As the world opens up from the pandemic, these trailblazers are striving to make travel more inclusive
For Lor Sabourin, climbing is more than a sport, it’s a way to explore identity and build resilience. The Arizona-based climber, guide and coach – who identifies as trans and uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ – is the subject of a recent documentary backed by the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.
The film, They/Them, follows Sabourin into the sandstone canyons of northern Arizona, working on one of the hardest routes of their life.
After being introduced to climbing at the age of 12, Sabourin realised it was a powerful resource. “Climbing has this amazing opportunity to provide safe space for gender non-conforming people to participate, because our sport isn’t as highly gendered as others,” they said.
Sabourin works full-time for The Warrior’s Way, an organisation that provides training ‘for climbing, and for life’. “I hope that this film paints a story of what sports can mean to a person who has experienced systems of oppression, and how being outside can be really liberating,” Sabourin added.
Image: Michael Wharley
Born in Jamaica, Dwayne Fields came to live in the UK aged six. His formative years were in inner-city London, where he became a victim of both knife and gun crime. After a life-threatening incident, Fields made the decision to change his life forever. As a child, in the forests and hills of Jamaica, he had loved nature and wildlife, and he wanted to reconnect to this part of his life.
So, in 2010, Fields set himself a challenge: to become the first black Briton to reach the magnetic north pole. He completed the trek. Since then, he has focused on inspiring young people to explore the great outdoors.
He now plans to take disadvantaged young people from across the UK on life-changing expeditions with #WeTwo Foundation, a charity he co-founded in 2019.
The inaugural expedition – with 10 teenagers onboard – is planned to set sail for Antarctica in 2022, in what he says will be the world’s first carbon-negative expedition of its kind.
Fields also promotes carbon-conscious behaviours, hence his motto: “It’s about planting seeds, not flags”.
Image: Dwayne Fields
Adventurer Elise Wortley specialises in replicating the journeys of female explorers from history, using only the equipment available to them at the time. So far, she has retraced the journey of French explorer Alexandra David-Néel, who walked across the Himalaya in the early 1900s, and traversed the Cairngorms 75 years after Scottish explorer Nan Shepherd.
In the Himalaya, Wortley’s main pieces of equipment were a yak-wool coat and a backpack that she made from an old chair.
She has an all-female team, and documents her journeys via her website, Woman with Altitude, raising money for women’s charities along the way.
“Throughout history, female adventurers have been overshadowed,” she said. “Woman with Altitude can truly show what ‘the will of a woman can do’.”
Image: Emily Almond Barr