Zoe chats to Anna Huthmaker, host of the Trail Dames Podcast. They discuss discovering hiking as a curvy woman, and the lack of representation that Anna felt while she was out on the trails. They also talk about the empowerment of organising, yes, organising and attending a hiking and backpacking summit, exclusively for women. Anna had NEVER organised anything like this before. The way she tells her story is so engaging. Anna hiked 700 miles of the Appalachian Trail, in her words ‘looking like a little watermelon in a tube sock’, broke her foot in two places and still returned to walk more. She has the ability to put a positive spin on so many situations. Anna very eloquently shares her experiences of Merry Penomause, and points out that HeadRightOut should not just be for midlife women. Okay – it’s perimenopause but as Anna and Zoe discover, there’s nothing like a little spoonerism to lighten your day!
Zoe Langley-Wathen 00:24
I talk today to Anna Huthmaker, host of the Trail Dames Podcast. We discuss discovering hiking as a curvy woman, and the lack of representation that Anna felt while she was out on the trails. We also talk about the empowerment of organising, yes, organising and attending a summit for women, all about backpacking and hiking, and I should add, Anna had NEVER organised anything like this before. The way she tells this story is just amazing. Anna was also able to very eloquently tell us her experiences of Merry Penomause too, and flags up that this show should not just be for midlife women. Yes, I did just say perimenopause the wrong way round! It was actually a funny thing that happened between Anna and I in our pre-recording discussion, and I think in my head, it’s always going to be that now. There’s nothing like a little spoonerism to lighten your day!
Zoe Langley-Wathen 01:24
Now, as Anna said, no one talked about menopause to her when she was younger and no one talked to me about menopause when I was younger. So get your daughters listening to this early on. She is an absolute scream. She is SUCH a bundle of joy. I love Anna to bits and I think you are going to love this episode too. So get your earbuds in, get listening and enjoy the episode with Anna Huthmaker.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 02:01
Okay, and welcome back to yet another episode of the HeadRightOut Podcast. Yes, this is just so exciting. We’re still going and today I am just thrilled to bits because I have a wonderful lady who I’ve had three conversations with I think now, I forget But anyway, we just feel like we are connected and we were perhaps separated at birth! Her name is Anna Huthmaker. Welcome Anna.
Anna Huthmaker 02:30
Thank you so much. It can I just jump in and just say how impressed I am with your podcast. The first time we talked, you said you know I’m really thinking about doing this. I should do this. And that was not very long ago. And here you are, just crossing it.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 02:45
Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. Well, I’m gonna start off Anna, just by telling people a little bit about you, just to kind of wrap it up into a little parcel about who you are, just so people have a good idea of your background where you’ve come from.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 02:59
Anna Huthmaker grew up immersed in the world of classical music, studying cello and double bass, and spending weekends playing with symphonies and chamber ensembles. She used to joke that she had a practice room tan and rarely got outside, much less went hiking. However while spending a summer in the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, she got invited to go on a hike. Being slow and insecure, she was soon left behind and over the next few hours found herself falling in love with the smell of the trees around her. As the years went by, she started hiking more and more, always by herself before finally scraping up the courage to try a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. She spent four months backpacking, broke her foot in two places, walked seven hundred miles and found herself completely changed. Along the way she realised that there was no one on the trail that looked like her. At all. So several years later, she started Trail Dames: a hiking club for women of a curvy nature. Anna was determined to take over the trails of the United States, and what once started with nine women in the basement of her family violin shop has now grown over 10,000 women, with chapters across the United States. Trail Dames also has its own Charitable Foundation, a bi-yearly summit, which is a women’s hiking and backpacking conference, and its own podcast, the Trail Dames Podcast. Anna continues to play with symphonies and runs the family violin shop, but she’s still moving forward with the idea of having women on trails, everywhere. I love that.
Anna Huthmaker 04:42
Oh my gosh, I have to tell you, does everyone feel this way? Like, when you hear your story repeated back to you… you go “oh, wow”, you forget as you’re on the journey, you know.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 04:55
You do. I’ve just been chatting with another guest and we had a very similar conversation, in that it’s not just the listening back to your story, but it’s actually that deep thinking that you have to suddenly do when you’re in this podcast conversation situation, where you’re remembering things that you’d forgotten about that happened ten or fifteen years ago, and you’re thinking, wow, did I? Yes, I did that, I did do that. And it’s really uplifting, isn’t it to go back into that?
Anna Huthmaker 05:21
Oh, completely. And it reminds us that even the smallest of things can change your life. Honestly, it sounds kind of cliche, but it’s true. And it reminds you that something that is maybe small to you can speak to another woman and inspire them. And so yeah, that was kind of great. Thank you.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 05:42
Yes, well, you are so creative as well. I loved reading through that. I’ve got to say, I should add here, this was really funny. When I read through it the first time I didn’t have my glasses on, and I think I was tired – it was last night and I didn’t quite read it properly, and I read it as ‘Anna is determined to take over the United States’. Haha! And soon the world!!
Anna Huthmaker 06:07
I can’t do one of those laughs but it is funny cuz I always say we’re going to take over the trails, you know, one day at a time, one woman at a time, and to this day, when I look out and see not just Trail Dames, but women’s hiking and outdoor things has exploded and I look at it go… ha ha ha, we’re taking over the world.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 06:27
Yeah. You know, how long ago did Trail Dames begin, because I feel very much like you are one of the forerunners in this?
Anna Huthmaker 06:36
You know, I feel like it too. So we are fourteen and a half years old or so. And when we started I did a lot of research and I said that we were the first National Women’s hiking organisation, because I could not find anything else. We’re not cutting the Girl Scouts, they’re huge and giant and lovely. And it was very interesting, because someone told me once and I’m going to tell you this too, with with HeadRightOut, they said you will not be the first for long, because people will copy you and come along and they’ll do their own thing. And they told me, they said Anna, when that happens, it’s a great compliment, because it means you had a great idea. And I’ve always seen it that way when when other people say, ‘you know, Trail Dames is great, but it’s not our thing. We’re going to start our own thing’. And I’m always, ‘yes’, because we can’t have too many of them. So because HeadRightOut, you’re the first one that to my knowledge is doing what you’re doing. But yeah, it’s a great idea. So there’ll be others
Zoe Langley-Wathen 07:30
That’s it, and actually the more voices, the more women’s voices that we have, the more curvy women’s voices you have, the more midlife women voices we have, actually the stronger our message. So therefore actually it shouldn’t be a competition. It’s just about singing and speaking and walking and adventuring together.
Anna Huthmaker 07:52
As you said, You know, I grew up my whole life as a classical musician, which is lovely, but I get plenty of competition in that area of my life. Yeah, yeah. Oh, no, I’m all about holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’ that is my thing.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 08:08
Around a campfire.
Anna Huthmaker 08:09
Zoe Langley-Wathen 08:11
So with Trail Dames then, tVhat’s all about taking women out onto the trail that perhaps are not confident about approaching a trail themselves on their own is that is that where…?
Anna Huthmaker 08:24
You know, it’s so interesting, because when I started Trail Dames, I was very single-minded. And when I say I didn’t see women that looked like me, I really was focused on weight, and size. And you know, I went on the Appalachian Trail, and I’m five feet two and at that point I weighed 262 pounds, I have no clue what that is in metric. (118kg/18.7stone)
Zoe Langley-Wathen 08:43
Oh, I know, I can’t either, you know,
Anna Huthmaker 08:45
Whatever that is, I was like a little watermelon in a tube sock, you know, hiking, the Appalachian Trail. And so my thing at that point was, I want to give women who carried the same kind of fears and insecurities that I did in regarding their weight. That was really what I was focused on. But I have to tell you, like, even from the first meeting, all kinds of women showed up all shapes, all sizes, and pretty early on, like I would have these thin, fit women and they look at me and they’d be like, ‘do you think I’m not curvy?’ And I’m like, ‘okay, I got it. You’re curvy. ok!’ And what I very quickly learned is that yes, we do provide a space for women that have never been outdoors before, that are insecure or nervous or not sure what to do. But really, it’s about connection. You know, and you know this with HeadRightOut, we are providing connection. And it took me a little while to figure that out and go oh, wow, this is what’s happening. So I refuse to let go of the tagline ‘Trail Dames: a hiking club for women of a curvy nature’, because I still want those women to feel like they have found their tribe. But all the other women are there. Of course, they’re here. They’re welcome. We’re everywhere. Yes.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 09:58
So if ever I come to Atlanta, Georgia. I can come along?
Anna Huthmaker 10:02
You are hiking with us. Absolutely. Yes, that would be so much fun.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 10:07
Oh, wouldn’t it just? So the Trail Dames, it had I think I read in the bio, you have a couple of different aspects to it. So you’ve got the the podcast, you have the charitable foundation, and then you have a summit that happens every other year.
Anna Huthmaker 10:23
Yes, yeah. Except for COVID. You know, we all say COVID.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 10:27
That doesn’t count. I read I had checked it out. I went onto the website to do my research…
Anna Huthmaker 10:37
I call it stalking. I always say I stalked you, I mean researched you!
Zoe Langley-Wathen 10:44
So yeah, so the Trail Dames Summit, it’s tagline was ‘a woman’s exploration of self and the outdoors’, and I connected with that so much, because that’s what HeadRightOut is it’s all about. Heading out of your comfort zone in the outdoor space and heading out of your comfort zone means that you are exploring yourself, and then observing how you deal with that, but it’s in particularly in the outdoor space. So tell me about the summit, because for me, this is definitely a comfort zone thing, I feel, but maybe it wasn’t for you. But it wasn’t something that you’ve ever done before.
Anna Huthmaker 11:18
So I do have to tell you so quickly, because when when women talk about wanting to do things, you know, my my thing is always just go do it. Just jump right in, just do it. And I have to tell you, I was taking a class in marketing and advertising and it was for our family business. And they were saying, Oh, you need to do something big. And of course, everything for me was like, okay, family business, violin shop, marketing, but Trail Dames. That was what I did with everything, I was learning for both. At the end of the class, they went around the whole circle, there’s about thirty of us, and they said, Okay, what big thing are you going to do, and when they got to me, I went, I’m gonna do the nation’s first women’s hiking backpacking conference, because I hit Google it and that one didn’t exist. And the teacher didn’t even hesitate. He said, great when you are going to do that? And I said July, and he says, okay, and he moved on to the next person. There was no questioning, no planning or anything. This was February, so I went home… and this is how I do everything… so I have stated that I’m going to do this this is now happening for sure. Without a doubt. I googled How do you put on a conference?
Zoe Langley-Wathen 12:24
Thank God for Google.
Anna Huthmaker 12:25
Oh, my gosh, seriously! Every single website said start a year to a year and a half out. And I was like, ohhhhh, maybe this is bigger than I thought. The story of how we got through the next four months involves me almost having a nervous breakdown and my friends circling around me and saying, we think you need a committee and my friends came together and my wonderful friend Pam joined with me as a co-chair and it happened, and it was amazing!
Anna Huthmaker 12:56
There’s this picture of me I have to tell you, we met at this little college and they had no air conditioning. It was Virginia in the summer and we were all hot and we were sweaty and I think like sixty-two women came to that first one and I was so happy. There’s this picture and you look out over the room and someone is speaking and I’m leaning against the door and in my face and maybe it’s because I was there I can tell you, they’re simultaneously like the greatest exhaustion but coupled with, I was so moved because in the heat we were sweating and it didn’t matter. These women were so engaged in what the speaker was sharing they had within two and a half days, everyone had become the best of friends you know how that is something like that? It was extraordinary you know and I remember a friend of mine looking at me and going, ‘Oh Anna’… and we both just started crying. We were like look at such beautiful things can happen if you just jump in and go for it. You might be really tired. But you know it did it just brought about such camaraderie, such companionship and again, connection. That’s like the word of the day, I think.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 14:05
Yeah. I mean, for starters, obviously you should be so proud of starting that up and just giving women that opportunity. I would be moved if I was sat there listening to those people speaking. And I’ve been to conferences. I n fact, I went to a conference back in February. It was just before the lockdown. It managed to sneak in before the lockdown. It was called the Adventure Mind conference. And it was the first of its kind and it brought together speakers that were sharing stories about resilience, and building resilience using adventure. Not just for adults. For children, for young people, for mental health, you know, everybody should have this opportunity of sleeping outside or pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone stretching those resilience strands that we’re made up of, and making sure that they’re strengthening all the time. Yeah, and I remember coming away from that feeling so empowered, and so full to the brim of ideas, and just a need and a desire to go out and change the world! And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? So going to conferences and summits like this is such a positive thing for other people. So for you, for those women that would have had such a huge impact on their lives, but also on your life as well.
Anna Huthmaker 15:27
Oh, completely, you know, it’s so funny because just through the years of Trail Dames so far, we talk a lot about the growth and wonderful things and what women have gotten from it, and how they’ve gone out and done bigger and better things. All I think about all the time, honestly, I joke, I say it really is all about me, but are the lessons that I’ve learned. I talked about it, like I said, my friends like circled around me and said, we think you need a committee, they literally had to sit me down and wave their hand in front of my face and say, ‘yo, Anna ask for help’. That’s the thing a lot of women have a hard time with. It hadn’t even occurred to me. That’s the thing. It wasn’t pride. It wasn’t, ‘I can do this’. It hadn’t even occurred to me. And so little lessons like that happen all the time. Like for me, I feel like we’re all getting great things from it.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 16:18
Yes. Oh, that’s such a positive response. And so you’ve never done anything like that before. You stepped out of your comfort zone. You’ve learned lots of lessons from it. Hang on a minute, when was the first one that happened? What year?
Anna Huthmaker 16:29
Oh gosh, you cannot even ask me that, because I don’t know. Okay, I think 2011.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 16:35
Okay, so it’s ten years if we take out COVID. So ten years, so you’ve had five as it’s bi-annual.
Anna Huthmaker 16:42
We actually have had I think six, because we started doing it every summer, like the first three, we were doing every summer and by like after the third one, I thought I was gonna die. Because I work a full-time job, and I work part-time jobs, playing, teaching and I was performing as a freelance musician. And I ran Trail Dames in the corners of my life. And so then to put the summit on top of it… yeah. So after those first three years, we all decided every other year is a smarter move. Yeah, I think that we’ve had six.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 17:11
So in those six years, you must have had some amazing stories back from people. You must get feedback, or even perhaps speakers that come back in following years that perhaps were they just in the audience previously?
Anna Huthmaker 17:26
Yes. That’s really interesting because one woman at her first summit, she told me… she said, ‘I’ve never hiked or backpacked before’. And the next year, when she came back, she was getting ready to do a thru hike. She talked about for her how it was about skill-building. I don’t know, she was just a pretty… I don’t know what the word is the word is driven, because that might have a negative connotation. She was just a confident woman to begin with. But she talked about getting the skills she needed and to be able to move forward and she got them. That started right there at the summit. Things like that happen a lot. But it’s the small things that I really love. It’s the women that show up.
Anna Huthmaker 18:07
We have a lot of women that come that these are my favourite kind of women. You ever heard the term ‘armchair hikers’?
Zoe Langley-Wathen 18:13
Anna Huthmaker 18:14
Yeah. So it used to be that ‘armchair hiker’ was a little bit of a… it wasn’t an insult, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. A bunch of hikers would be sitting around going ‘Oh, so and so is an armchair hiker’. But I have always seen that as something completely different. I’ve seen armchair hikers as DREAMERS, because they are sitting there learning about the trails in the outdoors and mountains, because they have a dream inside of them. I cannot tell you how many of those women have come to Trail Dames or this summit, and then gone out and hiked. They’ve gone out and experienced their first mountain. You know, that’s a win. That’s what I want right there.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 18:53
It’s so powerful.
Anna Huthmaker 18:54
I do not care if … I don’t need you to go hike three thousand miles or six thousand miles. Those women are extraordinary. But if you say ‘I just went and did this three-mile loop and I went by myself for the first time ever’. I like get goose bumps. Just for me, that’s the exciting stuff.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 19:12
That is. It’s women empowering women, which yes, it’s just needed. They need to see that there are other people like them out there doing that stuff. And it’s important. So you did the AT.
Anna Huthmaker 19:25
I attempted the AT.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 19:26
Okay, so you did seven hundred miles.
Anna Huthmaker 19:28
Yes, I did seven hundred miles and this is always really important. My friends they give me a hard time because I always go ‘I only did seven hundred miles’. I am not cutting myself down. I’m not downplaying what I did. Let me tell you, seven hundred miles was extraordinary for me. Extraordinary. But the Appalachian Trail is somewhere around 2100 miles. I know so many women, and men of course, that have done the entire thing that to me, that’s just a respect thing. So you know, you call yourself a thru-hiker while you’re doing it while you’re attempting it. When you’re done, to me, you get that title if you finished it. So I say I only did seven hundred miles, but yeah, it was great.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 20:07
It was seven hundred miles when you put it into a different context just over eight hundred miles is walking Land’s End to John o’ Groats, here in the UK. That’s not to be sniffed at you know. That’s that’s gonna take quite a while. It’s four or five, six weeks depending on whatever speed you want. No, no, no, no, this we’re talking five six weeks UK… Land’s End to john o’Groats! I realise the AT is whooo, so up and down!
Anna Huthmaker 20:41
I’m tickled because normally the Appalachian Trail will take your average bear six months you know, but even had I not broken my foot and had to get off to heal and then come back and had I had an interrupted experience but I’m really slow and I’m easily distracted.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 20:59
I know that feeling. Me too.
Anna Huthmaker 21:02
Yeah, yeah, so I think probably was all said and done, I did about four months on trail.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 21:10
Yeah, that’s still four months of being with yourself and perhaps meeting other people being out in nature being on your own. It’s four months of experience. Forget the miles, it’s four months of amazing experience.
Anna Huthmaker 21:24
Amazing and I did have a hiking partner for almost the whole thing and it’s like anything else in this world like, if you go to college when you come out of it, you have a million little stories. If you do something like this you come out of it, you have a million little stories and on the Trail Dames podcast, our producer had encouraged me from the beginning to read my Appalachian Trail journal entries, at the end of each big interview, because I do some smaller things. So I read a couple of them and I did this in 2003 so it was like a hundred years ago. And revisiting It is SOOOO much fun! And Steve he teases me. He’s British also. Steve is very British, and he says, ‘Anna you seem to get a bit emotional when you were reading that’, and I’m like ‘yes, I did!’ What he means is I would sit there crying because it brings back these memories of all these stories of these people you meet, these kindnesses and these struggles. The whole thing. You know, you’ve done long trails.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 22:21
Oh gosh yeah. And can you imagine NEVER having written any journals or logbooks? Can you imagine not having that record?
Anna Huthmaker 22:29
Oh you think you’ll remember everything, you really do. Even when I’m reading, it I can see that when I was writing it out, I knew that those memories would never leave me. Oh yeah, they’re gone. Like some of mine, I look at it and I do not even recall that, at all. Let me just tell you, one of my good friends said to me once, he said, ‘Anna, do you journal?’ and I said ‘no, not really’. And he said ‘you should.’ He said ‘your life really deserves recording’. I say that to people all the time. Say that to women. You may not think it’s much but your life deserves recording. So I’m just so glad I kept a journal.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 23:04
I feel that. Absolutely feel that here, because it is, it’s so important. Even ten years ago, I was forty, and I did not think I would forget those important moments in my life. But now ten years on, they are definitely slipping. It’s not until I start reading what I’ve written, even just in a diary that is just a daily diary like where I’m noting down engagements and places I’ve got to be, that’s enough sometimes to trigger a memory. And that’s why I have stacks of those diaries. I don’t throw them away, because I never know when I might need to go back to them and just trigger a memory. But that deeper feeling, the thoughts, the acknowledgments of what’s going on around you, when you are actually out on the trail. What’s hurting? What are you fed up with? Who’s pissed you off?
Anna Huthmaker 23:54
Zoe Langley-Wathen 23:55
What are you enjoying? What do you love to see? All of those moments. It might just be ‘oh my gosh, an owl just flew over me when I was having a pee in the middle of the night’. But those are the moments you just want to record and you don’t want to forget aren’t they?
Anna Huthmaker 24:10
They really are and you know for me I write a lot about what I smell and what I feel and I actually have a journal entry it’s called ‘I now know what the inside of a cloud tastes like’. It’s because I don’t want to forget those things. I don’t do a daily journal like I probably should but like you’re saying, every quote unquote ‘adventure’ I’ve taken, travels around the world, doing different things, I journal those. It takes a lot of time. You’d be amazed how much time it takes at night to lay in your sleeping bag or wherever you are, and write out that whole day. But I know that I want to remember. I want to remember what it felt like to touch an elephant in Thailand, or to watch kids playing in Africa. If I forget those things, I’m gonna be really upset, so yeah.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 24:58
I need to say that it takes time, but it takes energy as well, doesn’t it? When you’ve been out on the trail and when you’ve been walking for miles, and miles, and miles that day, and then you’ve put your tent up or you just want to clamber into your tent, grab something to eat and go to sleep. I have actually been there in my sleeping bag with pen poised at my logbook, and I’ve fallen asleep… and you can see the biro trail across the page. Then I’m ‘okay, right, now I’ve got to wake up quick, let’s get this done’. And I’ve gone into bullet point form, because I can’t do it long form. I’m just too tired to do long form. So I’ve just got to bullet.
Anna Huthmaker 25:34
Yeah and I learned early on that I couldn’t put it off too much. If you put off two or three days, then then you could lose like, seriously, like three hours to sit there and really flesh it all out. So yeah.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 25:46
Yeah, no, easily. Anna, what did the AT give to you?
Anna Huthmaker 25:51
The number one thing it did, and I have to tell you, it was a process. It wasn’t just a one moment. And it wasn’t just the AT. But from the moment I looked at my mom, three years before, and I held up… I was reading all these books on the AT.. and I held up a book and I went, ‘do you think I could ever do this?’ Out of the blue. From that moment and her saying yes, to then a year and a half later, doing a three-day charity walk for breast cancer, which was sixty miles in three days. I would do these things, and then I finally hit the trail. There was all these series of events that actually made me believe I could do things. Because probably so many of your listeners, I’m sure you have done this used to read all these books and compilation essays of Women Adventures of the Outdoors. I used to love all those things have like eight of them. I will never forget one day, sitting down and I was reading it and just inexplicably out of the blue got really mad. And I was like, I won’t say the word that I said, because it’s not it’s not a PG word. But I was like, I’m tired of reading about these women, I think I want to be one of these women and I threw that book across the room. I still have that book. I stopped reading those things. I was like, either you can or you can’t, but it’s time to at least try something.
Anna Huthmaker 27:15
So these things, especially the AT showed me that you could you could get out and do stuff. For me, like I said earlier, there are women out there that hike thousands and thousands and thousands of miles. You, Zoe have hiked more miles than I have, for sure. For me, it didn’t have to be a number. It had to be an attempt and a trying. And every time I attempted something or tried something, I felt more alive and full of potential and like when I leave this world I want to have really experienced it. You know what I mean? Yeah, I just want to you know, I want to go into my next life or whatever and be like, Oh, I did a pretty good job at trying that one, you know?
Zoe Langley-Wathen 28:02
Yes. It’s not about succeeding. Is it?
Anna Huthmaker 28:06
Not at all. No, my definition of success are really different than a lot of other people. My definition of success is often just putting a boot to trail and trying it and if I come back and I only did seven hundred miles, but let me tell you for Anna that totally kicks butt, then yeah, it’s it’s fine.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 28:27
You’ve just sorry, memory trigger there. Your ‘it kicks butt’. What’s your trail name?
Anna Huthmaker 28:32
Oh, my trail name is Mud Butt.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 28:35
And why is your trail name Mud Butt, Anna?
Anna Huthmaker 28:38
Well, I have to tell you, it is so interesting because when I wrote my bio, (I’ve never written my bio, the one that I wrote for you for this), my trail name happened on that hike in North Carolina, that very first hike I ever took. It’s funny because it was the most beautiful day. It was the driest of days. It was no rain, no nothing and my friend – one of my dearest wonderfullest friends, John was with me. He had left me and toward the end there was like a little rough spot and there was one mud puddle. He came back to me to help me, because they knew I would have a little struggle and of course, I fell into the one mud puddle on the entire trail. I mean, there is somewhere there’s like this fuzzy old picture of it. When I look at it. I’m pretty sure I had on like these white, decorative tennis shoes and like a little pastel outfit. I tried to be all cute. I wasn’t cute, but I tried. Anyway, he helped me and of course I’m all muddy and it was a joke. But later that night, we were all sitting around indulging in a little alcoholic beverage, like college age musicians will do. And there was some tequila involved, and at one point John was giving me a hard time, and somehow it slipped out. He said hey, and he actually called me Bud Mutt, because like I said there was a little alcohol involved. Bud Mutt? What’s a Bud Mutt and when I realised it was Mud Butt, I laughed and laughed, and it kind of became just a little joke. I was not a hiker. I never even heard of the Appalachian Trail. Like none of those things. As the years went by, first I used it as a crutch for embarrassment. Like if I’m going to fall a lot, which I used to fall all the time before I discovered hiking poles. Whoo, hoo! Yeah, I would fall all the time. And I would be like, well, there I am. No surprise there. But it just became a sense of humour. It says where I’ve come from. It makes me smile. It came from a good friend. It’s like my perfect trail name, for sure.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 30:38
Oh, I love it. I just love it. And yeah, and it’s acknowledging that, hey, you know, you might fall over a few times, but you always get up again, and always get back on the trail and pick yourself up dust yourself down… and wash those white trainers!
Anna Huthmaker 30:55
Yeah, when I look at it I’m like ‘you’ve come a long way baby’ from that picture.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 30:59
But I’m sure you DID look cute. So were you ever faced then, with any pre-judgements from anybody else, when you’re out on the trail, because of your curvy nature? Did anybody give you a hard time or give you any pre-judgements about whether they thought you were up to the job?
Anna Huthmaker 31:20
It’s very interesting. So to my knowledge, no. I judge myself very harshly, and I assumed that people were saying things and judging me and making assumptions and all this kind of stuff. But no one ever said a single thing to me, but I can tell you that early on in the trail, we were hiking and I met some young men that were fantastic, and I met this young man named Sidewinder. Sidewinder was the quintessential AT hiker. He was like twenty-two years old, skinny, fit, fast, really personable. I met like two thousand people like this, mostly men, on the trail, but I just really liked him. He was a really nice guy, and I ran into him later. I had to get off the trail because I was injured. And I’m sorry, no one breaks her foot in two places, and then comes back. Everyone says when they’re injured, I’m going to come back, but most people, they decide to come back another year. So I did assume that a lot of people would not think I was coming back. But I did and in Virginia down the road, I was hiking by myself for a week. My hiking partner had gone on ahead, and I was down in this grove, and I hiked down to this shelter. I remember it was really it was very dark, because we were really down deep between two mountains and I looked up and there was a guy sitting on the edge of the shelter. It was Sidewinder and I’m like, ‘Sidewinder!’ It was so great to see him. He was like, ‘Mud Butt’!
Anna Huthmaker 32:41
So we sat and we had little lunch, and I will never forget this, because he was eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon and we were laughing and joking. He said, ‘Okay, I’m taking off’ and I said, ‘Great’, and he looked at me. He was packing his pack up, and he got real serious. He said, ‘Mud Butt’ and I go, ‘yeah?’ and he goes, ‘no matter what anyone ever tells you, you belong out here’. And I went, ‘well, well, thank you Sidewinder, I think that’s so sweet’. And he hiked off, but I never have seen him since then. And I hope he’s having a wonderful life, he’s a great person, he deserves it. But I was sitting there for a second and I was simultaneously really moved and really touched. I really appreciated him saying that, but there was this little voice that went, he wouldn’t have said that if people hadn’t been saying it. Does that make sense? If they hadn’t been talking about it. So now, I will tell you and this is not like me. Normally, I would have taken something like that and really chewed on it. But I didn’t I like took from that feeling loved and appreciated and respected from a fellow thru hiker and went on with my day. I just remembered that because yeah, obviously, maybe some people had some stuff to say, but it wasn’t my thing.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 33:50
Well, that got me. Oh, my gosh.
Anna Huthmaker 33:56
That is one of my favorite memories.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 33:58
Yeah, that is beautiful. And I can see how it could be construed either way. But as you did, you took it in the intention, I think it was given.
Anna Huthmaker 34:08
Absolutely. And that is 100% what he meant. And that right there is another really great example of something that I have learned and it’s taken me fifty-three years. I’m fifty-three years old, to learn you can take anything two ways. You can look at any experience two ways. Every coin has two sides. We get to choose if I am in a normal state of mind, I choose to feel good about something. I choose to feel honoured and appreciated. I spend enough of my life worrying about feeling overweight and slow and not good enough and so I choose to not feel that way these days if I can at all help it.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 34:08
Yeah, that’s grand. I like that. And I know we’ve touched on a little bit might have been in our little chit-chat before we started recording. I can’t remember now. That’s a perimenopausal brain. How is the vision then of other women out there, either on the trail or in adventure? Has it changed now, do you feel to how it was all those years ago when you first went out on the trail? Do you think it’s different now?
Anna Huthmaker 35:16
For me or for the world in general?
Anna Huthmaker 35:18
Actually, okay, that’s great. It is different, you know. So again, I basically a little bit feel like the old lady on the trail. When I first started my own hiking, and when I first started Trail Dames, groups of women coming together, we would have these Yahoo groups online. It sounds so old-fashioned now, but we were small, there weren’t a lot of us. It certainly was mostly people who really already did hike. There wasn’t a lot of reaching out and pulling out other people and saying, Come on with us. As it is grown, watching clubs pop up everywhere, all over the world, like hundreds and thousands of clubs. It’s become so accepted and normal. You know, I used to walk up to strangers in restaurants and say, I’m not a weirdo, but you seem really cool. Come join me at Trail Dames and now when you do that, they’re like, oh, yeah, I hiked last weekend. It’s not as unusual as it used to be, which is fantastic. But there will always be women that will appreciate the extra support and the help and the motivation. That will always exist.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 35:19
Anna Huthmaker 35:42
And it’s not just necessarily because of size, either, is it? I mean, there, there are a whole wealth of reasons and diversity issues, that might mean that they haven’t managed to get out there into the mountains, on the trails, even just walking or exercising.
Anna Huthmaker 36:44
Yeah. And it’s a thing where maybe we don’t know what we’re capable of, or what we can do, and again, maybe it hadn’t even occurred to us, like my greatest lessons happened, because they had not occurred to me. Let me tell you, I was so moved. I was listening to your interview on your podcast with Julia Goodfellow-Smith. Y’all had a conversation and you were talking about superheroes. Superpowers. Yes, yes, yes. And I think about this all the time with Trail Dames and I think about people who have no clue that they have superpowers. A couple of years ago, I went to Thailand, and I was volunteering on an elephant rescue thing. And it was me and one other woman my age, and then a whole bunch of twenty-two year olds, and most of them were from the UK somewhere. It was so fascinating that first day, we sat down and our little leader, he said, okay, right, go around in a circle. He said, I want you to say your name, where you’re from, and your superpower. That was what he said. They went around every one of those young people. Now these are young people who were trekking across Southeast Asia, staying in hostels, doing volunteer work, basically being unbelievable, every last one of them. Every one of them went, my name is so and so, and I don’t really have a superpower, every one of them. By the time they got to me, I was tied into knots. I told them, I went ‘you people are killing me!’ and they just looked at me like I had lost my mind. I told them, I said, ‘How can you each not think you have superpowers?’ I said, ‘I’m sitting right here and I’m immersed in your superpowers. Because look at who you are and what you’re doing. You could be sitting on a beach sipping Mai Tais, and you’re shovelling elephant poop.’ Like these are amazing kids. And I just went on, I said, ‘but you’re very lucky. Today’s your day.’ I said ‘Because my superpower is recognising other people’s superpowers and helping them find them.’ Which is so great. And you know, I told them,’by the end of this week, every one of you is gonna know your superpower.’ And it did happen that way. But the best part of the whole story when I finished doing that, because I was really, you know, tied up in knots. I was like, how could these people not see it and this young man looked at me, and he went, ‘you don’t understand. We’re British’. He said it just like that. I was like, ‘Okay, I understand. You don’t have to be loud and obnoxious like an American. But…!’
Zoe Langley-Wathen 39:14
It is a cultural thing. But thank goodness, their superpower Fairy Godmother turned up.
Anna Huthmaker 39:22
Thank you very much. Yes, but the reason and I’m circling back around because this is what I think. You know, I hope that in Trail Dames, not everybody that comes to Trail Dames needs to be told what their superpower is. We have a lot of assured women and they’re like, ‘Here I am to save the day’. But I think these women’s organisations all over the world that are helping women, that is exactly what all of us are doing. We’re helping other women. We’re not helping them even get a superpower because we all have them and we all have more than one. But just shining and holding a mirror and going by the way, look at this mirror. There you are. That’s your superpower. So that’s what I think is more and more and more happening these days and all in women’s outdoor stuff everywhere. You for sure – you big time are just holding up a mirror to your women and saying look at what you can do. You should be given out capes.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 40:15
Anna Huthmaker 40:16
Zoe Langley-Wathen 40:16
Oh capes, yeah, sorry. I’m focused on cakes now. Cakes and Y-fronts. Oh my gosh, so you’re fifty-three, Anna.
Anna Huthmaker 40:33
Zoe Langley-Wathen 40:34
I didn’t know you were fifty-three until we had a little conversation just before we started the recording and as far as I’m concerned, you’re ageless, you know, you have no age.
Anna Huthmaker 40:43
God bless you.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 40:45
You’re welcome. But with that age comes a range of symptoms, sometimes. Little things that just kind of latch on to you and just go tap tap tap. I’m here, I’m here…
Anna Huthmaker 41:00
Is it getting hot in here?
Zoe Langley-Wathen 41:02
It might be getting a little hot and then I might be getting MOOOODY! No, I don’t want to go for another work with you. I want to go on my own. So we’re obviously talking a little bit about the penomause.
Anna Huthmaker 41:19
Yes, penomause. Merry Penomause.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 41:23
Merry Penomausal. Okay, I’m sorry, but it will always be that in my head now. So yes, perimenopause. So talk to me a little if you will, about your experience so far of this and how you feel you are coping with it? Are you still managing to get out and do the things that you’d love to do? Your Anna experience of it.
Anna Huthmaker 41:48
Well, okay, so it’s such an interesting question, because first of all, I know that so much of your audience are women that are about our age, but I want to encourage all of your listeners to have your daughters listen to this too, because I spent my whole life growing up thinking menopause meant old and you know, that was what your grandma’s did and for that matter of fact, being a grandma meant old. But when I got here, I looked around I was like, holy crap, I’m not old! I know women that are traversing the globe, sailing around the world, climbing mountains, starting HeadRightOut organisations. This idea that menopause, or the time leading up to it meant that you were really older, it completely is not true. I want young women to know that, I want them to know that because I kind of always thought that maybe that was like from there on out, we just get on a nice slide into retirement. Well, that’s nowhere close. It just doesn’t work like that. I also just want to say that no matter how much people try to describe to you what a hot flash feels like, it is not like the real thing. Like you think you know, you think you understand. And people have said to me a lot that it feels like you’re baking from the inside out. And I never really got that until I got it. And you’re lucky because I go through phases. I’ll go through like six months of hot flashes, and I want to kill the world. And then I go through some when I’m not having them. I don’t have them now and you’re very lucky because I’m looking around my desk as we talk because normally, I have all these little vials of peppermint oil because someone had told me when a hot flash is coming to put peppermint oil on your neck and it really does help, it helps a lot. It doesn’t make the hot flash go away, but all of a sudden, it’s very cooling, so it’s a lovely thing. But I don’t need it right now which is good.
Anna Huthmaker 43:37
Here’s the thing so, I think for a lot of us, I know for me it kind of snuck in there. So what is the difference between just being moody and it being a hormonal moody and it being a perimenopausal you know, if you’re only going by your periods that gets a little weird, but okay, so fine. So I started my period getting weird, you know, do you have one every two months, whatever and be like, okay, maybe this is the time. But then we have COVID. And the thing about COVID is, I can’t speak for everybody else, but I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everybody else. For our mental health, it has been really difficult. It has. Everyone I know, our forcefield that helps us get through the day, our inner strength has gotten very thin and very fragile, and the smallest things just make us lose it. Because we just don’t have a lot of bandwidth, emotionally. So now we’re interesting, because my desire to rip your head off… is that perimenopausal or is it because the COVID has just left me without many resources. I can’t really tell you which is which. I can tell you it’s a challenge to face it all. But I CAN tell you, I am not proud but I’ll take anything you give me. I will take therapy. I will take medicine. I will chant naked around a fire, if it will make me happy and fulfilled and able to move forward with my life goals, without wanting to kill somebody. I’ll do it all. So yeah. There’s my epic Anna-story of perimenopause.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 45:12
I love it. And in those moments of you want to kill everybody, are you completely off the radar of getting yourself outside and going for a walk? Would that even occur to you in those moments? How do you cope?
Anna Huthmaker 45:27
That actually that’s a good question. So I live in a very large suburban area outside of a large town. So I live outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in suburbs. First of all, greenspace and getting to trails is not particularly easy, but there are you know, if you’re willing to drive, there are beautiful, unbelievable trails. The beginning of the Appalachian Mountains. However, when the shutdown happened in the US, then when COVID hit everybody in their brother, who had never set foot on a hiking trail, decided they were going to, and maybe there’s a little bit of perimenopause emotionality, but I just got really angry and on news and on social media, they would show pictures of these little country highways lined with parked cars. Illegally parked and the trail you would just have hundreds of people on it. That is not relaxing to me. I’m a little ashamed and embarrassed, but a little bit I was like, ‘excuse me, that’s my trail.’ Newcomers need to go home and watch Netflix like everybody else. For me, that was the first time in decades literally hiking in the outdoors did not call to me. It infuriated me and it frustrated me and things have calmed down now and now I have gone back out hiking and it’s much better. But yeah, that was a very strange thing to go through where the one thing that I normally use, it could be my you know, people talk about your safe space. Oh my gosh, the the mountains of North Georgia and North Carolina, that green tunnel all those trees that is my safe space. It makes my spirit at peace. Normally. Until COVID. But now we’re back. So yeah, it was a strange time.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 47:12
And would you feel that when you’re hiking on your own as opposed to walking with somebody else. Would the criteria be that you need to go and do it solo?
Anna Huthmaker 47:21
It’s so interesting, because people ask me a lot, ‘do you prefer to hike with the Dames or by yourself?’ And the answer is ‘yes’, because I spent years hiking by myself. It started because I was insecure and didn’t believe I could keep up with other people or belong to a hiking group. But it quickly became that was my place of solace. Then with Trail Dames that quickly became so enriching and heart filling, I tell people my favourite sound in the entire world is the sound of women laughing through the trees. Because we would spread out up the trail, and we’re not a quiet hiking group, by the way. You don’t ever want to hike with us if you want to see wildlife. We tell people we are the wildlife! But that sound of women’s laughter. Magic happens when you hike with women. You don’t even know that within twenty feet of walking on dirt, underneath trees, you feel like you can share yourself with each other and you can laugh with each other and we cry with each other. So I love both equally and I need both, equally. Now when I go out by myself will I love a completely empty trail with no one but me. Absolutely. I know that’s too selfish to ask for. I do live in a very populated area. But I’ll take it anyway. I can get it though.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 48:35
So it’s just being outside isn’t it?
Anna Huthmaker 48:37
It really is, it really is.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 48:39
Mike and I got to walk some of the AT last year. We came over to New York in January. Two weeks in January beginning of February and we got back just before lockdown happened. But we made our way from New York via New Jersey and then up into Upstate New York to the Catskills and High Point I think, yeah I think we ended up at High Point. Anyway and a little bit of other stuff. We did two days of hiking one way on the AT and then hiking the other way on the AT and it just felt wonderful. I know I wasn’t out there doing it for very long. Yes you know that’s another dream of mine but just to be on that path that so many other friends and people I’ve read about or listen to as they’re speaking, they have trodden that path. It just felt so good to finally be there and see that blaze. That AT blaze on the trees and I was thinking of you, and I was thinking of Sarah Williams from Tough Girl. There were so many people I was thinking of and it just felt good to be there and I was like, ‘yes. One day.’
Anna Huthmaker 49:41
It is a magical place. I have to just say like for all your listeners like every trail has its own magic and its own energy. The Appalachian Trail, the energy of it, when we did Trail Dames’ our very, very first Dames’ hike, we hiked Springer mountain, which is the southernmost part of the Appalachian Trail. Now, this is not a good hike to take a group on. You have to go on a forest service road. It takes forever to get there. When you get there, it’s just a mile up and a mile back. And it’s a lot of work. And then there’s not really great views. You know, it’s just like this little unassuming in the middle of nowhere mountain with a plaque on it. But I tell people, like when you stand there, you can literally feel the hundreds of thousands of dreams that happened on that mountain. And you could feel it all up and down the trail. You know, anytime I step on the AT and like you said, when you see that white blaze, no matter what the weather, no matter what state you’re in, no matter if it’s muddy, or dry, or rocky, you can feel the dreams. The ground is marinated in them. And it’s amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 50:42
That’s just Oh, absolute beauty in that. The dreams are marinated in them. Yes. So, Anna, we are coming to the end of our conversation.
Anna Huthmaker 50:55
You do know you and I could do this for hours and hours and hours!
Zoe Langley-Wathen 50:59
And we have done because I you know, I’ve been on Trail Dames podcast twice with you. And then we’ve had other little chit chats as well. But yes, we do like to talk and and it’s wonderful. And I just feel like we are connected by more than just the interest in walking. There’s so much that we’ve got in common there. But I’m really interested to know about your HeadRightOut Moment. So this is a question that I ask all of the women that come on to the HeadRightOut Podcast. Do you have an experience, a moment where you think, geez, yeah, I actually stepped out of my comfort zone there, in the outdoors. It was something I didn’t think I was ever capable of doing. And you might have talked about it already. And if you have, that’s fine. But is there something that you could pinpoint where you go, yeah, that really was my HeadRightOut Moment, I stretched my comfort zone boundaries beyond belief… and benefitted from it?
Anna Huthmaker 51:53
It’s very interesting, because I’ve had a lot because I grew up not thinking I could do very much. Stretching myself was not hard. Let me just say that, you know, I did not grow up thinking I could seize the day. I have to tell you, when I was doing my AT thru hike attempt, we were in Maine. And for those of you that aren’t familiar with the AT, there’s something called the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. And it’s a hundred miles and for the most part, no road access, you have to really be ready. And then it’s very rugged for me very, very difficult, very rugged. And we were probably about thirty five or forty miles into it. And I just looked at it. And of course I’m slower than I need to be because you got to be able to get through on the food that you’re carrying. and I look at my hiking partner, her name is Bumpkin and I said ‘Bumpkin, this isn’t going to happen for me. I just can’t move fast enough. This is really rugged hiking.’ So we made a quick decision. And she left me and she we agreed on this. It was a good thing. She hiked off because she had she was marathon runner, she could do anything. And it started raining. And that was in the morning when she hiked off. And it rained for 24 hours. And I laid in my tent. And I alternately cried and attacked myself and was depressed and then cried some more for twenty four hours. And I realised that my will and my heart weren’t enough. Like your body IS your limitation. No matter what you think, you know, I always thought I could do anything. Yes, you know, I’m short and rounded, but I can do anything. No, your body is a limitation. And I had this moment that I had physically stretched myself. Over-extended myself. Gone further than I certainly had ever gone before. But maybe at this point gone further than was smart or safe. Because at this point, like I’m literally in the middle of nowhere. And I’m praying that one of the logging roads that we crossed that if I just started walking on might at some point find my way out. This is what I’m praying, not a smart plan. I don’t suggest that. But do you know the next morning I got up and I packed all my gear and everything’s soaking wet and muddy and oh my god, I had this awful climb down this cliff like it looked like a cliff and it was these giant boulders and I was like, Oh, my leg muscles just don’t have this. And this voice came to me and I’m not exaggerating. And I’m not trying to be silly and this voice went, ‘You know what, this isn’t your end, this is your beginning.’ This is just the beginning. And it just kept saying that. And I literally I remember I stopped on the trail. And you can hear all the rain dripping off the trees, you know, and I was like, This is my beginning. You know, I didn’t fail. I didn’t make a mess of things. I still have to get myself out of the Hundred Mile Wilderness. But that’s okay. And I’m sitting here today so we know that I did, but that voice was not my voice, and I will forever be grateful for it. Because if people say like what is the moment Trail Dames was born, I didn’t have the name then, but that was the moment that I knew stuff was coming and I was going to do things. So that was my HeadRightOut Moment.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 54:57
That is a profound HeadRightOut Moment. Yep and she’s off again…
Anna Huthmaker 55:02
I don’t mean to make you cry. I’m sorry.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 55:04
No, it’s partly the story. You know that what it means I know how much that means, but also the way you deliver it as well. And it’s just yeah, that is such a special story, and I’ve not heard that before. You know, I’ve obviously heard your podcast and listened to a lot of what you’ve said and read things by you but I’ve not heard that story before. It’s a very, very special agrotech moment. Thank you, Anna.
Anna Huthmaker 55:26
Zoe Langley-Wathen 55:28
Wow. So apart from making me cry, (no that’s me), you have been just pure bubbles today, and pure positivity, and pure fun. There’s something about you, Anna, that you just light up the room. And I know I’ve got my little grotto here…
Anna Huthmaker 55:48
I was going to say, you have some disco lights going on!
Zoe Langley-Wathen 55:53
But yeah, thank you for stepping into my grotto with me.
Anna Huthmaker 55:56
Well thank you.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 55:57
And yeah, this has been absolutely incredible to hear you sharing your stories, and just giving us another step forward, another push of encouragement to say, you can do this. I know what you were saying earlier about knowing your body and knowing that your body is your limitation. Now, you do need to know your limits, and sometimes we do need to make that call that we need to perhaps step off the trail or step off an adventure that we’re on because of safety. You know, we’ve got to keep others safe, we’ve got to keep ourselves safe, obviously. But what you shared there about that voice that came from somewhere, you know, that’s your subconscious, just letting you know that actually don’t cut it here. This is a new you. This is a beginning, this is something that if you don’t do this, if you walk away from this now, you’re not going to benefit from this experience, later on. Because now I can draw on that and say, Well, if I can do that I can do this. And it might just be something like stepping up in front of your first sea of people at your summit, at your very first summit. There’s all sorts of ways that you can take those experiences into everyday life isn’t there and I think that’s what I found on my first long distance trail. I was able to take it into the workplace and into my everyday life and I didn’t know I was going to get to do that. You don’t know until you’ve done it.
Anna Huthmaker 57:24
You don’t and I’ll tell you magic happens. All you have to do is one thing, like break out of your comfort zone one little tiny bit. If it means going out on a kayak and you never thought you could do that, or go take a little class or whatever. Breakout one little bit and this magic thing happens. And I think that’s the universe goes ‘Aha, we got a live one.’ And your little doors will start opening because I can tell you that there was a point in my life I didn’t go ooh, I’m going to start an outdoor women’s organization and I’m going to do a podcast I’m gonna do this. No, no, no, no, every one of those little things was a door that came up and as a result of something else. So pay attention like to step out just a little bit. HeadRightOut with Zoe, just one little bit and the universe will conspire to line up opportunities for you to do more and more and more. That’s a cool thing.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 58:12
Perfect Thank you. So Anna, where can people come and share more magic with you online and the socials?
Anna Huthmaker 58:20
Everywhere and I think in the show notes you have all my links. You can learn about Trail Dames at www.traildames.com. If you are a woman who enjoys hiking, come to our Facebook page. It’s a closed group, you do not have to be a member of one of the chapters. We have women from all over the world. And ahem, I would love to have an international chapter, I’m just saying to any of your listeners who feel like that’s their, their moment to get out and start something new.
The Trail Dames Summit:
The Trail Dames Charitable Foundation:
Zoe Langley-Wathen 58:45
Wouldn’t that be great to spread overseas!
Anna Huthmaker 58:48
Oh, I’ve even we have a woman in New Zealand and I’m like going ‘come on, we want to go to New Zealand’, but like, come and join us because we are just low key. And it’s not eight hundred messages a day. But we just celebrate each other and support each other and share pictures and everything of loving the outdoors. And yeah, and of course we’d love for you to come listen to the Trail Dames Podcast, we have this fabulous episode from this woman that you may have heard of her. Zoe Langley-Wathen. She’s amazing. You should listen to that episode. It’s really great.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 59:18
Thank you so much. Anna, is there anything else that you would like to say that I haven’t given you the opportunity to talk about?
Anna Huthmaker 59:25
Just, thank you, Zoe. Like seriously, I want everyone to look at what you’re doing and realise that you are literally putting your money where your mouth is. You are literally doing what you’re asking other women to do. You know you are stepping out and taking chances and risks, and trying new things. So it’s not just you like preaching from a pulpit. You’re living it too, and so thank you for being such a motivation and inspiration to all the rest of us.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 59:51
Oh, thank you, Anna. Anna Huthmaker, thank you so much for coming on HeadRightOut, and I hope we can catch up with you again, some time soon.
Anna Huthmaker 1:00:01
Me too. It’s my pleasure.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:00:11
Wow, how did that make you feel? While there were some potentially sensitive issues discussed. Anna has an extraordinary way of delivering them with such a fizz. I find myself being left with such a positivity and inspiration after talking with her. I have to admit through recording that with Anna, I smiled, and I laughed and I cried, but also whilst editing it, going back over it again, I smiled, I laughed. And yes, I cried again. Anna just lives her message of the things we do speak to other women. And I think that’s something that I’m going to carry with me the things we do speak to other women. We have so much to offer, and so much to give, and so much to demonstrate, and we ARE what we live. Anyway, do go and listen to the Trail Dames Podcast, of which Anna is the host. It’s so refreshing and so inspiring. And all of the links will be in the show notes.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:01:24
Now I’m recording today somewhere completely different. I’m at my mum’s, we’ve had quite a tricky few weeks, with mum being in hospital but she came out of hospital this week and she’s taking some time in a care home, a local residential care home. And so I am sat in one of her rooms. I don’t have a sound booth, no grotto. So if this sounds a little bit different, that is why.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:01:59
Our HeadRightOut Moment this week has been sent in by Frankie Dewar and Frit Tam. So it’s a joint HeadRightOut Moment. What an amazing moment it is. I’m going to read you what Frankie has sent me. I’m sharing this HeadRightOut Moment for myself and my partner Frit, who set themselves the challenge of rollerblading and cycling around England to share stories from the LGBTQIA+ community. This project was so daunting for Frit as they couldn’t rollerblade at all at the start of the year, and had never done a trip of this size before. It was also daunting for me, as I was the support crew, and there to film the entire time. It sounds like I got the easy job. But filming is so unbelievably hard. And I didn’t really have that much experience to draw on. But for me, the bravest part was Frit, publicly coming out as transgender, just before the start of the trip, and taking on the challenge at a really early stage in their transgender story. It was an amazing thing to celebrate. But it was also hard at times, you would go to a new place and it would be hard to tell whether you were really safe there or not. People would ask Where are you going? Or what are you up to. And sometimes we felt safer just to say cycling to Brighton, rather than to tell people about the full extent of the trip. And that’s what the trip is all about. To share more stories and raise the voices of people within the LGBTQIA+ community to show that we are here and we are welcome, so that people don’t feel like they have to hide who they are. We’re currently crowdfunding to make a film from the trip and all the interviews Frit did along the way. We’d love it if you could visit the page igg.me/at/glide-for-pride. And you can watch a trailer for the film and if you feel able to help us to share these stories. So there will be a link in the show notes to their Indiegogo crowdfunding page and I will also put links to Frankie’s Instagram page and Frit’s Instagram page. They are both hugely inspiring.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:04:26
Frankie is also host of the Extraordinary Ordinary You Podcast, which I was interviewed on last year. And Frankie is no novice to adventure because she took off last year and cycled for months around the UK, interviewing women who were older than her, who had stepped out of their comfort zone, if you like. Done adventures, done things that were a bit different. So that’s why she came and chatted to me. Do go and check them out. And if you can spare any pennies, please go and check out the rewards that are being offered in return for a pledge to help back Frit’s film. Such a positive message to get more LGBTQIA+ individuals represented in the outdoor arena.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:05:20
Okay, well, this was episode eight. If you love what you heard today, please share, follow and review the podcast, just to ensure that HeadRightOut can reach more women out there. New episodes land every Wednesday morning, and I hope you’ll be back listening with me again. I am Zoe Langley-Wathen, and I wish you a week of fulfilling HeadRightOut Moments. I hope you are inspired to head out of your comfort zone, doing stuff that stretches you and makes your life richer as a result. See you next week.
Zoe Langley-Wathen 1:05:57
HeadRightOut Hugs to you all.