Joanne & Damian do Raleigh

Exploring life from a different perspective


Inspiration and Motivation

For me, it is a week today till I step on the plane at Heathrow and step off at San Jose, Costa Rica. A simple journey that marks the start of what I believe will be an amazing journey. This is such an opportunity for Damian and I to do this as a couple and as individuals and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to take this on. Our various assessment and training weekends with Raleigh have made me realise that, unlike others, I have had a huge amount of support and love that have led me to this point in my life that I could achieve this opportunity. I don’t ever underestimate the inspiration and motivation that surrounds me and thought I would send a virtual hug to these people as they go about their day.

My Family

My dad unknowingly gave me my strongest belief that life is too short and my mum is my highest role model, in everything from appreciating what you have, to partying the night away. My older brother and sister gave me unconditional love throughout my childhood and showed me what a work ethic was. As my nephew hits freshers week at University this week, I am filled with pride that he got there and reminded of how fortunate I was to go into higher education and make the friends I did. My wider family, from my aunties to cousins, all show me how to preserver as they go through the highs and lows that is life. I was brought up with a strong family value and although I rarely see everyone, the childhood memories have a massive influence.

My Career

So many people I’ve met through employed work and networking inspire me to continue in business when it is tough and this is a valuable lesson in life. Success, however you value success, comes from a mixture of achievements and failures, but it is how you deal with those elements that makes the difference. Observing other people’s strengths and how they run their businesses and working alongside them is always inspiring. A mention to Jo Cameron’s Achievers Academy for Women, as these ladies give it their all and more. My Loughborough group have been wonderful this past year, so thanks ladies.

Aspire Photography Training

So many of you know how this photography training company in Cumbria built my confidence back up just when I could have easily stepped away from my photography business. Catherine and Jane are simply awesome! The team they have built around them are so welcoming and the push I get, from the photographers I trained with, is always the kick I need to just get on with it. Big hug to all of you.

Be Fitter

I am probably the fittest I’ve been in so many years and this is the first fitness team that have motivated me enough to stick at it for over two years. The directors of Be Fitter have created a community of friends simply by pushing us to exercise exhaustion a few times a week. It fascinates me how good they are at motivating every single person in that class, regardless of weight, size, strength, or gender to keep going and want to improve. Then I remember how between them, they are a British Powerlifting Champion and European Powerlifting Champion,  a selected finalist for the CrossFit Thorium Throwdown Competition and came in the top percentage position in a gruelling 69 mile ultra marathon. They challenged and supported us through our mile of burpees and this fundraising challenge raised the majority of our money to enable Raleigh to do what they do. I am going to miss you guys and already laughing at the thought of me trying to lift that 16kg kettlebell on my return in January!


Some people were surprised that we had to go through a proper selection process to volunteer for Raleigh, rather than just go for where the money is and this is what makes me think so much more of Raleigh as an organisation. From a CV, personal statement, references and assessment weekend, they do consider carefully if you are going to be at the right stage in life to take on their work and motivate young adults on the expedition to make a change. Not everyone is accepted in their first application and I was very humbled to receive a yes. Their training weekend was something else and so powerful.


Not enough words to say how my husband makes my life easy and amazing, even if he does make me climb mountains on holiday! Getting on the plane without him will be strange, as I haven’t done this for years. Being apart quite a bit while over there is going to be different from day to day here, but I can’t wait to talk about our adventure together from our own points of view when we return and share this with you all.

I am one very lucky lady and hope you will enjoy my sharing of this adventure with you.

Joanne x

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