Exploring a new side to herself in Africa

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Andrea joins the expedition to Malawi and brings her ‘golden nuggets’ of advice to the league of ladies. Andrea has competed in triathlons but is now setting her sights to the trek up Mount Mulanje in Africa!

Born in to a forces family, Andrea has lived a very transient lifestyle where she and her family moved quite regularly, according to a recent count – Andrea has been to twelve schools! After having enough of living and working in London, Andrea packed up her belongings and headed to Kent. Her childhood had prepared her for moving and setting up home anywhere, so Andrea took this move in her stride! On the way to a house viewing in Tunbridge Wells she, along with her new husband, stopped to use the loo in Sevenoakes and in the end never left!

After her second child, Andrea found it difficult to return to work and so began looking for flexible working opportunities. She struggled to find anything rewarding and as a consequence started her work with Ten2Two, who specialize in finding local and rewarding employment for people looking for flexible work.

Previously Ten2Two attracted the most attention from mothers and wives returning to the professional domain. It was mostly women who found themselves in the same position as regional directors: Andrea and Kirsteen. However, Andrea now finds the company bursting at the seams with women and men looking to find employment that is rewarding, yet not restricted by the 9-5 working structure. After all, who isn’t looking for that utopia of a great work-life balance?

The Female Entrepreneur Adventure Expedition has come at exactly the right time for Andrea. With her children now in secondary school she feels that she can take the opportunity to throw herself in to wonderful and exciting adventures such as this expedition to Malawi. Andrea describes herself as an independent lady, within her hectic schedule there is often not enough time to sit and share in the way that she will be on the expedition. She feels as though this is something that is lacking within her life, and that her adventure to Malawi with 13 other women will allow for her to explore this side of herself. This expedition will allow for Andrea to how to collaborate in a different way beyond her hectic life at home!

For Andrea the sheer thought of taking those first few steps off the plane and being hit by a wave of heat and African culture is thrilling! She is also excited about meeting the inspirational women joining her on her expedition and the entrepreneurial women of Malawi. But it is the trek up Mount Mulanje that excites her the most! When we spoke to Andrea about her training for the climb she said that she wasn’t feeling overly prepared. But we have inkling that she will take it all in her stride. I mean she’s just taken part in a triathlon where they had to go across haystacks, if that’s not prepared I don’t know what is!

Leaving her family behind for 10 days will be a tough part of the expedition for Andrea. She says she will miss her children, even if they are driving her nuts, she will miss having someone to moan at (her words not ours!) Having only ever been away for a couple of days, Andrea will be completely extracted from her set routine of home life. Whilst this does pose a huge challenge, there is a possibility it will allow Andrea to full embrace the new experience and her time in Africa.

As a self-confessed ‘Yes person’, Andrea hopes that the expedition will allow for some personal growth. This unique opportunity will allow for Andrea to take the time to learn how to ‘live in the moment’ and to work on her mindfulness. She predicts that she will encounter many women who are going through the same personal and professional struggles, but are dealing with it in a different way. It is through this process that Andrea feels she will be most able to reflect on her own way of life, and will consequently be enriched by the differences and also the similarities that she finds with the Malawian women she meets.

On the expedition to Malawi Andrea will be able to bring along her ‘golden nuggets’ (and no we don’t mean the cereal!) We mean her valuable advice of course; she hopes to impart her knowledge of the employment sector, her knowledge of the UK market and her experience as a female director. She predicts that upon coming home from the expedition she will have left a meaningful impact on the lives of entrepreneurial Malawian women. Nevertheless Andrea also feels that she will be leaving with valuable advice and knowledge from the women of Africa.

In conclusion, for Andrea this is much more than 10 days away from grumpy teenagers. It is centered on sustaining friendships and collaborations that she may have never made without it. She hopes that when she returns to England she will continue sharing and continue learning.

Catherine Butler
Assistant Editor-in-Chief