Never Too Old For Adventure: Cruel Tanzania Amoeba, Beating Shyness to Antarctica & Over 500 Days of Walking at 73 yrs 005: Cherry Hamrick

Cherry Hamrick exudes positivity and resilience. Her mindset is that of adventure. Every corner of her life, whether work, play, family or vacation is treated as an adventure. At sixty-five, she faced her shyness to travel alone to Antarctica. At seventy-two she was seriously ill in Tanzania, with the sickness known as the ‘amoeba’. Yet all she wanted was to climb Kilimanjaro and appreciate running in Africa. At seventy-three, she has now recorded a streak of over 500 consecutive days of walking. A splits extraordinaire, avid runner, kayaker, dancer and traveller with a zest for life, challenges and adventures. You will be reaching for a map and guidebook after listening to Cherry!

Zoe Langley-Wathen  00:14

Hello, and welcome back to the HeadRightOut Podcast. If you’re here for the very first time, welcome! I hope you’re here to stay. My name is Zoe Langley-Wathen, and I am your host, and I’m here to help introduce the idea of doing something that scares you. To push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit. Today, in order to take us on this resilience journey a little bit more, I am talking to a very special lady indeed. Her name is Cherry, and she’s going to be taking us through her journey of living an adventurous life.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  00:48

Now, I have to just say here, a little bit of a thing that has been going on with my internet connection, I think it’s mine, I’m not sure. But please, please make some allowances for the quality here. Our connection was unstable, and we had been completely disconnected at the start of our chat. Once we were reconnected, it was it was a bit better, and although there was some occasional latency there in the audio, we decided to run with it. So I will have edited out a lot of the long pauses that you get when you have a delay in a call. But hopefully it doesn’t completely detract from the conversation, because it was a wonderful conversation that we had.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  01:26

Cherry shares some awesome advice with us about keeping a positive mindset through tough times, which we all get and how best to deal with those problems and how best to deal with a crisis when it hits, as well. She’s a woman of much wisdom and an absolute joy to talk to. So without further ado, let’s get into the interview.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  01:56

Okay, hello, everybody and welcome to the HeadRightOut Podcast. And today I have a very special guest and she is tuning in with us all the way from the United States. Her name is Cherry Hamrick, and I have a wonderful introduction to offer you, before we get right into that interview with Cherry.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  02:15

Cherry Hamrick is based in the United States and was a ballet teacher for twenty years before making a career change into becoming a librarian, for twenty-three years. At fifty. She studied for a master’s degree, which enabled her to become a library director, at which point she had the joy and satisfaction of being a major part of building a big new library for her community. She loved the construction part of it so much that she says if she could have had a third career, it would have been to become a construction manager. (I absolutely love that already!)

Zoe Langley-Wathen  02:51

Cherry has run on all of the seven continents. She has been in a boat on six of the seven continents. And in addition to working for that master’s degree at fifty, she also ran her first marathon. She wore the mantle of race director for twelve years at the library, putting on the Run for Reading and the Jingle Bell 5K for women. She is the vice chair of the Ingham County Parks Board and she’s a founding board member of the Friends of Lansing Regional Trails. Although she didn’t start marathons until she was fifty, Cherry has now run seven marathons; Bay Shore, Detroit twice (that’s running once and race walking it once), Big Sur, China, Chicago and New York. She describes herself as an avid runner, (I’d say!), walker kayaker and has done yoga since she was twelve years old.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  03:50

Cherry has travelled to Antarctica, despite being shy and not knowing anyone and has undertaken a daily lockdown walk with a friend and never stopped. Current total of those walks is now at over two thousand miles and over five hundred days of walking. She even managed to wear a hole in the bottom of her cast boot that she was wearing for a stress fracture. Cherry’s biggest challenge was in 2020. On her final continent, the plan was to Safari for five days, do a partial climb of Mount Kilimanjaro for three days, run a half marathon and then fly home (to rest I assume). That was supposed to be for a total of two weeks with travel time included. Let’s say that expedition didn’t go quite as planned, despite two years of organizing the trip. And I believe there was another cast boot that became an essential part of Cherry’s attire due to another stress fracture this time in her foot and a hellish illness contracted in Tanzania that gradually sucked the life from her and I I believe that also forced her to be hospitalized on her return to the US. I sense that this woman is a determined soul. She is also seventy-three years old. Now she went to set foot on Kili. So let’s find out what happened.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  05:18

Cherry, welcome to the HeadRightOut Podcast. My goodness me, what a tale. What a whole wealth of tales you have there. What hurdles were you faced with when travelling to Africa, because that sounds like it was your biggest challenge, to date at least and that it threw all sorts of things at you what was going on there?

Cherry Hamrick  05:39

It certainly did. The best part of the whole adventure was through the whole thing, all three of us that were on the trip had such a good attitude, which I appreciated from the girls. Not everybody rides in an ambulance in Tanzania, and not everybody experiences coming down the mountain the same way you went up. They were so, so wonderful about just embracing what was happening. I mean, that’s part of travel and life, things change quickly, and you have to figure it out.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  06:13

So what caused you to be in the ambulance?

Cherry Hamrick  06:16

I had somehow, I have a theory, but I’m not sure how, come in contact with the water there. I thought I was really careful. But I think maybe during the tent shower, I was looking up to pull the chain maybe and got some water in my mouth. I don’t know. But I got an amoeba is what the doctor there called it and just had (not real pleasant) constant diarrhea, and just no appetite. I tried to cover it up. I didn’t want anybody to worry. And I took some anti-diarrhea medicine, which helped the first few days so I could keep going on safari. When it was time to climb, the guide said “how are you feeling” and I said, “well, I’ve had a little diarrhea.” So to be fair, he didn’t understand the severity of my problem. But starting up Mount Kilimanjaro, really weak, very dehydrated and wearing an aircast that came up, but I’m pretty determined. And I just wanted to… I was there to climb that mountain.

Cherry Hamrick  07:20

So our guide was wonderful, he helped me, hauled me up over things. My foot was really getting moved around in the cast because the ground is so different. So my foot hurt a lot and when we got to that first camp, because I read a lot about it, I was so excited to actually be in a camp on Mount Kilimanjaro. That was such a thrill. I just knew I didn’t have the strength or the ability. The next day was twice as long and I just knew I couldn’t manage. So we had to come back down the next morning and there was an ambulance waiting for me, and they took me to a clinic to get some medicine and that helped. I don’t know how much you want me to go on about this?

Zoe Langley-Wathen  08:12

Oh no, you’re not going on at all. I’m absolutely taking it all in. I know a little bit of a story but just hearing you recount that story is just so absorbing. So no, please do carry on.

Cherry Hamrick  08:23

Okay. So we were able to get into our hotel easily which was nice because it was early. Everybody was so accommodating, and so helpful, and so caring. It was really wonderful. It was a really good experience, but at that point I was so dehydrated I didn’t have any saliva, so I couldn’t eat because it would make me gag or throw up. So the people at the hotel kept trying to get me to eat and they would bring food to my room and I just couldn’t. The good part was the girls, my daughter and another woman her age went ahead and had adventures on their own, which was wonderful. I was so pleased. I really wanted them to keep climbing but they chose not to… and I was pretty much in bed.

Cherry Hamrick  09:12

Fortunately it was a beautiful hotel and we had little patios, so I could see outside but I just couldn’t do anything. But because it was my seventh continent and I was determined to run, I had a special insert for my shoe that was metal, that I had made before I went to Tanzania, hoping that would help if I can go without the boot with my stress fracture. So I put that on and I ran around the hotel, a little bit not a lot, but I was in Tanzania. I could see Mount Kilimanjaro, literally from my room, and I just felt like I had to do that and then it was stopped; the medicines stopped my symptoms enough to be okay flying home. I had to have a wheelchair because I was so weak I couldn’t, I really couldn’t stand up or walk very far. So when I got home, my husband took me immediately to the emergency room and I was hospitalized. My potassium was 2.3, which I found out later, it’s quite dangerously low, and as severely dehydrated, obviously, and I lost about seven pounds at that point. So I was in the hospital for three days, and got a lot of potassium infusions, and a lot of hydration and went home and took about a week of not doing a whole lot, but I’m pretty healthy, and I recover quickly from things. So mostly, it was what everybody does in Tanzania. The good and the bad.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  10:49

It’s amazing, isn’t it, how if you are fit and healthy, how quickly you can recover from something? But that sounded particularly harrowing and you’ve gone through a lot there. You’ve got your boot, you know, the air cast, on. So you’ve got pain from your stress fracture, you’ve got this whole ordeal that you’re dealing with the diarrhea and then back at the hotel, the sickness, or the gagging. You must have felt absolutely rotten, and the diarrhea must have just been absolutely awful to deal with. It’s bad enough when you’re at home, but when you’re overseas, I think it just exacerbates it even more. Oh my goodness. So you’ve come through that and do you tell that story now, with a sense of fondness, or a sense of adventure? You know, what feeling do you find yourself recounting that adventure, that trip? How does it make you feel inside now that you can see it from the other side?

Cherry Hamrick  11:47

That’s a very good question. I haven’t thought about it that clearly. I tend to see everything as an adventure. I appreciated how much everybody just thought, Okay, this is what we have to deal with. I can’t do anything, the girls went ahead and did adventures on their own for a few days. I didn’t know till later how really dangerously sick I was, which helped us to not know at the time. And I think I don’t remember maybe a lot of it. But this is an odd thing. The only thing that I could eat, my daughter had bought a little can of Pringles potato chips. That was literally the only thing I can eat. And I don’t know why. Maybe the salt? I don’t know. But so, you know, I had kind of an okay time in the hotel room. I knew I was missing things, which I felt badly about. But I don’t know. I’m glad I survived. I don’t think I was in mortal danger. But it was an adventure. I see it as an adventure, riding down the mountain in an ambulance. And the change in plans; how everybody adapted well; the caring of the people I was with, the guide and the doctor and everybody, so I guess I think it was just more of an adventure. Maybe that’s painting with a good brush to make it seem happier.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  13:19

But then perhaps that’s your mindset as well. You know, the way you think about things. I mean, I had a similar situation two years ago where I went on my very first skiing trip. I was with the school that I was working at, and I had an accident on the mountain. And yeah, basically I had to be ferried off the mountain. It wasn’t by ambulance, but it was by ski rescue. And I just see that as the most exciting thing that happened to me that day. I was in massive pain, I’d torn my ACL and MCL in my knee and partially dislocated my kneecap. But you know I’m there with my phone, saying “please, if I’m going to go down this mountain on ski rescue, you HAVE to take a photograph of me. I’m not going home without that! So, yeah, it was all part of the adventure.

Cherry Hamrick  14:05

Yes, it is. I think if you travel enough, you learn you have to adapt quickly to situations. And that’s funny that you said that, because I did take a picture of my ambulance driver, because he was very dapper had a cool hat, and things you think of you know, at the moment and to get back down the mountain, literally thinking again about how I felt about it. It’s hard to recreate that now talking about it at camp and realising I just could not do anymore. The most crushing thing to me, was to realise that I thought somebody will just come and get me. But you can’t. You cannot get vehicles up that high. I think we’re at about 10,000 feet at that point. To realise that I had to turn around and go back down the way I came up, just at the time, that was just soul crushing, I could not imagine or face that, but I didn’t have a choice. So the next morning, we did it and everybody helped, and we survived. Then we got down to where we could get in a vehicle, and then it was another hour into the town. But looking back, I thought, why was that such a big deal, but at the time, that was just soul crushing to think I had to walk all the way back down.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  15:32

I’ve got to cut in there you know, because I’m really interested to know, what did you draw on to get you back down the mountain? I mean, we can say it’s just resilience. But it’s never JUST resilience is it? It comes from a whole toolkit of being able to deal with hard stuff that is thrown at you. So was there something in particular that you drew on? Do you have a mantra that you recite over and over in your head to talk yourself out of all of the negative thoughts? What do you do to get yourself through stuff like that?

Cherry Hamrick  16:01

That’s another good question that I haven’t thought too deeply about, I guess. I’m just very determined. If I say, I’m gonna do something, I do it. And I just knew I was determined. I knew I could do it. I mean, I knew in the back of my mind, yes, I could walk all the way back down with a lot of help. But I never doubted that I could do it, I guess. I was just devastated at the time. And hoping I had the energy to do that. But I think I always knew I could. I don’t know if that’s a good explanation.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  16:35

No, that’s fine. I mean, sometimes it is just something deep down inside of us. We just know don’t we? And it’s that decision as well. You just knew that there was absolutely no way you were going to be able to go any further. So there had to come a point where you had to face – although you were determined to get up further – you had to face that you couldn’t. So that took a lot of determination to understand that and to deal with that, as you said it was crushing. But what a story.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  17:03

So you came back, and you’re in hospital for a few days.

Cherry Hamrick  17:07

Yeah.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  17:07

And so you’re in recovery. Thank goodness, you’re in recovery. And then I believe lockdown happened after that, not long after and partly into your recovery at home. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened at the beginning of lockdown?

Cherry Hamrick  17:24

Yes, yes, we got home, March 3, I believe. And then I was pretty much just at home for a week. And then I was feeling better. And I have friends that I walk with, and we walked. And then we got together for lunch, because they wanted to hear about my trip. And at the time, this friend of mine, I knew who also works in the library, got an email from the library saying don’t come to work tomorrow, because we’re all locked down – it’s happening. And so he just looked at me and said, “so do you want to walk again tomorrow? I don’t have to work.” And I said, “Sure!” So, the way you know, things just start kind of funny. We thought, oh, it’ll be a week or two, or something and it just went on and on. Then when he did go back to work, it was more challenging, because he worked till seven, some nights. And it was really interesting, and I think again, we both like the challenge of that. The challenge of how to figure out where and when the two of us could meet every single day.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  18:40

That’s that is quite a mammoth undertaking when somebody is working and yeah, you have to negotiate and manage that time. I know if I’ve been doing a challenge, the longest I’ve continued to challenge is a hundred days. So to continue it for how many days exactly, is it now?

Cherry Hamrick  18:58

514.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  19:00

Wow, that is just incredible. That is absolutely incredible. So you know, you’re closing in on the second year, almost. You’re closer to your second year than you are to the end of the first year. And do you see any sign of that stopping, or do you plan to continue or  what are the plans with that? Do you feel like you can’t stop now? Are you just enjoying it?

Cherry Hamrick  19:25

Well, kind of all of those things. I had done a running streak for a year, just to see if I could do it. But doing the streak with another person is a whole other level of complication. You can’t just at eleven o’clock at night say “Oh shoot, I forgot”, and jump on the treadmill and run for a mile. It’s just another level. And honestly, especially during pandemic, it was wonderful to have a reason to go outside and to meet somebody else and to walk and talk, and we laughed a lot. People ask what we talked about all that time, and my example is because we walked a lot of neighbourhoods, we spent a lot of time one day talking about when they started attaching garages to houses. You know, we’re fine trying to figure that out.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  20:20

It’s amazing when you’re walking and talking with somebody, what does come up. I’ve walked with many people, just random people that I’ve met along the way. And yeah, after you’ve kind of got over the first few minutes of life story, you do end up getting into some really interesting discussions. I’m interested to know, have there been any disagreements with the two of you in that time?

Cherry Hamrick  20:40

That’s a very good question, too. No, we just we laugh and we have the same sense of humour. In the US in this particular time, we have the same political views. I think if we didn’t, it might not have lasted this long. But we talk a lot of library stuff. I don’t know, we just get along very well. I’ve known him for a long, long time through the library and he’s just a wonderful person. And I don’t know, now it’s become a real quest for us. But we’re still having fun and we’re still trying to work it out every day.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  21:18

Well, that’s fabulous. And what better way of getting out into the outdoors and keeping fit. If you can’t run, if you can’t climb a mountain, just go out for a walk. Is there a distance, a particular distance that you’d like to do? Have you got an optimum distance that you do every day?

Cherry Hamrick  21:35

We agreed early on, once we realized this was gonna be a thing, and the usual standard for a streak is a minimum of a mile. So we joke that our rulebook says we have to do a mile. Some days, that’s all one of us has time for. One day when it was pouring rain, we did our mile under a picnic shelter roof, just going around and around and around. In the winter here, it gets very cold, very snowy, very icy. So sometimes we would have to adapt. If it was just to icy, we would slip and slide through our mile and call it good. But then other days when it’s nice, and we have the time we’ve done ten miles, I think twelve miles might have been our longest walk so far. So we really bounce around. Yeah, in a given week, we’ll do a mile five miles, eight miles just depends.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  22:29

Yeah, that’s good. You’re changing it around, and it’s whatever suits your life on that particular day in the moment, isn’t it? Wow. So I’m interested to know, Cherry, you’ve obviously done quite a lot there. You’re experienced in ballet and yoga as well, in the past. It doesn’t seem to faze you about embarking on new things, and you’ve changed up what you’ve done in your life, career-wise, and then you went on to study your masters. So how has your life been changed do you think, by your challenges you’ve chosen to do?

Cherry Hamrick  23:00

Yes, I like challenges I always have. I like thinking of something and then thinking, Oh, how do I do that? How do I get there in the case of travelling. That’s one thing I oddly I liked about being a Race Director was on Race Day, something’s going to happen, but you don’t know what it is. And I really like that challenge of figuring things out when they happen, that you can’t plan for.  I don’t know, it’s like that challenge. And circling back to my two careers, I also always felt that you should change careers every 20 years, just to start fresh, learn something new, be with new people. I just always I just I like change. And I like challenges. And I should give a nice shout out to my husband who does not care about travelling, but totally supports and helps in any way he can for me to have my adventures without going with me, but he really enjoys the adventures that I have.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  24:05

Brilliant big up Mr. Cherry. That’s fabulous. So do you feel then, that being faced with the unknown in those challenges, or in those new lifestyles or new careers, that you’ve chosen, is it the unknown that you thrive on?

Cherry Hamrick  24:19

I think possibly, and I think knowing that whatever it is, I can figure it out. I can figure out how to deal with it. I can figure out what I need, or where to go, or who to ask. I like figuring things out – how to, like on Kilimanjaro “now what’s gonna happen?” I just find that intriguing.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  24:38

Yeah. Oh wow. You have such a strong history of resilience and I love that because I’ve been trying to build my resilience for a long time and I’m certainly getting there I’m not there yet. I think we are always learning is as far as that goes. I think like you say you just knowing that you know what to do in particular situations,  or you can be flexible. You can work around a problem and think around a problem to actually find the solution to that, knowing that you’ve got that toolkit in there somewhere to be able to handle that is great. And that’s what resilience is all about. And this podcast really is all about is just trying to offer other women that knowledge that they have that capability to, but if we’ve got to find it, we’ve got to tap into it, haven’t we, and it’s not until we start having experiences and we don’t have to climb Kilimanjaro or jump out of an aeroplane to have those strengthening experiences. Sometimes it’s just doing those things that push us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown, like changing your job or going for a new career.

Cherry Hamrick  25:40

Yes, and I think, to me, the biggest thing is just to not panic. I’ve had a lot of situations where I could have panicked, but if you don’t panic and just say, “Okay, I have to figure this out. Who do I talk to? Where do I go?”, if you don’t panic and just stop and think, ‘I can figure this out’. I think that makes a big difference.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  26:05

That’s actually really good advice, and I think what I’ve discovered about myself is that I tend not to panic, I’m very good at not panicking. Actually, I think I’m more of a worrier. So beforehand, before I go off to do something, I will worry a lot about it, perhaps unnecessarily, but when I’m actually in the moment, I’m able to tune in to what I need to get done without the panic pants going on.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  26:29

So you were doing the splits in a photograph I saw of you recently. That is something I have never, ever been able to do, Cherry. I just, I looked on that with with absolute awe and envy and wow, in every aspect. Is that because you have kept up with your yoga? Is it your years of ballet? How have you managed to keep yourself in a body that is still able to do the splits and it’s seemingly so easily?

Cherry Hamrick  27:02

There’s a funny story about that. When I was dancing, and I was twenty, my teacher who actually studied at the Royal Academy in London, she was English. She was wonderful and she was turning forty. She was doing a routine and it included the splits, and we were all amazed that she was that old and could do the splits. I mean, we just kept saying, “She’s forty. How can she still do the splits? (And said from a twenty-year old perspective). I thought, ‘okay, I’m gonna do that, I’m going to be able to do the splits all my life’. And that just started a challenge for me. And it’s just a matter of doing them every day. If you do them every day, you can just keep doing them.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  27:47

So it just becomes part of your practice.

Cherry Hamrick  27:49

Yes.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  27:50

And do you practice yoga as well, daily?

Cherry Hamrick  27:52

Not daily, I’m not as good as I should be. But I’ve just always loved yoga, for the stretching and the flexibility, especially as I get older. I’m not quite as flexible in my back as I used to be. I can still do a backbend, kind of, but even just trying it is good for me.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  28:12

Yeah…

Cherry Hamrick  28:13

And just stretching just feels good. And you know, years of being a dancer, just stretching, I just always want to stretch.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  28:21

I gonna I’m just going to change tack slightly here, and I’d like to ask you about the menopause, if that’s okay? Just in terms of, did you find that you had any difficulties with either confidence, or body movement, things that you used to be able to do, you’ve suddenly found you have to work harder at, when you started going through menopause? Because I know there’s going to be a lot of people listening to this, that are perhaps coming up to that time and would love to know your story.

Cherry doing her annual, birthday splits photo!

Cherry Hamrick  28:48

For me, I think again, you know, I just always had stretched I’d always had moved. I didn’t become a runner until I was in my thirties, just because I had small children and life. But I did find I had to work a little harder at stretching and be more consistent and more dedicated to stretching and moving, because what could happen. It goes away quicker the older you get. So that was just always part of my life to try to counteract that. I guess.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  29:22

That’s great. It was just lovely to see that you’re still able to do the splits and you’ve obviously come through that menopause time really positively. So do you have any advice that you can offer to midlife women, Cherry? You know, I don’t know any any nuggets pertaining to resilience or adventure or anything that you just carry around with you that you live by. What would you say?

Cherry Hamrick  29:48

One thing I’ve thought of recently for totally different reasons is I realised I don’t live my life in fear. I don’t think what’s the worst thing that could happen that’s going to happen, so I’m not gonna it. I always think I can do stuff. I always think why not try this? Why not do this? I think I just don’t want to live in fear. And I don’t.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  30:10

That’s good. You’ve actually managed to train your brain to do as you tell it. There’s a lot of people that do struggle still with that. Yeah, you’ve got that down to an art, then that’s fabulous. And just a couple of other little things. Actually, this one isn’t quite so little. But if we’ve not talked about it already, is there a HeadRightOut Moment that you can think of something where you really felt you stepped out of your comfort zone? Something that you thought you were totally not capable of doing? But you did you succeeded?

Cherry Hamrick  30:45

Yes, I, I had always been fascinated by Antarctica. I read all the books. Robert Falcon, Scott was my hero, and especially the British-like ‘daring-do’ of going to Antarctica in crazy conditions, and Shackleton. I just always wanted to go to Antarctica, but it was very expensive – still is, and nobody wanted to go with me. And I just thought, I just have to go. I’m kind of a shy person. And I thought, ‘how can I get on a boat with a hundred people that I don’t know, and go to Antarctica? And I just thought, ‘I just really want to do this’. It was quite a life changing moment to realise I could do that. I didn’t have to have somebody with me that I knew. And I emailed, you have to go with the group to get there… and he said, don’t worry about it. Because most people will be by themselves on the trip, because it’s expensive, and not that many people want to go there. So once I heard that, I thought, well, that makes sense. And I just met amazing people. I was like the least travelled of all of these people. I had a fabulous roommate. And it was such a wonderful experience. I just really had to push myself to do it, and I realised I can go places by myself. So that was a big one for me.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  32:18

That’s your HeadRightOut Moment. Wow. And can I ask how old were you when you went to Antartica, Cherry?

Cherry Hamrick  32:24

It was eight years ago, so I’ll have to do the math. So I’d been sixty-five/sixty-four maybe,

Zoe Langley-Wathen  32:29

Okay.

Cherry Hamrick  32:30

Sixty-four.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  32:32

Yeah, for a lot of people, that would totally be off their radar, even though it might have been their dream. Some people would say now at that age, I’m not going to go there. But that gives us a lot of hope, yeah. Congratulations for having such an amazing HeadRightOut Moment. Well, we’re coming to the end. Is there anything that I’ve not mentioned that you would like to talk about?

Cherry Hamrick  32:56

Not that I can think of, but I do appreciate people like you so much, that I wish you had been around when I was younger. That you know, encourage women to do things, and do things on their own and try things. I think wome… I hope the next generation is better about that. But I think women need to be more independent and just try stuff.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  33:18

Yeah, and it’s trying stuff knowing that they don’t necessarily have to depend on somebody else to do it with, like just as you’ve said, you went to Antarctica on your own. You CAN do these things on your own. You are autonomous, you are a person in your own right. You are not a person that’s attached to somebody else, even if you’re married or in a relationship you… yeah… you can do these things on your own. Well, thank you very much for saying that, Cherry.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  33:41

Well, this has been an absolute pleasure. And I was so excited when you said that “Yes. I’ll come on to the podcast”, and I’ve absolutely been jumping up and down for this particular conversation that we’ve had. So is there anywhere on social media where people can follow you?

Cherry Hamrick  33:57

I’m on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I will say I don’t post a lot. But I personally don’t seem to post a lot. I do when I go on trips. But other than that it’s kind of pictures of me paddling down the river.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  34:12

Oh, because you kayak as well, don’t you?

Cherry Hamrick  34:18

Yes, yes, yes. Oh, I love kayaking. Lucky enough to live on the river though. A treat for me.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  34:25

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Would you like to tell us what those social media handles are, on Instagram and Twitter please, so people can go and follow you.

Cherry Hamrick  34:33

Sure it’s… one is Cherry. Just My name, Cherry Hamrick on Facebook. And on Instagram, it’s CHAMRICK. So nothing fancy.

https://www.instagram.com/chamrick/

https://www.facebook.com/cherry.hamrick.9

https://twitter.com/ch3727

Zoe Langley-Wathen  34:46

Brilliant. Okay, and I’ll pop that in the show notes as well so that people can link to it there. So I just like to end with one thing here that and this was something that you had written in your original bio that you sent to me. I thought this would be something wonderful to finish with. Because this is all about inspiring women to head out of their comfort zone, do something that scares them every day, or do something that they didn’t think that they were originally capable of.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  35:12

Once you had been to Antarctica, apparently you were giving a presentation. And you had said in this presentation about how you didn’t think you were able to go because you’re a little bit shy, but now that you’ve made lifelong friends. And a woman came to you, after the presentation, and said, how you had inspired her to start travelling again, because she thought she was done travelling when her husband died. I think just knowing that you have inspired somebody there and hopefully, when people listen to this, a whole HEAP of other women just makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Cherry Hamrick  35:53

Yes, that was that was wonderful to me. I just couldn’t have asked for anything better. The other comment I got about Antarctica was thank you for going so I don’t have to.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  36:05

Oh really, so they were living through your adventures, they were living vicariously.

Cherry Hamrick  36:13

Yes, a lot of people do NOT want to go to Antarctica.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  36:18

Well, Cherry, thank you so much. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom, all your wonderful tales. And I’m sure we’ll catch up with you again at some point. But thank you very much.

Cherry Hamrick  36:29

Thank you so much. This has been fun reliving all of that.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  36:32

Brilliant. Thank you.

Cherry Hamrick  36:34

Yes, thank you.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  36:44

Well, that was such amazing advice from Cherry. With her daily walking since us recording back a few weeks ago, she’s now at 567 days of walking every single day consecutively, no gaps, of at least one mile a day. But I think it’s averaging out at about four miles a day. They have covered over two thousand miles. It’s just incredible! She has such a strong history of resilience. And I still can’t believe that she is actually seventy-three years old. In fact, I have an apology to make to Cherry, because I know in last week’s episode, when I was introducing the next week’s episode, I said she was seventy-four! So Cherry, I am SO sorry for that.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  37:35

But I so want to bottle her energy and positivity to save for a ‘down day’. You know, we all need that sometimes, or even better, just listen to this episode again, to get that fix of ‘Cherry determination’, and ‘Cherry resolve’ and ‘Cherry adventure mindset’. It’s just amazing. As she said, everything she does IS an adventure and what a sensible way to treat every single day of your life.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  38:05

I actually asked Cherry after the recording, what’s next for her? And her reply was that she’d loved to go and see the narwhals but she realises it’s such an expense, and there’s only one or two places you can go for that experience. I think that’s Greenland or Canada. So she says that might have to be a long-term goal. Instead, it might be a trip to Iceland, and I can really see that she is just drawn to cold places. And no wonder her hero was Scott. But I just love Cherry’s message about not wanting to live in fear and how her can-do attitude just must rub off on those that she talks to and all those people who surround her. But yes, a true inspiration.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  38:51

Now I had a great message today. Today’s 3rd October 2021, and I had a message this morning from Donna, who is a Kiwi, living in Australia, and we’ve had a few communications in the past. She was one of my wonderful people that stayed up late, or got up really early to watch my Royal Geographical Society Microlecture, back in March, which was live.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  39:18

Donna has sent in this week’s HeadRightOut Moment for us to share and celebrate. So I am going to read it pretty much as Donna wrote it to me because you really need to hear this:

Zoe Langley-Wathen  39:31

A real HeadRightOut Moment. My then eight-year old had been doing judo and when she got her yellow belt, she was allowed to go in the inter-club competitions, and I did the typical parent line of encouraging her to have a go, try your best and, just have fun. Given I was at the club with her three times a week and my inner ten-year old was itching to have a go at jumping on crash mats etc. I started. I got my yellow belt and the first thing my daughter said was that now I could compete at next weekend’s inter-club competition, with a huge, expectant look on her face. If I had said no, I would have been the biggest hypocrite out there, but it certainly wasn’t my intention to compete. And to top it off, I was up against a young lass who was seriously good. A brown belt. And two weeks later, she won a gold at the national champs! It was a serious adrenaline rush, and it started something.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  40:29

Now I’m just going to interrupt here there is an amazing photograph of Donna in mid-action, and I’m going to post this in the show notes. She goes on to say my last competition and my first international one was in 2014, the Bali Open. I managed to get a silver medal and was probably the oldest competitor at aged forty-five. She says judo gave me the confidence to go do the Camino. So in 2015 I walked the VDLP, which is the Via de la Plata. I’m not doing Judo at the moment, although her message reads, my old coach harasses me every other week. She’s got distracted by walking, and she needs to get fitter, she says so she doesn’t get injured. And every time I think I might go, it’s a damn lockdown. I do love the sport though, and I binged on the Olympic coverage.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  41:25

So do go to the show notes and have a look at the amazing photograph of Donna doing one of her moves. It’s definitely mid-action. If you want to go have a look at some of the other things that Donna posts, her Instagram handle is Missy Wombat. M.I.S.S.Y Wombat. Missy Wombat. I will pop that link in the show notes as well, so you can all go and have a look and she posts some beautiful nature photographs and wildlife photographs from around Australia. I think she lives up in the Northern Territory. So yes, do go and check out Donna, Missy Wombat.

Donna @MissyWombat

Zoe Langley-Wathen  42:04

Okay, so next week we have the incredible Jo Moseley who funnily enough Sarah Williams mentioned in Episode Three, and I was quietly smiling to myself because I knew that Jo was going to be coming on because I’d already done the interview. Now Jo is a midlife joy encourager, she’s a litter picker, and a long distance stand up paddleboarder. So we’ve already had Helen Jenkins, who is a stand up paddleboard instructor. Jo – yes, she fits into the bracket of long distance stand up paddleboarding. And she also hosts her own podcast too. It’s so full of positivity. So you really do need to come back next week and listen to that.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  42:51

Now other little bits and bobs of news that I need to share with you today. So I was in the Simply supplement magazine by Woman&Home just recently, and unfortunately, although I knew it was coming out at the beginning of September, when I went to find it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I assumed I wasn’t in it. I messaged the journalist. She’s only just got back to me to say it was in and it’s been and gone. So it went I think 23rd of September was when it disappeared. I have asked to see if I can get a couple of print copies off a back issue or something. It’s still exciting. I have got a PDF which I can share. So I’ll make those available on my socials and on the website as well for you to have a look at.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  43:40

Also I’ve got to say a HUGE thank you for all the follows and all the downloads. Last week HeadRightOut made it to the number 100 spot ranking in the charts in the UK and it even made number 56. It’s out of 250. It made number 56 in Spain. So everybody is helping me to grow the show. Thank you. Thank you so much for doing this. And you can actually do more still by sharing the podcast or talking to friends telling a friend about the pod. Tell them what you enjoy and yes, share it with others. Let’s get HeadRightOut to blast into view and make such an impact for the benefit of all the midlife women out there.

Zoe Langley-Wathen  44:25

Okay, right. Well, that’s all I have to say, which was actually quite a long reflection this week. But please come back next week for more encouragement to head right out of your comfort zone and into the outdoors. Keeping your head right and healthy. See you there.

Cherry Hamrick’s social links again here:

https://www.instagram.com/chamrick/

https://www.facebook.com/cherry.hamrick.9

https://twitter.com/ch3727

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