Racing around the globe

Our love of travel is what drives us. To not have to sit behind a desk for 40+ hours a week is something that we’re so grateful for.

This journey that we’re on has got us thinking about all the other people who are living their dreams too. One of our friends immediately sprang to mind.

She’s been travelling the world competing professionally in the sport of triathlon since 2010. During that time she’s travelled extensively and has swam, cycled and ran (in that order!) in some of the world’s most stunning destinations. In our first Freedom Travellers interview, our lovely friend Anna Cleaver shares her passion for triathlon, travel and life in general…

FT: So Anna, how did you get started in triathlon?

AC: When I was younger I swam at a high level for New Zealand, where I’m from. A severe case of glandular fever took me out of swimming for a while so I used the extra time to focus on my studies. One day a few years later, I borrowed a bike, entered a local triathlon and qualified for the Air New Zealand Pro Tour. That’s where it all started.

FT: What’s the best thing about travelling with your sport?

AC: Can I have two? Firstly, I love that this sport takes you to towns, cities and countries you’d never have planned on visiting. For example, Liverpool in the UK, home of the Beatles. It was never on my bucket list but it was very cool and I met a dear friend racing there.

The other thing I love about travelling with my sport is the people you meet. They are so generous and bring you into their lives and cultures. They often become life long friends and sometimes like family, for example my LA family who I miss a lot. I keep trying to find races there that fit into my schedule so I can go visit them.

FT: What’s your favourite place to race and why?

AC: Ask me this again at the end of the year, I have a feeling I might have a new favourite!

Racing in all different locations around the world is amazing, but the races in Australia and especially New Zealand are always favourites. We’re blessed with beautiful beaches, lakes and mountains. Not to mention family, friends and supporters cheering you on.

Outside of Australia and New Zealand, Zarautz in Basque Country, Spain, is up there as one of my favourite race experiences. I spent almost a month there. Not many people in town spoke English, but we managed to communicate ok. The food, the culture, the people were all so different. The swim was in tough ocean, the bike had some ridiculously steep but scenic climbs and the run was electric. The race started late in the afternoon, so we were running through eight deep crowds of people cheering and offering us beer. I had one of my fastest ever run splits there thanks to the atmosphere!

FT: What are your goals for the future?

AC: I’m super passionate about this sport and have so much left to achieve. I also have a strong finance background, so one of my future goals is to combine the knowledge, skills and relationships I’ve established in my sport with the finance, project management and selling skills I developed working in mergers and acquisitions for many years. What that business venture looks like I’m not completely sure yet, it’s a work in progress!

FT: What would you say to that person sat behind a desk right now dreaming of a life like yours?

AC: I would say give me a call! I’m a realist and I like to plan. I’d encourage people to establish their goals and work backwards from there to understand if and how they can be achieved. You can’t plan everything though. Life is likely to throw some curveballs your way! So, I would say to that person, be open to change or new opportunities that might come your way. If you have a dream and a rough plan of how to get there, go chase it!

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