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you are here: Home >> Interviews >> E-mail Interviews >> Patricia Glyn
/ Patricia Glyn

In 2003, well known journalist and broadcaster Patricia Glyn, spent 59 days and nights with the Discovery Expedition at Base Camp. As can be expected it was quite an experience, and Patricia recently released her book, Off Peak, giving readers an insight into this challenging adventure. Patricia was kind enough to take a few moments to answer a questions about herself, her work, the expedition, and her plans for the future.

EB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born and how you came to be where you are?

PG: I was born and raised in Zambia. I went to school both in Zambia and in Zimbabwe, and came to South Africa to attend University. I read English and Drama with Music on the side. My first job was in editing for Anglo American.

EB: Was there something specific that propelled you into pursuing journalism as a career?

PG: Actually, I didn't pursue journalism as a career, it just fell into my lap when a friend suggested that I audition for SAfm in Cape Town. Since then, I've broadened out into TV, writing, voice work and media training. You've got to have many strings in this business, otherwise you'll starve!

EB: Last year you accompanied the Discovery Everest 2003 Expedition team on their journey. How did you get to be the "Chosen One" for such a challenging task?

PG: In December 2002, I climbed Aconcagua (the highest peak in the southern hemisphere, situated in Argentina) with two of the climbers who were to do Everest. When we returned, they got news that the expedition journalist couldn't make it, and so they asked me to go along. It didn't take me long to say yes!

EB: What is your ultimate best, and your ultimate worst memory of the time you spent on Everest?

PG: My best memory of Everest is getting to know the gentle, Buddhist sherpas who make these expeditions possible. They're awesome climbers, gracious people, and they still don't get enough credit for what they do. My worst memory is the cold. The unrelenting, savage, grind-you-down cold. We averaged minus 13 at the beginning of the trip, and minus 5 at the end of it. To work in those temperatures proved to be pretty demanding.

EB: Difficult and challenging circumstances tend to bring out a totally different side in people. While on this expedition, was there something you learned about human nature that you didn't necessarily know before?

PG: I was fascinated to watch the (interminable) male bonding, boys talk and competitiveness that goes into building a team. Everest brings out the best and the worst in people, and I saw it all. No doubt my fellow climbers felt they'd seen both sides of me too!

EB: If asked, will you take on Everest again in future?

PG: I wouldn't jump at the chance of being that cold for that long again, but I don't mind discomfort per se. I am searching for another expedition to cover.

EB: What is the thing you like least about your job as a well known and successful journalist?

PG: I think of myself as a broadcaster more than a journalist. I don't particularly like being the object of other peoples' expectations/gripes/fantasies/hates. I'd love the job without being the celebrity (albeit celebrity on a very small scale).

EB: What inspires you?

PG: I have a very low threshold of boredom, so I take things on because I want to experience new things, not necessarily because they inspire me.

EB: Do you like to read, and if so what?

PG: The programme I did for SAfm for many years, "Patricia's People", involved me in talking to explorers, inventors, scientists, and other extraordinary folk, and through it I came to love biography and history in particular, with more than a passing interest in science in travel.

EB: How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

PG: Bushing and dogging!

EB: What do you have planned for the future? Any more daring and challenging adventures?

PG: I'm looking for another chance to challenge myself in the great outdoors. At this stage I'm pretty much open to any offers.

Interview conducted via e-mail
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