Who is Freeland Hiking Co?
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
I wanted to start this blog as a multi-use platform; to share highlights and pictures from recent tours, to impart nuggets of information about hiking and the natural world, and maybe one day also to invite past guests to share their own personal experiences of tours taken with me. But to begin with, as the inaugural post, I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself, and what inspired me to launch Freeland Hiking Co.
My name is Sara Freeland, and I am an extremely keen hiker! This hasn’t always been the case though, and sometimes even I am surprised that I discovered this passion only as an adult. In fact, the 'old me’ used to want to be a CEO of a bank, and Gail Kelly was my hero ha!
It all changed after I completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting at UTS, and wanted to explore the world. I was lucky enough to grow up travelling with my parents, but this was my big 'gap-year' trip, 6 months backpacking around Europe. I began hitting all the hot spots; London, Paris, Barcelona…. and ended up in the off-track places; Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia. These mountainous countries drew me in, and I found myself skipping the big cities to go hiking.
I didn’t wash my hair for 4 months (much to my sisters absolute disgust), and lived out of a car for 4 weeks travelling around the Balkans – I had ‘found myself’ so to speak, But the transformation wasn’t quite complete, and unfortunately, before I left on my trip, that trusty (and misguided) old me lined up a corporate job that I had to return to. So I came home, washed my hair, and put on a suit. After a few months slugging away, I needed a break, so I booked myself onto a guided tour in Tasmania along the Overland Track, and it was truly a life changing experience.
During those 6 incredible days, I learnt all about being a guide, and I was instantly hooked. Upon returning home, I quit my job, packed up my life and moved to Tasmania, IN TEN DAYS!
I then spent the next 8 months having my mind blown alongside 20 other passionate students in the Adventure Tour Guiding Course through TAFE. We learnt about the clouds, the trees, and the rocks; from the biggest concepts through to the smallest details. I’d never been so interested in studying (not all the surprising considering I did accounting), and my passion even lead me to be awarded Student of the Year (again, not all that surprising… hehe I’m joking of course 😜).
I joined the guiding team for three companies in Tasmania; The Maria Island Walk, the Freycinet Experience Walk and Tasmanian Expeditions (a branch of World Expeditions), and spent an amazing 6 months meeting incredible people, seeing beautiful things every day and honestly, living the absolute DREAM!
But, as human nature goes, I thought things looked greener on the other side, and a lack of routine, and frankly, low cash flow, saw me re-entering the corporate world in Sydney after the guiding season closed for Winter.
This time I lasted a little longer because I was working for a fantastic company TerraCycle, which was so closely aligned with my passion for protecting the environment. But my itchy little feet wouldn’t stay still, and in my spare time, I took a private group down to Tasmania to walk the Overland Track again. To be perfectly honest, I had been toying with the idea of launching my own thing for a little while, and this was the perfect chance to test the waters and see how I felt returning to guiding (thanks guinea pigs!).
It was such an amazing trip, and 100% reignited the passion in me to show people the beauty in the world, and to help build their confidence in the outdoors. So I decided to return to the outdoors, but this time, on my own terms.
And so Freeland Hiking Co. was born. And boy, has my blood, sweat and tears gone into the creation. I won’t bore you with the details (or perhaps I’ll save them for a future post), but let’s just say I definitely underestimated the time, energy and cost of setting up something like this.
But oh my, I wouldn’t change it for a second, and I honestly cannot WAIT for my first trip to depart, to share the incredible, spectacular and mind-blowing landscape we have in Sydney’s backyard, and to hopefully inspire and help build the confidence for others also to get out and amongst our beautiful mother nature.
If you have any questions about me, or my story, please feel free to comment below. I'd also LOVE to hear about your own personal stories, and how you came to uncover your passion!