(By Cally Brooks)
A teacher quit her job to travel the world and have a new adventure every day for a whole year
Jen George, 27, decided she needed to make a change when she was going to and from work in the dark. As an outdoors lover, Jen was desperate to get outside and make the most of the daylight.
Jen, who is originally from Exeter in the UK, quit her job in December of 2018 and made a promise to herself that she would make the most of 2019 and have a new adventure every single day for 365 days.
In January 2019, Jen made an Instagram page to document her journey, which amassed over 1 000 followers. For 365 days, Jen would travel to seven different countries, cycle over 1 600 km, ski in spectacular scenery and meet people from all over the world.
Jen said: “I was spending a lot of time going to work and coming back from work in the dark. I just wanted to be outside. Encouraging people to get outside is my passion.
“The most difficult part was living out of my car for the year. I was travelling so much that I never had the chance to settle somewhere.
“I’ve travelled to France, Iceland, Croatia, India, Nepal and more. I actually met someone in Covent Garden while at the pub and we went for a quick drink and somehow I ended up in Iceland.
“I went to the pub on my break for a quick drink and ended up chatting to this man who was by himself. We got on really well and I felt like I had known him for a long time. The next thing I knew, we were in a taxi on our way to the airport but he had work commitments so he couldn’t come with me. I bought the plane ticket and ended up in Iceland.”
Not every day was a big adventure for Jen
Everyone needs bit of downtime and on day 142, she decided to sit by the River Thames and eat a picnic while reading a book.
“I was exhausted by the end of it but in the nicest possible way. The places I had been, the people I had met, the experiences I had… it’s just fantastic. My world has completely changed.”
Jen’s favourite memory was cycling with her father through the Isle of Harris in Scotland
“I’m extremely lucky that my family will either encourage me and support me or they always want to come with me!”
Jen loved her job as a Science teacher but knew it was time for a change when she was fed up with seeing the same four walls every day.
She began 2019 by abseiling down a cliff in Cornwall, hiking in the Lake District and kayaking along the River Thames. Jen documented her adventure on Instagram, posting every single day for 365 days.
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Day 20: Porth Mere and Porthcothan Adventures with Dad today down on the beach today. Chicken sandwich picnic and hot chocolate in a flask. Parents rock 😊 #cornwall #porthcothan #porthmere #hotchocolate #chickensandwich #adventureiscoming #365daysofadventure2019 #365daysofadventure #youngminds #mentalhealth #getoutside #getoutsidemore #adventures #adventureseeker #outdooradventurephotos #adventureawaits #thisismyadventure #nowispossible #adventurequeens #teacher #teachersofinstagram #addictedtoadventure #findyourdirt #nevergiveup #yesisadoingword #sayyestribe #makeithappen #wildtime #sayyesmore #getoutside365
Funding through freelancing
To fund her adventures, Jen continued teaching by freelancing in various places throughout the year. She worked for both World Challenge and The Duke of Edinburgh programmes, which encourage students to get outside and give back to the community.
Jen was also given the opportunity to become a ‘SayYesMore‘ ambassador which encourages people to take risks and step out of their comfort zone more.
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Day 155: Oxfordshire BACK WITH MY #PartnerInCrime🤩. Floating around in the #Thames today was a great opportunity to catch up with #BigSister after three months of being apart. The #banana #kayak was out in full force after a hasty repair job this morning that involved us trying desperately not to asphyxiate ourselves with repair glue in the flat and then trying to get it to stick by balancing copies of #jamies15minutemeals and #hairybikersmediterraneanadventure on top of the patch! Spotted today •#Kingfisher •Two #Herons •ALL the #ducklings 🦆 •ZERO litter. YUP, you heard the that right… ZERO litter. Not a single piece. Today is #worldenvironmentday and inspired by @cal_major and @paddleagainstplastic , I figured that if we were heading out anyway then we could join in the #river clean efforts across the country and do our bit for a patch of #british waterway. But in two hours worth of #paddling, I didn’t see a single piece of #singleuseplastic or any other #litter. Although this may not represent the overall picture, I’m still going to take it as a win for #nature today if a 6km stretch of one of our most famous rivers is being cared for the way it should be 🙃🌳 If you get a chance, get involved with the #30dayswild challenge this month and spend a bit of time doing your bit for our #countryside whilst enjoying the #freshair 🌳🏔⛺️🌋🏜🌅🚴♀️🚣🏼♀️🏊♀️⛷ theyestribe #sayyesmore #goniceplacesdogoodthings
Jen said, “I encourage everyone to get outside more. Integrate it into you day. Get up half an hour earlier, cycle to work, make it a routine and you will start doing it more”.
For 2020, Jen is setting herself the same challenge but she is taking a step back from social media.
“2019 really showed me the positive side to social media but this year I want to do it on the down-low. Social media is great but it’s also exhausting when you have to find something new to post every single day”.
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Day 171: Sevenoaks, Kent Unload, load, unload, reload. Unload, load, kit explosion, reload. 💥 Outdoor #RealityCheck 2: Kit Faff. When you have less than twelve hours between jobs, kit turn-arounds have to be quite slick and efficient. With bags and mugs and boots and towels and sporks and stoves and socks and lighters. With stacks of receipts and washing up brushes and trainers that have been caked in mud for at least three days. Multiple toothbrushes occupy every cup holder but there isn’t a tube of toothpaste in sight. I haven’t seen my portable charger block cable for at least a month either. Luckily it was dry tonight for tonight’s performance, but it’s even worse trying to re-set your belongings when it’s chucking it down with rain. That said, my @wildcountry_official tent is wet. Not because of the current weather, but because I have had nowhere to dry it for the last three days. It will still be soggy when I get into it and I’ll smell like a wet dog by the morning and the moisture will make my skin stick to my @mountainequipment sleeping bag which is my least favourite sensation in the world. Every time I roll over, it will get more and more stuck until I wake at 3am in a tangled mess of Jen and sleeping bag. Meanwhile, I enjoyed sharing a non-gin gin, otherwise known as lemonade with @kristyhinson. Man we know how to party. Our entire social life revolves around campsites near where we are working the next morning! 😂 (Oh, and I just assumed that everything this far East of #Reading was #London. Turns out that #Kent is a real place too! 🤩) @theyestribe #sayyesmore
Jen’s Top 20 adventures:
- Cycling the Hebridean Way in Scotland with her father
- Travelling to Nepal with her ‘World Challenge’ group
- Abseiling down Carn Burra cliff in Cornwall
- Kayaking along the River Thames
- Skiing in Les Tours
- Abseilling in Pembrokeshire
- Exploring Croatia
- Camping in the New Forest with the Duke of Edinburgh team
- Cycling in Dartmoor
- Swimming in the River Thames
- Kayaking along the River Dart in Exeter
- Paddle boarding in the Peak District
- Hiking in Iceland
- Cycling in Oxford
- Taking her ‘World Challenge’ students to Ennerdale in Cumbria
- Teaching her students to cook on a stove and put up a tent
- Quad-biking in Shaftesbury
- Camping in Dartmoor
- Walking with her family in Castle An Dinas
- Becoming a ‘SayYes’ ambassador