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That Mama: Adventurer and Activist, Annabelle Bond

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Our latest That Mama is perhaps the sportiest mama we know: Annabelle Bond. The record-setting adventurer and activist, who’s tackled all Seven Summits (yes… that means she’s summited Everest) and has explored some of the world’s most far-flung destinations including Antarctica, sits down with us to chat juggling motherhood with her unique career, what hooked her on adventure sports at an early age (hint: it’s right here in HK), the charities close to her heart, and how her daughter might just be giving her a run for her money.

How do you balance the intense routine that comes with being a world-renowned adventurer with motherhood?
I am a single mother and so motherhood is definitely a priority for me. I did so much climbing and adventuring prior to Isabella being born and now this is her time!  She comes first. I have only done two 250km self-supported desert races (in Namibia and the Sahara) since she was born.

What sparked your love of adventure and sports? Word on the street says it may have been HK’s very own MacLehose?
I’ve always been sporty since I was a kid, but the word on the street is true… it was definitely the MacLehose that taught me about pushing through pain barriers and that somehow led onto mountain climbing.

When did the idea of climbing the Seven Summits first hit? Was it a goal from the outset or did it evolve?
It was a very spontaneous decision since nobody thought that I would reach the summit of Everest which was my first climb of the Seven Summits. I came up with the idea that my next goal should be to try and climb all the Seven Summits… within three days of leaving Kathmandu!! I had to raise the money first and that took a little more time…

With your Seven Summits record behind you, what’s next? How do you top Everest?!
It’s hard!!! I spent five months of one year living in a tent when I did my year of climbing… and I am not sure I’m ready to spend that sort of time in a tent again! I went on to the North Pole with Prince Albert Of Monaco shortly after I finished the Seven Summits. And I then had Isabella, so since then I have been busy being a mum! Maybe I will do something completely different next like start a business… and right now I would like to be a big wave surfer!

You’re also a committed activist. Tell us about the causes and organisations close to your heart.
I raised money for the Eve Appeal, which specializes in the prevention of ovarian cancer, by climbing the Seven Summits. I had a tumor removed one month before I left for Everest when I was at my fittest – I was one of the lucky ones as it was benign. I thought though that if it could happen to me then I must get the word out there for other women to be vigilant and get screened, as it is a preventative cancer if caught early. I also am an ambassador for Laureus, the Sport for Good Foundation.

You were born in Singapore, spent school years in the UK and have criss-crossed the globe from Alaska to Antarctica.  Tell us what makes Hong Kong home.
I have travelled extensively, but for 2o years of my life Hong Kong has been my full time base. I love it here; it has amazing energy, fantastic running trails, beaches and a great group of people. You cannot beat the efficiency of Asia and I really respect the work ethic of people here. Success is promoted and not slated like the in the UK. I want my daughter to grow up and share my love of HK and Asia.

In a concrete jungle like HK, how do you inspire a love of adventure and sport in your young daughter? Is she interested in following in mum’s footsteps?
I think I have competition from my daughter! She is just starting to carve her ski turns which I was delighted to see.  She stood up wake surfing (my latest sport that I’m into) when she had just turned 5 years old, she plays tennis twice a week and has swimming lessons. I believe sport instigates confidence and a healthy mentality in all of us, so I am quite a tiger mum in terms of getting her outside and active.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
That parenting is hard!!!!!

Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
I am always watching others and learning from people myself, so I am not sure if my advice is that great! I give Isabella a very healthy diet which I believe is exceptionally important for the development of a child and I’m a stickler for good manners.

How do you save time – what are your organisational tricks and tips?
I never seem to have enough time in the day! I’m on the go the whole time, so I think I have some streamlining to do!

As a mum I wish I were better at… Cooking. But luckily I have amazing help with that one!

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about… All sorts of things…

My most humbling mama moment was… Holding Isabella in my arms when she was just born.

Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my daughter loves it… Playing dolls!!!

Favourite activity with kids in Hong Kong… Going to Big Wave Bay.

Favourite kid-friendly getaway in Asia… Singapore’s Sentosa Island has everything imaginable for kids.

What’s your favourite family ritual?
Just hanging with Isabella in the early mornings. She comes into my room and we just spend quality time together. Seems no time at all has passed since she was a little baby and now she’s a little girl. Time flies and I don’t want to miss any of it…

Even when my daughter has a family of her own, I’ll still… Be her mama!!!

One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is… My run!

Fabulous photos by super talented Lakshmi Harilela of Love True Light Photography.

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