If there was ever going to be a sequel to the movie, ‘Yes Man’ with a female lead, it’d be called ‘Yes Girl’ based around the life of one of the core members of our Society of Extraordinary Venturers*, Cathy U’Ren.
Why? Cathy epitomizes the ‘Yes Girl’ attitude in all aspects of her lifestyle, business, and travel choices. When an opportunity enters her world, she is the first to put her hand up and say ‘Count me in’ – often before she even knows what it entails, where it will take her, or what mode of transport (hike, bike, kayak, raft, dogsled, snowshoe, raft have been checked off her list to date, and you can add ice climbing to that in the next few weeks).
Who is Cathy?
Entrepreneur, Founder, and Chief Wellness Officer of Pet Wellness Centre and Serial Adventurer, step-Mum, fur-Mum, and all-around amazing human. Since joining her first Best Life Adventure back in 2017 via the business world, Cathy has become an integral member of the Society of Extraordinary Venturers community and has discovered that her heart beats for adventure.
We asked Cathy to share a little about her journey, how her expeditions with Best life Adventures have shaped her and why she keeps saying “YES”.
What inspired you to go on your first Best Life Adventure to Tasmania as part of the Venturer Program?
I was in serious burnout mode, 18 months into a new business, exhausted, cranky, and just stuck. I knew I needed to do something to enable me to keep going. I’d never known myself so completely wrung out before. The decision to actually go was enormous as it required me to be completely out of contact with my business for 7 days. I hadn’t been completely out of contact with my business for five minutes since it started! I’m not one to ever ask for help nor to admit that I’m doing it tough. I didn’t know what it was that I needed from the Venturer program, but I knew I needed something.
What did you get out of the expedition?
What I found was a like-minded group of complete strangers who understood exactly what it was that I was going through. We were all a little reserved at first but a series of challenging physical and mental activities soon had us breaking down barriers and opening up about what really meant the most to each of us. I found a group with whom I could actually share the tough stuff, the things I felt like I was failing at and they didn’t judge, they just started coming up with solutions! I found myself again. Through pushing myself to my limit physically and mentally, I found clarity and perspective. I rediscovered who I was, what was important to me, and what I wanted.
My first Best Life Adventure to Tasmania through the Venturer Program totally reinvigorated me and my business. Many of that group have become everyday business contacts of mine. We’ve done business together since and worked together in the community. Even more rewardingly, some of them will be lifelong friends.
What changed for you after you returned home?
Deciding to go on the Venturer Program was a turning point for my business. I came back completely reenergized. I rediscovered my passion for what we were building. We’re now on track to achieve the big vision of growth I thought was out of my reach 18 months in, before Venturer. We will go on to hire many more Queenslanders and provide a new standard of health care for Queensland family pets. Pets make people better people and better people make better communities, so we’re doing our bit to improve the wellness of Queensland communities by focusing on the wellness of their pets.
What shifted for you on a personal level?
The expedition reignited my passion for adventure. I’d set it aside with the new business, thinking that the amount of time and planning required was something that simply wouldn’t be possible for me for the next ten years or so! But Best Life Adventures makes it so easy. All I have to do is prepare physically and mentally and then TURN UP. Ben takes care of everything else. With only two weeks out of my busy life, I can complete an adventure like no other, conquer something few people ever attempt, throw myself into spectacular landscapes and I can once again test my own limits and regain the clarity and perspective that comes from surrounding yourself with awesome people and awe-inspiring environments.
What expeditions have you joined since then?
My husband, Baden, and I joined the first Extreme Dreams Tri-Nation Arctic Challenge in 2019 where we snowshoed and drove dog-sleds through the remote arctic wilderness. When the Northern Lights blazed from horizon to horizon on the first night out in the wilderness I was completely floored by the majesty of it. We snowshoed through daylight, through the darkness, and in blizzard conditions; over mountains, through epic gorges, and across frozen lakes. We dog-sledded through twilight scenery that we could only call “marshmallow land” – fresh waist-deep snow turning the landscape into giant mounds of fluff. Dog-sledding is now my absolute number one favourite mode of transport! What a rush. I sometimes still have to pinch myself to believe that I actually completed such an epic adventure. There is simply no way it would have been possible without Best Life Adventures. Every detail was meticulously planned to enable us to just BE in the adventure, enjoying every challenging moment.
In 2020 when our travel wings were clipped we joined two of the Back-pocket Adventures; first camping and hiking in Tallebudgera Valley and then paddling and biking in the Brisbane Valley.
What’s your next Best Life Adventure?
There are several in my calendar (and my hubby Baden’s – he has learned to just say ‘yes’ to me haha). First up is ten days paddling outrigger canoes through the untamed sea country of North Queensland on the Extreme Dreams: Torres Strait expedition in late 2021, Extreme Dreams: Africa and the Mountains of the Moon (when we can travel freely again), but in the meantime, I’m going to prepare for the glaciers there by upskilling in the Snowy Mountains with Best Life’s Mountaineering and Ice Climbing course in July. Bring it on.
Why do you keep saying ‘YES’?
It’s an addiction – I encourage anyone reading this to just say “yes”.
If you’re a female entrepreneur leading a team of like-minded adventurous souls, get in touch to find out how we can start your own Venturer journey that’ll spark your team and psyche into life.
* The Society of Extraordinary Venturers is an established community of previous Best life Adventure participants.