Writer & Presenter Caroline Pemberton

Photo Credit: Tim Thatcher

Photo Credit: Tim Thatcher

Caroline Pemberton is a writer and presenter for shows such as Australian Geographic Adventure, The Off Road Adventure Show and Channel 9's Getaway. When she's not working in television you'll likely find her surfing, rock climbing, diving, skiing or paragliding. She's a hugely inspiring advocate for all things adventure and is also widely involved with a variety of humanitarian and charitable organisations. We caught up with Caroline to get her advice on living the dream outdoor lifestyle and some of her favourite hot spots...

Have you always been an outdoors person since a child? What’s the first outdoor sport you tried? 

I was fortunate enough to have adventurous parents so it’s very much part of our genetic makeup. My dad would tie ropes around our tiny waists and have us ‘abseiling’ over boulders in the backyard, (they felt huge but were probably only thigh high!) We would always be out somewhere, whether it was sailing or bush walking. My dad is great at motivating the family and getting us up and out and he instilled that love of the outdoors in us from a young age. My mum made sure we travelled and saw the world in the most humble way. She taught us to be grateful and conscious adventurers. Being kids, we were generally filthy and into everything and anything so long as it was outside. I was always trying to keep up with my two elder brothers, and still am to this very day!
Photo Credit: James Mills

Photo Credit: James Mills

 You have so many incredible interests, how do you find the time to keep up with them, and any advice to women who’d like get out more?

I like to think of myself as a jack of many trades and a master of none, and I mean none, but I am happy with that.

Of course, I’d love to be a better surfer, a better skier, be fitter, be stronger, be faster, be the best at any one thing but I’m also recently finding that I am just grateful to try new things and have new experiences. I have found happiness and much more self acceptance just tagging along behind the very patient people who are better than me and enjoying the learning process. I may look like a goose and be the slowest in the team but I’d rather be that, than not even try. This year that attitude has seen me get my cave diving license and learn backcountry skiing. It is also that same curiosity that got me into paragliding. I think you have to be prepared to look a little silly and be a little slow. It’s just part of the endless learning curves.

In terms of finding time, that comes down to my definition of what success means to me. Success to me is having the time to do the things I love. I often sacrifice other things, like money, security and luxurious travel to create that. I work really hard and don’t measure my career in dollars, but rather in experiences and happiness. If the job gives me freedom to go for a surf everyday because that is where I am my happiest, I’ll take it. If it means I have to work for months straight with no daylight hours to get outside and enjoy my life, I decline regardless of the money on offer. If I have to dig deep and slave away with zero pay but get to partake in incredible lifestyle of adventure, I say a hearty yes.

I don’t live my life doing things I hate on the chance I will be able to buy myself the time to do the things I love later. I think that is a little crazy. I just work out a way to make the things I love part of my everyday life and I have successfully been able to build my career around those passions.
My favourite quote sums this up:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his lesuire, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, he hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he is doing and allows others to decide whether he is working or playing. To himself, he is always doing both”

Today, I can happily say I live my passion. Somehow by following my dreams relentless, tirelessly, it has worked out, yes there have been many instances when it wasn’t easy and I was completely broke, and wondered what the hell I was doing, how could I pay my bills by ‘travelling’ and ‘adventuring’, that isn’t a ‘real’ career, but opportunities opened up and at least my soul was singing.
Photo Credit: SheSurfs Mikala Wilbow

Photo Credit: SheSurfs Mikala Wilbow

You have accomplished so many amazing adventures in the last few years, which one is the most memorable one to you?

This is a tricky question, there have been so many, and all memorable for different reasons.
Off the top of my head, paddling into Frigates in Fiji and surfing the best wave of my life and falling off because I “over frothed” with excitement, tearing down powder slopes in the States with my brother after earning my turns (I have just taken up backcountry skiing which I love) and achieving a world first paddling descent in packrafts on a river in Nepal. It’s been a big year.
Photo Credit: Tom McShane

Photo Credit: Tom McShane

You are an advocate for positive body image and a role model for women. Have you faced any issues just for being a woman in adventure, and if so, how did you overcome it?

Insecurity will always follow you in some form. As soon as you resolve one insecurity, another breeds. It’s a relative journey.

Sometimes because I’m not an elite athlete who has skied to the South Pole and climbed Mt. Everest and been an Olympian I feel like a fraud. I wonder why people would see me as a ‘role model’ at all if I haven’t stood on all the world’s hardest, highest, coldest and toughest summits, or how I can work on television and not be as glamorous as the other presenters with those perfect six packs!

I’m never going to be a picture perfect presenter or an elite athlete, but then I realised there is in fact something incredibly extraordinary in being ordinary and that a happy life lived your own way, in full self acceptance is enough. We all have to find more self love.

Instead of being defeated, depressed or jealous when you feel like you don’t measure up, be it physically, financially, in adventure or at work allow it to be a source of motivation, a road map that you can work on to become a bigger, better person. Persevere at being compassionate and accepting towards yourself.

In terms of adventure, I see a landscape of thousands of chicks charging and an industry rapidly changing to support them. I know hundreds of inspiring female stories. Stories like the ones you guys are sharing and promoting.

Sure, there may be a bit of sexism here and there but I also see women changing the status quo. Personally I just go & do whatever it is I want to do at the pace at which I am comfortable. I have no need to prove I am better/worse that the boys. I am happy to just be different. If I don’t like something, I ask questions and work at ways to change it. I’ve never come across any real barriers to females in adventure and if I did, I’d just calmly walk over them, smile over my shoulder and move on! For the most part, I think the guys actually love it when we are just as an enthusiastic and get amongst it alongside them.
Photo Credit: Tom McShane

Photo Credit: Tom McShane

What’s the one place you would recommend to travel to here in Australia

The Grampians in Victoria. It’s vast, beautiful, ancient, wild and raw. It delivers everything an adventurer could want and doesn’t pull punches when the weather turns so be prepared and take it seriously. There’s world class hiking being unveiled, beautiful camp spots, awesome rock climbing and bouldering and so much more. It’s also a destination you can enjoy year-round.

You have done a lot of humanitarian work over the years, what can we do or what should we do more of, to help the effected area’s you visited here in Australia?

I have done huge amounts of humanitarian work around the world over the past decade and it’s been incredibly rewarding but I’ve really loved the work I do in my own backyard. We don’t think of Australia as necessarily somewhere our ‘charitable’ help is needed but you’d be surprised.

My favourite not for profit is called the Sir David Martin Foundation who help Youth in Crisis get their lives back on track and break a cycle of destruction. The foundation are also very creative with their fundraising events like their annual Abseil for Youth where you can make a difference by having an epic, once in a lifetime adventure. Rappelling 33 storeys off a skyscraper sound good?

You can out more information here check them out here

(Feature photo by Tim Thatcher)