FINDRA brand ambassadors are real people who are passionate about the outdoors and Fiona Quinn is just that, so we’re very excited to have her on board as a new FINDRA brand ambassador! By way of introduction, we asked Fiona to tell us more about her journey to where she is now…
At the age of 28 I got my first adult bike on the cycle to work scheme, encouraged and literally pushed up the hills, by my then boyfriend who was a lycra-clad sportive fan. I didn’t share his love of competition but there was something compelling about the open road that I’d never experienced before.
Deciding to venture out on two wheels changed the direction I was heading more than I could have known and would, oddly, lead me to face my fear of the sea by stand up paddleboarding Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) just 3 years later.
Being outside gave me a new found confidence to come up with daring ideas and, if they hooked something in me, I’d go after them. I didn’t need anyone’s permission and I didn’t need to achieve ‘success’ based on anyone else’s definition. It was just for me, however I wanted and that was a kind of freedom I was missing in my everyday life. Mother nature doesn’t care if you’re qualified, if you’re a man or a woman, young or old, injured or an elite athlete, she’ll rain or shine on you all the same and I loved how levelling that felt.
I came to realise that the only thing stopping me from achieving my goals, both in the outdoors and in everyday life, is my belief in what’s possible. I decided in spring 2017 to walk 993 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End to explore bits of our wonderful country that I’d not been to before. Enduring acute tendonitis and trench foot along the way did nothing to put me off and, if anything, it made me realised just how tough I was. I then went back to cycle the whole route, again, having attempted and failed to cycle LEJOG the previous autumn.
By the end of 2017 I’d successfully walked and cycled the route and at that point it seemed like the normal thing to do would be to make my meanderings into a length of Britain triathlon. However, there was one slight problem; I’m scared of the sea. To avoid my fear of being in the water I thought stand up paddleboarding (SUP) the route seemed doable, so long as I didn’t fall off, and 5 months of planning ensued.
81 days after leaving Land’s End on my SUP board I reached John O’Groats, still scared of the sea but buoyed by knowing that I can indeed turn a crazy idea into reality, if only I dare to start before I’m ready and keep believing that it’s possible. In my new book, Ignore the Fear, I share this story of possibility and enthusiastically invite you to change your own view of what’s possible too.
Day to day I now work for a mapping company helping other people plan their own awesome adventures, as well as writing and speaking about my experience in the outdoors. Getting outside has made me more positive, confidence, content and given me the gumption to live life in a way that works for me. I love a good plan and an unexpected challenge and adventure continues to give me those in droves.
It’s a delight to join the FINDRA ambassador team. I was drawn to their range a couple of years ago by their lovely classic designs and sustainability ethos – my bobble hat goes everywhere with me in the winter! Plus I just love how they encourage more people to get outside. The more we enjoy and value nature the more we’ll all take small steps (and hopefully big ones!) to protect the environment. In turn, choosing sustainable products like those in FINDRA’s range, also means were starting to reduce the impact of products on our own health from things like toxic chemical use. I can’t wait to get outside and put more FINDRA products through their paces this year!