Let's Explore Perseverance with Elise Wortley


It took twelve years for the idea to grow

Tracing steps

Alexandra David-Néel’s book My Journey to Lhasa was one of those books I just couldn’t get over. I always wondered how she managed to achieve what she did. 14 years of dealing with wet and cold conditions, illness and of course the constant pressure and difficulty of being a female traveller in the early 1900s. I wanted to recreate Alexandra’s journey in some way. I realised that the only way to truly experience that was to take with me only what she had. This means no modern-day mountain equipment.
As I lay awake shivering, tightly wrapped in my traditional yak wool coat, I moved my numb fingers to scratch at the frost forming on my forehead. It was probably the lack of sleep, or the prickling cold creeping into my bones, but something pushed those powerful words I’d read twelve years earlier into my mind, “I vow to show what the will of a woman can do”.
These words, that I first read at the age of 16, have remained with me ever since. What I didn’t know at the time, was that the woman who spoke them, French explorer Alexandra David-Neel, would shape the journey I’ve taken through life, and become the female role model I needed, who I hadn’t yet found through my early years of education.


Elise Wortley is an adventurer from the United Kingdom, who is exploring the Himalayas, following in the footsteps of legendary female explorer Alexandra David-Neel. Through her project, Elise is raising money for a women’s charity called Freedom Kit Bags through her website.

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