rianne Olivier, who was co-founder of Africa Matters Initiative. So I hope you can join me then.

Producer: Sue Stockdale

Sound Editor Matias de Ezcurra