Phoebe Smith is an adventurer, author, editor, presenter, speaker and filmmaker.
By day she is award-winning editor of Wanderlust Travel Magazine, travel writer and presenter, by night she’s an extreme sleeping outdoors adventurer who thrives on heading off to the wildest locations she can find to sleep in the strangest places she can seek out.
She was the first person to sleep at all the extreme points of mainland Britain – including the centremost point – which she did solo, on consecutive nights in 2014. She has completed the Three Peaks Sleeps Challenge – in which she overnighted on the summits of the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland. She is also the author of 7 books including the bestselling Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper,Wilderness Weekends: Wild Adventures in Britain's Rugged Corners and the first ever guidebook to Britain’s free-to-stay-in mountain shelters –Book of the Bothy.
She regularly posts details of new films, TV appearances, pictures, blogs, talks and events on this site and produces an occasional newsletter of the highlights, which you can sign up for here.
It’s her ongoing mission to prove that the UK offers adventure to rival anything you’ll find overseas and that you don’t need to be a beard-sporting, rufty-tufty, I’ll-eat-a-dead-sheep-carcass Bear Grylls type to have an adventure!
The full story
Phoebe grew up on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, in North Wales, but as is typical – never really appreciated having the mountains on her doorstep until years later when she found herself on the other side of the world. A friend persuaded her to go swag camping in the middle of the Australian outback and, despite fearing that everything could kill her (snakes, scorpions, even ants), she agreed. It was the night that changed her life. From that moment on she was determined to find adventure – with a wild camp thrown in for good measure – wherever she found herself.
After travelling around the world for two years, working at city newspapers and magazines in Toronto (Canada) and Sydney (Australia), as well trying a few other more colourful occupations (fairground ride operator in Seattle, dog sitter in California and interpretive naturalist in the Aquarium of the Bay on San Francisco’s Pier 39) she found herself back home in the UK longing for the same kind of exciting escapades she enjoyed all around the globe.
And so, whilst working full-time on a Welsh newspaper as Chief Reporter and Supplement Editor, then later as Features Editor at Trail magazine, she went out walking in all the free time she got. The walks got longer until she was inspired to try a solo wild camp.
Everything on that first one went wrong. She got sunburnt, eaten alive by midges, chased by sheep (yes, really) and ran out of water – but on surviving the night she was an instant addict.
Since then she has been an advocate for being a tourist in your own backyard. Actively encouraging others to take the same, push-you-out-of-your-comfort-zone mentality we all get when we travel and apply it to our everyday lives and locations. This has resulted in many years of home-grown adventures, from canoe camping on the Thames’ islands to going bothy-to-bothy in the Scottish Highlands, cave sleeping in Cumbria, seeking out Big Cats in Dartmoor, following in the footsteps of witches in Lancashire, building driftwood dens in Devon, avoiding duergar in Northumberland, conquering the Welsh Matterhorn – and much more.
In trying to promote the joys of wild nights out, adventure and getting outside she has worked with a range of clients from the BBC to Channel 5, Radio 4, The Guardian, Ordnance Survey, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Rolls Royce, Lowe Alpine and Berghaus.
Phoebe has – so far – written seven books and contributed to four others. She is also a keen iPhone filmmaker and her 2015 movie A Walk in the Woods: In the Footsteps of Bryson on the Appalachian Trail was shortlisted as Best Travel Broadcast 2016 at the Travel Media Awards and selected to be shown at the Dahlonega Trail Festival in Georgia, USA. More recently she has started filing reports for BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent.
Phoebe’s book Extreme Sleeps reached number 2 on the Guardian Bestseller list in 2013 and both Wilderness Weekends and Book of the Bothy have been shortlisted for several awards in both 2015 and 2016.
She does all this alongside her busy, full-time day-job as award-winning Editor of Wanderlust Travel Magazine. In which she also squeezes in some overseas adventures too. In the past few years she’s slept at Everest Base Camp in Nepal, met sea gypsies in Burma (Myanmar), gone swimming in Antarctica, slept in a glacier above the Arctic Circle, dog sled beneath the northern lights in Norway, crossed Siberia by train, hiked to the top of Mount Fuji and come face-to-face with grizzly bears in Alaska.
She continues to write for a range of newspapers, magazines and websites, both in the UK and overseas including: The Telegraph, Guardian, Rough Guides, Countryfile, and Metro.