Mind of a Survivor

If you’ve seen any of those adventure and survival shows on TV, as you can imagine, there are more people than just the presenter that is needed to get the film crew there safely and back.

And then there are the programmes where celebrities are taken into the wild. These aren’t people used to the environments, and they must be guided safely over difficult terrain.

Perhaps you’ve seen Bear Grylls TV programme, Mission Survive, where he takes many celebrities to see how they cope. Well, if you have, you’ll have seen one of his crew, Megan Hine, in the left on the picture below.

Megan, Bear, and Scott

Megan, Bear, and Scott on Mission Survive in South Africa

Megan breaks the stereotype in a typically male-dominated area.  She’s often travelling to far and inhospitable places, providing her skills and knowledge to support many TV programmes, as well as on-camera support to celebrities for Bear Grylls.

Filming in Zambia

Meg Hine survival filming in Namibia

Of course, Megan is not just only doing TV work and leads and supports many other expeditions around the world.

We were lucky enough to meet up with Meg, who’s been a big inspiration to our daughters. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet up in an extreme environment, but for a walk around our local National Trust grounds, Attingham Park. 😉

Megan is a great role model for girls that love the outdoors.

We’ve asked Meg a bunch of questions to find out a little more.

Were you adventurous as a child?

Much to the disbelief of my parent health visitor, I started walking at six months old.

Before I could talk, I would refuse to be carried, and much to the frustration of my parents would insist on walking everywhere.

I think this set the tone of my life. Fiercely independent with a restless nature I struggled to conform to what society expected of me in terms of the behaviour of a little girl. I spent my childhood covered with mud and scraped knees, escaping off over the back fence to go exploring the woodland and hills behind my parent’s house.

I spent my childhood covered with mud and scraped knees, escaping off over the back fence to go exploring the woodland and hills behind my parents house.

Was your family outdoors a lot as a child? Did you travel a lot?

I am the oldest of four. When we would return home from school, we were encouraged to go and play outside.

we were encouraged to go and play outside

We grew up on the Malvern Hills and every weekend would see us out as a family playing on the hills.

All our family holidays were away in a caravan we’d tow behind us to Scotland, Wales and the Lake District to go and walk up mountains.

I didn’t have the opportunity to travel overseas with my family growing up which I think is one of the reasons I was so keen to explore the world for myself as soon as possible.

All our family holidays were away in a caravan we’d tow behind us to Scotland, Wales and the Lake District to go and walk up mountains.

Had you always known you would end up doing the sort of work you are doing or did you ‘fall into it’?

I had no idea my line of work existed.

My parents had worked incredibly hard to forge academic careers. It was assumed I would follow suit.

As much as I tried to focus at school, I felt trapped; within the four walls of a classroom, within the imaginary boundaries of a sports pitch.

It was through discovering mountain biking by chance, the times in the mountains with my family and adventurous training with the military cadets that I discovered what made me feel truly alive. Pushing my mental and physical limits. I actively sought out these experiences which then evolved into a career.

Climbing up a rock face in the Alps

Meg climbing in the Alps

What’s the scariest moment you’ve had on one of your adventures?

I’ve been caught in the crossfire of warring tribes, been chased by armed opium farmers, been hunted by a drug cartel, experienced large animal encounters and so much more.

The way I deal with scary moments is to separate out emotions in my head.

I have to deal with the situation at hand to either keep myself or myself and my team safe so I developed coping mechanisms a long time ago which immediately pushes emotions aside so I can focus.

This means I don’t really remember scary moments with much emotion.

I’ve been caught in the crossfire of warring tribes, been chased by armed opium farmers, been hunted by a drug cartel, experienced large animal encounters and so much more.

The nature of what I do means I will at times be exposed to these situations.

The scariest time I remember with clarity was contracting Lyme disease in the UK. I had this for just under a year and I found it hard to stop training even when I had facial paralysis. It wasn’t’ until my Dr. told me it would kill me if I didn’t stop that I found the strength to stop and let my body fight.

The scariest time I remember with clarity was contracting Lyme disease in the UK

Out of all the places you’ve visited, do you have a favourite?

I have had the fortune to travel to some of the most awe-inspiring places and have at times been allowed access to areas that Westerners have never been before.

It’s actually the people who I am with who can make a place for me. If I am with a group of incredible and positive people, the roughest places can be fun. If I have a difficult client or employer the most beautiful of places do not have the same light.

Although I love jungles and deserts, for me, my favourite environment will always be cold and mountainous.

my favourite environment will always be cold and mountainous

artic circle camping and dogs sled

Megan Hine on a supply run in the Arctic Circle

Where’s your favourite place in Britain to escape and recharge your batteries?

I have two places; the first is my home.

My partner Stani and I rent a place on the coast in North Wales where my mother’s family are from. It is peaceful, and we are right next to the sea and mountains.

The longest I was there last year was four days in a row.

It is nice to come home, switch off and sort our admin.

The other place that I have been careful to keep as a place to recharge is my van.

I have spent long periods of my life living in various vans and love the flexibility this gives when on the road.

I am away for so much of the year internationally on pretty high-stress jobs it is very important to me to have spaces in my life that I can just switch off for a few days.

Do you have a favourite walk in Britain you would like to share with us?

Although in my free time I will go out in Snowdonia and climb and run, I grew up on the Malvern Hills, and this still holds a special place in my heart.

There is something very magical about the hills.

Walking the length of the ridge or exploring the woods along the sides. They are perfect for family outings, aspiring adventurers and anyone wanting beautiful views steeped in history and nature.

They are perfect for family outings, aspiring adventurers and anyone wanting beautiful views steeped in history and nature.

Who inspires you to get outside and continue with your adventures?

This is always a tough question to answer.

My motivation for being outside comes from within. I couldn’t do what I do if I needed external motivation.

The people who inspire me to keep leading others outside are my clients. Sharing the trip of a lifetime with someone and helping them conquer their goals is the most incredible and humbling experience.

You’re a Scout ambassador. What does your role involve? How important is the Scout movement in getting kids outside?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that the Scouts are about so much more than getting outside.

the Scouts are about so much more than getting outside

They understand that as an organisation they must evolve as the way our young people think and interact with each other and the world around them evolves.

They focus on equipping young people with the skills for life.

In a nutshell, through the experiences a scout has open to them they can build resilience and confidence to face life head-on.

My role is to support and help spread the positive message of scouting and also to be a role model. I believe it is important for young people to have a diverse range of role models who can show that it is ok to be you and to embrace the quirks that make you yourself rather than being ashamed of these.

Warming by the campfire in a forest

Survival in Romania

Finally, what message do you have for parents to help them grow confident, adventurous kids?

I do not have my own children, but I have led a lot of month-long overseas expeditions with teenagers and have worked extensively in the outdoors with children of all ages.

For a child to grow in confidence, they have to be allowed to make mistakes within a safety net.

allowed to make mistakes within a safety net

They need to be given responsibility to learn to take ownership of their decisions.

They need to be supported but not smothered, encouraged to question and explore their environment.

This can take a lot of confidence on behalf of the parent. This is why the outdoors can be so beneficial for all of us.

Being outside can provide a space away from the constraints of everyday life where we can be creative and in which we can enjoy life on our own terms. Whether exploring our own limits or the environment around us the outdoors is without question beneficial for our own mental health as well as providing the opportunity to bond with your children.

Being outside can provide a space away from the constraints of everyday life

Meg cutting a tree on a steep slope in the jungle

Jungle survival


If you want to know and be inspired more by Meg, pick up her book, “Mind of a Survivor”

 

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Shell Grayston
Mum to three kids and loves getting out and about with them. Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy getting out and about with their kids. You can often find Shell on Twitter @GetOutKids.
Shell Grayston

@GetOutKids

Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, OS #GetOutSide champions 2017 & 2018 #DofE brand ambassador @Craghoppers Partnership @campandcarvan @_elddis_
@KarIngham Thank you, came close to giving up but wanted that medal! - 7 hours ago
Shell Grayston
Shell Grayston

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Mum to three kids and loves getting out and about with them. Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy getting out and about with their kids. You can often find Shell on Twitter @GetOutKids.

14 Comments
  1. I don’t know when it started but as far as I remember, I grow up as a adventurer. I really like to explore until now and will ever be. I think it has something to do with influence. So to parents out there, it’s up to you how you expose your kids so they can grow independent and a great explorer in the world.

  2. My favourite place is Saltburn beach – I love going in the sea surfing – it makes me feel alive!

  3. I love going to the beach! Walking on the cliffs, looking out to sea, feel the fresh sea air, listen to the waves and going in the sea makes me feel alive!

  4. My favourite place is Baeprmouth in wales sun sea sand and mountains what more could you want!

  5. My favourite outdoor place is being in woodland. I love walking through woods there are lots of many different smells and atmospheric experiences. The climate can change with different trees and dencity. May is very pretty when the bluebells carpet the clearings.

  6. My favourite outdoor place is Martinshaw Wood, a beautiful area of mixed woodland on an Ancient site close to where I live. I walk my dogs in it, and have run Forest School sessions there as well. It has inspired my love of wooded places as well as my developing interest in Bushcraft.

  7. Whitchurch meadows

  8. my favourite outdoor place is anywhere in woodland , the smells the wildlife the peace and seclusion i couldnt be happier
    spent most of my childhood like this and cant wait for the grandkids to get a bit older so they can experience this too

  9. the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Miles of sandy beaches, blue water, lush vegetation and fascinating historic wooden buildings. A fabulous place to walk and walk and walk.

  10. Stowe Gardens , always soemthing new to discover each time we go there.

  11. My favourite outdoor place is Ynys Llanddwyn in Anglesey. There is something special, almost magical, about that place.

  12. My favourite outdoor place is the lake district, such beautiful scenery and so much to do!

  13. My favourite outdoor place is the lake district, especially lake Windermere. Such beautiful scenery, I love being on the lake in a boat or walking in the countryside nearby.

  14. My favourite outdoor place is the Long Mynd here in Shropshire. It’s the hills in my own backyard and has a lot of memories and somewhere we have always taken the kids.

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