Emily Chappell’s advice (part one)

Last week I met up with Emily, who was up in Edinburgh to present her newly published book ‘What Goes Around’. The book is an account of her time in the saddle, working as a bike courier in London’s streets.

Emily has been on many solo cycling adventures all over the world, so she had loads of advice for me. Talking to Emily was not only amazingly helpful, but also reassuring and inspiring because she was the first solo female adventure cyclist I’ve ever met.


Emily Chappell (photo nicked from her blog)

Here are her first five pieces of advice, more in the next post…

1. Her main piece of advice was to trust my instincts. If I don’t feel comfortable in a situation, I should get out of it, rather than worry about being polite and or feeling awkward.

2. If I need help during my trip, I’ll probably be able to find someone who can help me. People like helping others, especially in sparsely populated regions in the world.

3. Don’t feel bad when people help you. I know that people will help me on my trip and I was worried that I might feel bad for not giving them anything in return. Her advice was that I should not feel bad because people will receive my gratitude in return, get to hear about my story, and the act of helping someone can also make them feel good, too.

4. I asked Emily whether she ever pretend to have a husband, a strategy I found helpful when traveling in Africa. On her recent cycling trips, Emily didn’t feel the need to lie about her marital status, and thinks it just comes down to the situation. If a man makes advances on her, she usually just gets other people around her involved to help protect her.

5. Emily also mentioned that she had experienced foot swelling issues and bruised toes, similar to those that I had in Spain over Christmas. Her advice was to get the most comfortable and adjustable shoes possible.

Thanks Emily for chatting to me! It’s always great to get advice from people in the know!

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