| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Single parent in Dubai

Gulf4Good’s marketing governor talks motivation, mountains and mothering

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Gulf4Good’s marketing governor Tricia Evans talks motivation, climbing mountains and being a single mum.

You’re a single mum, run a business and do voluntary work. How do you do it all?
By being organised, motivated and disciplined. As a freelance coach, I teach clients to keep focused. I apply the same principles to my own life. I’m a great planner and very goal-oriented. I also have a great support system.

You’re undertaking your sixth G4G challenge this March. What keeps you going?
Yes, I’m trekking in Ethiopia. It’s really addictive. Once your eyes have been opened to the needs of underprivileged children, you keep going back. It also enables me to travel to different countries off the beaten track. And it keeps me fit – it’s not a walk in Safa Park. I’m active anyway – I play squash, do circuit training and I’ve started hotel stair climbing.

How does that work?
This year, we started a training programme at G4G – offering free sessions, from cycling to kayaking and hotel stair climbing. This prepares you for high-altitude challenges and trekking downhill, where most injuries occur.

Do you get many mums?
Yes, a surprising number. It’s the women who get off their butts the most – around 60 per cent of participants are female.

What has been your most memorable challenge?
The cycling challenge in Asia in 2005 was mind blowing – travelling from a relatively organised Thailand to a very chaotic Cambodia. We physically helped finish five houses, and had the honour of handing them over to the families. It was a very emotional experience.

Are all the trips emotional?
Yes, because they’re so hands-on and all about kids. You see where the money is going, be it an orphanage or school. Being able to personally empower children, and girls especially, is a big thing for me. You see heartbreaking situations and to help is an absolute privilege.

How do you choose a trip?
I choose ones that enable me to explore a new country, and they have to fit in with my daughter Siân, who’s now 13. I took a break between 2006 and 2010 because Siân was terrified I might die. She did one challenge with me when she was eight, climbing a mountain in RAK. It’s the only G4G family challenge we’ve done, though we’d like to do more.

Did it bring you closer?
It was a hot weekend and a tough route – the guide was a triathlete and staggeringly fit and kept saying ‘we’re nearly there, just one more hill’ when there were many more hills ahead – you can’t lie to kids! I remember Siân saying, ‘I’ll never forgive you for this mummy’. She did and we had a great time.

Do you do lots together?
I’ve been a single mum since Siân was four months old, so yes. We don’t have the dynamics of a traditional household, so it’s quite uncomplicated. We travelled halfway round the world together for two months when I was 50 and Sian was nine, and had a ball. She’s 13 now and has her own activities and friends, so we organise regular dates.

You’ve been in Dubai for 17 years. What keeps you here?
The weather, the outdoor lifestyle and travel opportunities. Plus, you meet such interesting people. The conversations on the challenges are incredible. When people are out of their comfort zones, they bare their souls.

Will you ever slow down?
I hope not. Life is a series of interesting adventures. I want to see as many of the world’s coastlines as possible before I die, and this summer, I’m walking the 150-mile Pembrokeshire coastline.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Gulf4Good challenges raise funds for children charities worldwide and require participants to raise Dhs12,000-19,000. There are four challenges in 2011. For more info, visit www.gulf4good.org. Call 04 368 0222. or email admin@gulf4good.org

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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Inspirational Tricia. You make it sound so easy. Love your positive attitude to life.

Review by : Sally