Race across the world with Natalie and Shameema
Anyone who tuned in to BBC Two's Race Across the World will surely have been hooked from day one.
Five teams competed to travel overland from London to Singapore in the shortest time (the furthest you can travel from London without flying). Making up the five couples were a father and son duo, Darron and Alex from Bradford, Tony and Elaine, two retired PE teachers from Yorkshire, Josh and Felix, two entrepreneurs from North London, Sue and Clare, who were looking to recreate the magic of their rail trip in their 20s and finally, two lifelong friends, Natalie and Shameema.
It’s hard not to have a favourite couple throughout this epic adventure, and I loved Natalie and Shameema’s can-do attitude, and how their personalities and support for one another carried them through to the finish post in Singapore.
Having met at school, the two friends are more like sisters, having been there for one another through the loss of parents, serious illness, road traffic accidents, ups and downs of family life, and whatever else life has thrown at them in the past 30 years.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch some short clips of Race Across the World here
Throughout the challenge (which took 51 days to complete), each team had five checkpoints along the way (Delphi, Baku, Tashkent, Huangyao, and Koh Rong), where they could spend 36 hours resting up before the next leg. The final destination, was the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.
Each team had around £1300, a world map and no smartphones or internet access.
I was SO thrilled when Natalie and Shameema said yes to my interview request. In this episode, we talk about what kind of lessons they learned along the way, being stranded in The Caspian Sea for 5 days, hiring a tandem to reach the checkpoint in Uzbekistan, coping with a lack of sleep, and Natalies challenges and anxieties about unwanted attention in certain countries because of the colour of her skin.
Chatting to the girls I honestly felt like we had been friends for ages! They were so lovely to me, and this episode was recorded during Ramadan, on one of the warmest days of the year, at the end of the day too! So thanks so much for this ladies. I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Thanks too to Natalie, who kindly hosted this chat at her gorgeous riverside office in London.
And finally, a big congratulations to Shameema’s daughter Aaliyah too! Who received her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award earlier that day at Buckingham Palace!
All photographs Ⓒ Natalie and Shameema, reproduced here with kind permission.