Spindrifter Series :: Ellie Ross
↠ T H E S P I N D R I F T E R S E R I E S ↠
Today we were excited to introduce you our next incredible and inspiring woman, Ellie Ross!! I met Ellie many years ago teaching windsurfing at Club Vass in Greece. Ellie is an awesome freelance journalist and travel writer, specialising in active travel & adventure. Ellie has written for so many UK newspapers, specialist publications and online outlets, including The Guardian, The Independent, London Evening Standard & Time Out, just to name a few.
Ellie has done some pretty amazing things, including freediving (with a mermaid twist), the Sup Bike Run Triathlon, a night-time ski touring race, a 24-hour mountain bike race, the Neptune Steps uphill swimming race, packrafting across New Zealand, joining Couchevel’s Ski Patrol and countless hiking, cycling, windsurfing, running and skiing adventures in so many amazing places across the globe!
What is so amazing is that Ellie always does everything with an infectious positive attitude, even after a grueling 24-hour mountain bike race, which would leave most of us in a heap on the floor, Ellie is smiling & talking about her next adventure!
Let’s jump in and ask her some questions…
↠ How did you come to be a full time adventure journalist?
With a lot of luck! I’ve always loved the outdoors – when I was little I used to go on cycling trips around the UK with my dad and brothers. We’d cram everything we needed for the week into one pannier and pedal between youth hostels, with countless adventures along the way.
These trips fuelled my passion for adventure travel and, after a few weeks’ work experience at national newspapers and gaining my journalism qualification, I somehow managed to combine this passion with writing. I started sending pitches to editors, and learnt that you have to have pretty thick skin to be in this game – there were a lots of rejections and unanswered emails. Getting that first commission was an amazing feeling – I’m so fortunate to be able to do a job I love.
↠ What’s your big vision // dream for the next few years?
I don’t normally plan that far ahead (which might not be such a good thing!) and take each day as it comes. The plan is to keep doing this for as long as possible, but maybe on a bigger scale…or to combine it all into a book. The dream is to do it all while living in a cottage by the sea, with adventures right on the doorstep…
↠ Tell us what typical day for you looks like?
Each day is completely different – I’ll be kayaking down the Thames one day and frantically typing up copy the next. Right now I’m on a plane to Budapest, and next week I have some shifts on the travel desks of different national newspapers. The constant change is refreshing and keeps me on my toes. If variety is the spice of life, then this job is the hottest chilli out there!
↠ When you’re not busy in your adventures, where can we find you?
Usually on a bike, board or a yoga mat. My favourite place to be is by the coast, so I try and get to Cornwall or Whitstable whenever I can.
↠ What has been your most important & defining moment so far?
Probably getting my first commission. It gave me the confidence to keep pitching ideas, and helped me believe that a career in adventure travel journalism is possible.
↠ Tell us about your personal connection to our wild and beautiful natural landscapes + what do you do to minimise your impact on them?
I’m happiest when I’m outdoors, immersing myself in our incredible landscapes, whether that’s mountain biking through Tuscan vineyards or leaping off volcanic headlands in Pembrokeshire on a coasteering expedition.
‘Green travel’ is incredibly important. We need to think about the impact of the environment when we travel so that these destinations can be maintained for the future. The great thing about adventure travel is that it’s usually eco-friendly – most of the time you are using wind power, pedal power or your own two feet to get from A to B instead of fuel.
The key thing to minimise your impact is to leave no trace – I take everything home with me after camping and try to pick up any rubbish I spot, even if it’s not mine. It’s such an easy and simple thing to do – and every little helps.
↠ What two key things have you learnt in your adventurous path which continue to push you forward?
1. The people you meet are amazing. Whether its fellow competitors, expedition leaders, coaches or homestay hosts, adventure travel will lead you to some incredible, like-minded people with similar values and inspirational stories.
2. Slow and steady wins the race. Well, maybe not ALL the time, but perseverance can outweigh speed. During my 24-hour mountain bike race, I managed to pick a few, much faster, competitors off by chugging away slowly while they took breaks. Proof that the tortoise can win against the hare!
↠ Who / what do you look to for inspiration?
There are so many female adventurers out there who are truly inspirational – from Nellie Bly who travelled around the world in 72 days in the Victorian era, to Bethany Hamilton, who didn’t let the fact that her left arm got bitten off in a shark attack stop her from being one of the world’s top surfers. When it comes to writing style, I love anything by former Times foreign correspondent Martin Fletcher – engaging, informative and often very funny.
↠ What is your favourite quote and why does it particularly resonate with you?
I like the meaning behind: “But risk we must, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing”, by Emerson. Basically, you can’t expect to achieve anything if you never take any risks.
↠ What’s next on your horizon? // What can we expect to see?
I’m just back from a train trip across Hungary, Slovenia and Italy so some articles about that should be appearing soon. Next up is Sri Lanka, a country I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and I’m super excited about getting the opportunity to go.
↠ What advice would you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Go for it! Get your ideas together and start pitching. Don’t be put off by people who tell you it isn’t possible, because it is. OK, you probably won’t earn a banker’s salary, but if it means that you get to do something you’re passionate about then that’s the best payment ever.
Thanks so much Ellie, was so great to chat to you. You can find Ellie on social media & her website