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Swimming 1000 miles down the Lower Missouri River

Em is a great friend of Esc and is about to embark upon an exciting new adventure with Dave Cornthwaite. She’s an adventure nut who was born during an earthquake in Chile. She’s traveled every spare second she can after quitting headhunting and set out to become the female version of Bear Grylls. Now she writes, mainly about food, for a luxury magazine, Pomp Magazine, in London.

Em, tell us about yourself.

[You can read Em’s Hero profile here]

I’ve worked every holiday since I was 16. After university I tried financial headhunting. It was not for me. Quit everything to go into television presenting. Spent three years working on cracking projects, lived in Cape Town, went on a gameshow, worked on a McFly documentary. Then started writing on my own website and landed a super dooper job writing for Pomp magazine.

My whole life I have travelled every second I can. Starting as a baby on my mums back as she skied in Chile; I’ve climbed mountains in Borneo and Nepal, been to yoga courses in Malaysia and India, road tripped around cape town, gone down a river in Laos, climbed a volcano in Mexico, rode camels in Jaiselmere, been evacuated from islands off Belize. The list goes on. I am an adventure nut and want to spend every day doing it…

This latest adventure. What’s the deal?

Dave Cornthwaite has set out to do 25 1,000 mile expeditions on non motorised transport all part of expedition 1000 in honour of CoppaFeel breast cancer charity. Having skate boarded across Australia and stand up paddle boarded the Mississippi River, he is about to embark on his eighth. He is set to swim 1000 miles down the Missouri River, with a support team of 6 who will be stand up paddle boarding the same distance.

We will be camping alongside the river and carrying all our provisions with us. We will be out in the wilderness for 7-9 days a lot of the time but will keep you all posted as much as possible. This is all in honour of CoppaFeel and we are setting out to make some big booby filled waves. Any pennies you can spare would be more than great: www.justgiving.com/swim1000

Had you been looking for such an experience or did it find you?

I’m always looking. I mean always looking. Looking at adventures. Looking at countries to live in. But this found me. I was extremely hung-over at work on one of the busiest days where we have to arrange distribution of 75,000 copies of the new issue. Dave Cornthwaite, who I had never met (we had been cyber friends for a while!?) was helping load magazines into my office as research for a new book on doing odd jobs.

The blogger on his eighth expedition had dropped out and he was hunting for a replacement. I applied for the position, got accepted, moved out of my flat, asked for a two months sabbatical and booked my flight all in 24 hours.

Have you ever done anything like this before?

I’ve been on lots of hikes, climbs and adventures but I’ve never done anything like this. This is a huge distance. On water. Carrying your own provisions. For two months. On a mode of transport I’ve tried for 45 minutes. Dave hasn’t done anything swimming-based and so this is HUGE. We can see the start line from here, with our paddleboards alongside it. We are pretty psyched.

What sort of preparation and training have you been doing?

For two months I was eating well, doing boot camp three times a week, running most days and I was feeling ready. Then the final month arrived and I went on holiday and turned into a piece of cheese or a croissant. Your choice. Then the closer it got, the more I realised I was going to be rationed so I have been eating the world. At least my years of paddle boarding will help!?

Do you have any idea what your life is going be like whilst on the adventure?

It’s going to have as much routine as possible. Early starts. Barely any washing. Strict eating and drinking. 20 miles a day for 55 days. In arranged formations to protect Dave from all things possible. Fundraising and blogging where we can. It’s going to be intense. With a tight group of us. Pushing to make it and helping ginger Dave make it. We are excited but it’s going to be a long way from a normal day in the office. In a very good way.

How can people support you?

Firstly, donating via www.justgiving.com/swim1000 and secondly by helping to spread all things boobie shaped. Keep telling everyone to check their boobs for signs of cancer. So many people don’t do it and need too. Check out the CoppaFeel website if you have any questions or aren’t quite sure how to grope yourself properly. It could save your life.

Is this going to be the start of many such adventures?

Definitely definitely definitely. I want to do something in the South Pole and also something across South America. I just haven’t chosen the mode of transport. Something odd I’m sure. Crossing an ocean is also on my list.

Please follow us @swim1000 @missemkbell @davecorn and check out everything on Dave’s Expedition 1000 website. And spread the word about boobs…