We’ve been following Jo Moseley’s backyard journeys ever since we met at our film festival and Love Trails Festival back in 2018. Jo’s energy, activism and just giving it a go is an inspiration to all.
In the summer of 2019, Jo became the first woman to stand up paddleboard coast to coast, 162 miles from Liverpool to Goole, picking up litter and fundraising for The Wave Project and 2MinuteBeachClean Foundation. Here are a few highlights of our obligatory lockdown zoom conversation, where we found out more about Jo's local northern adventures.
AU: What's really inspiring for our film festival audience is seeing people that they can relate to, people that see you do something that is accessible. To get up and go litter pick on a nearby beach, park or during a run (or ‘plog’ as you call it!). So tell us more about one of your more recent projects, Paddling the North.
Jo: Paddling the North was one and I paddleboarding across the country before the pandemic came along. I was the first woman to paddle from Liverpool to Goole, a 162-mile journey along the Lancashire and Yorkshire canals picking up litter and raising money for 2-minute Beach Clean and the Wave Project.
AU: What were the best moments of the trip?
Jo: The whole of it was amazing, every day was different. My biggest memory was on the 2nd of August. I’d paddled 24 miles (the longest I'd ever paddled, previous best was 10 miles) which culminated in going through Foulridge Tunnel close to the Lancashire and Yorkshire border, which was quite scary. It was really dark and loads of water drops on you, it's a dead straight tunnel and you can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel when entering. And so it was a metaphorical moment for me when the tunnel entrance light turned green as soon as I arrived. I had no time to be frightened.
I was so far behind schedule because of the thunderstorms and around 8:30 PM at night, my friends met up and gave me some flapjacks and I said I'm going to paddle into Skipton in the dark, I just felt like a wild woman. The swans were nice to me and the ducks and geese. It was absolutely magical. I was only 10 minutes from my home but I could have been anywhere in the world. My friend was there at the end and asked 'how did you do that?' And I answered I do not know! I never knew that I was brave or confident enough to do the paddle, or understood the canal enough to go through all the bridges. So that day was probably the best highlight for me, just 10 minutes from home on my doorstep.
Another pleasant highlight was working with Frit (who I met at your film festival) - he asked me if he could film and I thought he would come for two days - she stayed 11! We shared an unbelievable experience. We’re so different and yet we just bonded like the best of friends. The subsequent film about the adventure has been released, it's called Brave Enough - A Journey Home to Joy, and will be on Vimeo this month after our sell-out pop up cinema tour!
AU: It must be a great time to get into paddleboarding, there's kind of a scene now?
Jo: Yeah, there is and I think it's good. It's quite accessible. You can have an hour or two lesson and learn the basics because you're still. You're still on a body of water and water will always win. You do need to get the safety in place and wear a leash and all that stuff. So it's good to have some training even though it's very accessible, and it's not as a bigger learning curve compared with surfing for example. You can go on canals, reservoirs, lakes, the ocean and have an amazing time on any body of water!
Everybody can do it so its quite welcoming with no cliques, I find it quite a democratic sport you know, you're not necessarily better if you're bigger or have the better kit. You can still have a real sense of enjoyment, whatever you do, and wherever you go. So, it's lovely.
Jo: When I spoke with Adventure Uncovered at Love Trails people came up afterwards and said, I'm going to go pick up litter. I'm going to try something because you said it was, you know, okay to be rubbish at something and just start. And that made me think, wow, I have a bit more confidence.
So much of what I've done stems from that weekend when I realised maybe I can share something. A lot of what I've been doing over the last two years has come from that confidence and I felt like I was in the cool crowd. I met other people doing great things and learned so much and felt so confident and braver than ever before.
Jo's more recent project includes an adventure into podcasting. Her new podcast about paddleboarding - The Joy of SUP - the Paddleboarding Sunshine Podcast - has already received over 5,000 downloads!
She also has a new newsletter called Postcards of Joy - Stories To Lift the Soul. View April’s version here.
You can sign up on Jo's website www.jomoseley.com