There is no one more inspiring to me than a person who is strong and independent, who maintains a happy, positive outlook on life. Randi Skaug is just such a person.
Having spent 26 years as a desk bound executive, Randi quit her job, aged 44, to become a mountaineer. Despite severe back problems, she climbed the highest mountains in all seven continents and was the first Norwegian woman to conquer Everest. What a feeling that must have been!
Speaking to presenter Ben Fogle on an episode in the Channel 5 series, New Lives in the Wild, that featured her, Randi says she placed that feeling in her heart and still draws on it.
"Fear is normal. The important thing is not to fear the fear."
Having skiied on expeditions in Antarctica, Norway and Greenland, kayaking round the coast of Norway and visiting more than 70 countries, Randi bought the 33 acre island of Naustholmen, situated in the Arctic Circle, off the Vestfjord, near the Lofoten Islands.
There, in temperatures often reaching -20C and no heat, she has created a paradise where "people can come to experience peacefulness in a world that is not so peaceful."
The water around Naustholmen is so cold you can die within minutes, and although the island is now connected to the National Grid, in the winter Randi still needs to wear a balaclava to bed and loves the cold. Visitors, she claims, enjoy sleeping in tents!
Having spent her life alone, Randi wants to share her life now with other people.
"When more than one heart is in the same place there is energy emerging that is really strong and makes you feel good."
Self sufficiency, she feels, makes it hard to form a long lasting intimate relationship. Men, she believes, need to feel needed. She catches the fish, guts the fish, cooks the fish... it would take someone very confident to share her life. Yet she wants to be needed herself and loves to empower people to be happy.
"Everyone needs to feel needed and valued. It is the "King" feeling."
Asked what she hopes for herself, Randi said she wants to remain active, strong, free and connected to nature. Every day when she wakes up, she stretches her hands above her head and smiles to start the production of serotonin.
"We have only 100 years on this earth - why not be happy?"
Why not indeed?
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Image Credit: Thomas Klieven, Visit Norway