Inspiring Geography Stories – Part 1

“Inspiring Geography Stories” is a project created for the 2019 Geographical Association Annual Conference (#GAConf19) theme of ‘Celebrating Geography’. This is Part 1: an intro, and the first three of six #InspiringGeogStories.

Take a look around you and observe all the objects you see…

Run your hands over that shelf, feel that desktop, your computer keys, that picture frame…

Smell the odour of that piece of furniture, the aroma of the hot beverage..

Hold the taste of that sandwich, soup, salad, or whatever you are consuming in your mouth for a bit longer…

Everything, everything, is from the Earth. No matter how it was changed, processed, manipulated… It could not exist with elements taken from our planet. We are all, and we consume, products of the Earth. And understanding all this is ‘Geography’.

Surely therefore, creating a collection of ‘inspiring’ Geography stories would be a simple task. I could pick anything and just ensure the wording plays on the unmistakable fact that everything ties into the Earth, and to Geography. But Geography would not exist without human interaction, perception and experience. And so it’s through the eyes and experiences of people that I approached this project.

I didn’t want to take stories from people we are very familiar with already: Greta Thunberg, Sir David Attenborough, the Roslings, Dian Fossey, for example. Yes, these people are wonderfully inspirational, but they are not the only ones with stories to tell.

There is a lot of inspiration to be found beyond the mainstream, the efforts of Daniel Raven-Ellison, Fearghal O’Nuallain and Victoria Hewett, for example, who may not be well-known names but people who those in-the-know look up to. But my approach to this project is based from the fact that we all have inspirational stories to tell – we all have been inspired by our planet in some way, shape or form.

Over two posts, I will share six stories of from six contributors. I hope you enjoy the read…


To the tune of the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (Jeffrey Townes / Willard C. Smith © Universal Music Publishing Group)
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got influenced by the world around
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how Geography became my life’s affair
In north-west London born and raised
In the home of the Colindale trollybuses back in the day
A diverse place very vibrant and cool
Geography was my favourite subject in school
slide3-1.jpgMy copy of Johnston’s Modern School Atlas was good
Gave me insights beyond my neighbourhood
After one little sight and to my mum I declared…
I said ‘I’m gonna be a Geographer, and the experience I’ll share’
I studied and learnt more day after day
Then I packed my suit case and went on my way
Off to Uni giving me more than the worth of my ticket.
More insights, more joy, I was really kicking it.
In class, learning was had
Now seeing the world through another looking glass.
Is this what the people of the world living like?
Is everything really alright?
From what I hear I want to pass on all that
And become a teacher, an elbow-patched cool cat.
And so I was
For almost forty years
Proud I’ve prepared those kids for the world out there
Well, decades on I’m still out and about
Onslide7.jpg various teaching books and texts with my name out
On the Secondary Phase Committee
With the GA
I keep helping out until I’m finally on my way
So while I’ve seen much both far and near
Geography has change for good the person in the mirror
My desire to share experience isn’t rare
Neither is the awe and wonder that I continue to share
Slide9The youth today inspire me further
And I’m full of belief and positivity for later
I look back at my life
I’m proud to share
All the world’s stories that are out there
– Kit Rackley (cc 2019). With thanks to Stephen Schwab (@schwabs52) for his contributions.



At the moment it’s hard to say the impact that Geography has had and will have on my life because I believe it will be so profound that I can only truly answer this question once my life is close to an end. But so far I can say is the Geography has made me, ME. It has shaped my future as I sit here studying a degree in Natural Sciences with aspirations of conducting scientific research in the field of Environmental Science. Looking back now I can’t remember a life where I didn’t have Geography. The skills I learnt studying geography helps me make all the decisions in my life and has given me the empathy and critical thinking to analyse situations and react to them as I believe is best and for the good of all those involved. It has made me a problem solver, an open-minded thinker and a better person. It has allowed me to see the world in both its beauty but also in its horror and I want to strive to make the world more beautiful. I cannot thank the two geography teachers I had during my high school and sixth form education, they have probably been some of the influential people I’ve had in my life. I’m excited to see what my future with Geography holds and I can’t wait to look back on this period of my life with many happy memories all of which I’m sure will involve Geography in some way, it is after all linked to everything in one way or another.

– Unedited contribution from Rebecca Carver, third-year Natural Sciences undergraduate



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Images and excerpts taken with permission from contributor Juliette Horsford’s Instagram blog: “Juliette The Geographer“. 


Part 2, the final three stories: living with wolves, coming to discover one’s true self, and how nature can safeguard life and sanity. >>>>

Those attending #GAConf19 in Manchester can watch the lyrical performance of #InspiringGeogStories “Geography: Will You Marry Me?” at TeachMeet on the evening of Wednesday 9th April and hear the stories behind the lyrics at 4:20pm on Thursday 10th April. See the conference booklet for details.

For everyone else, TeachMeet will be streamed live via Geography All The Way’s Facebook page from 5:30pm.

Please share your thoughts of these and your own stories using the #InspiringGeogStories on social media.

2 thoughts on “Inspiring Geography Stories – Part 1

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