By Rebecca Hill

Thursday 9th March 2017

Session 10.00am : Mountain Movers and Record Breakers: Inspirational Adventurers

Julie Lewis, Maria Conceicao, Jalal Jamal bin Thaneya

The 10.00am Thursday slot has become a fixture in the Festival for anyone seeking an adrenaline fix or inspiration for what to do next in life and this year’s session certainly didn’t disappoint.

Having read something about Maria’s epic adventures to raise funds for the Maria Christina Foundation in Bangladesh I was particularly inspired by her compulsion to take on a new challenge when she had no experience such as walking to the North Pole, climbing Everest or swimming the English Channel. Her unshakeable commitment to the 600 children cared for by the Foundation is remarkable.

In Jalal’s case it was raising awareness for special needs children in the UAE that prompted his first physical challenge of walking across all seven Emirates while at university. This was followed by other epic journeys like walking from Abu Dhabi to Mecca and cycling the GCC. The number of Emiratis in the audience was testament to how much recognition he has gained from his peer group.

The third panel member, Julie Lewis, is no stranger to the Festival and climbing mountains is her business. As a coach and adventurer Julie talked us through the psychological challenges of undertaking such physical adventures and ways to circumvent the inner voices that dog our decision making when tackling difficult moments.