Throughout my life I have always been seeking adventure, discovering new places, creating my own path and pushing my mental and physical limits.
When I grew up I must have watched too many James Bond movies because I wanted to become a CIA agent. I was so serious about it that I moved to the USA with a Volleyball scholarship and pursued a Bachelor focusing on nuclear weapons in North Korea. To be as close to my dream job as possible, I was able to get into the world’s top program in International Security at Georgetown University. After I had to decline this prestigious offer twice due to lack of funding I was offered a full scholarship. This experience has given me a very important lesson in life. Never give up on a dream, even though it seems impossible. Persistence and self-belief are powerful assets to defy the odds.
My first job was working with diplomats and former presidents at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Although I never made it into the Secret Service, I found my adventure fix through adventure racing wading through Floridan swamps at 2am or getting lost in the Virginian Appalachian Mountains. I loved the camaraderie while pushing mental and physical limits and experiencing crazy adventures.
One day I was given a road bike and within a year, I raced alongside the world’s best cyclists. But always curious of the “why”, I pursued a second Masters in Sport Science to learn about the capacity of the mind in pushing physical limits. My plans to deepen the topic through a PhD in New Zealand became a field trip when I decided to exchange the class room for discovering the country by bike instead.
Uncertain how I could turn my passion into a job, I turned to the corporate world, applying for a position as management consultant. Despite any previous qualification I was selected out of 1000 applicants for this position. Once again, I was shown that anything can be possible.
With this experience combined with my inner fire for adventure I decided to trade the security and predictability of a ‘normal job’ for pursuing my passion for adventure cycling. That meant to create my own path.
I quit my job and moved with half of my bags to a place where I didn’t know anyone, never been before and didn’t speak the language. Only a hotel night stay and a 6-week rental car was as far as I planned.
A new chapter began.
The move was bold, the chance of failure high, not knowing what happens the next day scary.
But day after day more opportunities opened up for me, my energy and motivation for life skyrocketed and the ideas of possibilities in my head were unstoppable. My work has become incredibly rewarding. Monday has become my favorite day.
Not only the actual change of my life but the actual work as adventure cyclists has taught me how hard work, motivation, dedication, self-belief and a support network are key to push beyond my perceived physical and mental limits.
As an adventure cyclist, I have raced as only woman the tough 2650km Haute Route Triple crown – a very tough cycling challenge that only few dare to do. I successfully completed the 330km Tour du Mont Blanc in 15 hours the day after I thought I would not even start. And I finished the 500 km Trans Iowa gravel race as third overall position in 30 hours with my body having told me to stop for half of the race.
This experience – to be able to achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it – has become my mission, igniting the inner fire in others to create their own paths, to go for their adventure and to dare to do it.
I feel honored to to share my experience through speeches, workshops, coaching and corporate events to enable others to #liveRAD.