Emily Penn - Ocean Plastic Adventurer

“On that journey, I fell in love with the idea of travelling slowly around the planet and getting to really experience those transitions”


Earth Changer. Ocean Conservationist. Artist. Plastic Researcher and Assailant. Skipper. Ocean Advocate. Teacher. Speaker. Smiler. Leader. Founder of Running eXXpedition


Plastic has had and still does have great uses in modern society. However, it is also a not-so-silent killer. Synthetic plastics’ origin, dates back to the early 1900s and then it became really popular in the 1960s. In the space of 60 years we, as the human race, have managed to have a detrimental impact on the environment using plastic alone.


Our guest this week, Emily Penn, is a lady who understands the consequences of plastic usage and it’s overconsumption, more than most people in this world. It’s when you see and experience things first hand, that you truly begin to understand the vast, negative footprint which plastic is having on the earth.

Emily Penn - Exxpedition

Emily was born in Swansea and grew up in Penarth, South Wales. Her parents met on a sailing boat, which was ultimately some sort of destiny for her. From a young age, she was a bit of a water baby. By the age of 14, she earned a place in the Welsh Sailing Squad.


Her true passion was art and design. She says that she didn’t have a grand plan in life, there was no map to follow, she was simply looking for the sign-posts along the way. One of those sign-posts led her to study Architecture. Little did she know where the future sign-posts would lead her…


Once she had completed her degree, she managed to hook herself up with an architectural job in Australia…and what better way to get there than to hitchhike from the U.K? She liked the idea of ‘travelling slowly’, something she had learned earlier in her life….!


While researching her hitchhiking adventure, she discovered a vessel which could help her for part of the journey. She rocked up for a weekend of orientation in Brighton, to see if she was the right fit, to be a crew member on the alien looking ocean vessel called, Earthrace. She didn’t quite expect to only return 925 days later!


During this voyage, was her greatest awakening and ‘discovery’ of all –> plastic pollution. She saw how it was scattered all over our oceans and later discovered how it had infiltrated itself into each of our bodies. Since then she has lived on islands, learnt new languages, set-up research businesses, sailed the oceans of the world numerous times, and become a symbolic figure for our fight against plastic consumption.


It’s going to take a billion micro-habits to undo all the plastic damage which exists around the world today. It all starts with us. We owe it to our current and future generations to each take responsibility in reducing our plastic and chemical footprint. Let Emily’s journey and story be a motivating reason for you to begin.


We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.


Let’s find out what it means for Emily Penn, to be Ridiculously Human.


Your fellow beings,

Craig and Gareth


Background, Context & Reference

Connect with Emily Penn:







Emily’s Projects, Talks and Expeditions:

Worldwide Projects

Pangaea Explorations

Running eXXpedition

Emily Speaking

Round the World Exxpedition – 300 Woman Needed

Other relevant points discussed and mentioned:

Optimist Dinghy Boat

Cambridge University

Dongtan Ecocity, Shanghai


Body burden – toxins in your body

Chemical footprint

Think Dirty App

Gyre – Accumulation waste zones

Plastic toxins in humans

Banned plastic substances



Adidas non-plastic shoes – Parley A.I.R

Places Mentioned:

Shanghai, China

Brighton, United Kingdom

Republic of Kiribati

Music By

The Bambuseae Rhythm Section – Check them out here

Simon Van Gend Band – Check them out here


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