The Sofia Log

Vanuatu: In Search of Female Chiefs

April 9, 2017  

The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography, founded in 1830. RGS enshrines such famous names as David Livingstone, Shackleton, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Charles Darwin and Edmund Hillary. In September 2016, I saw Sir Richard Leakey speak at the Royal Geographical Society about his childhood in Kenya. I left inspired and dreamed about the day (probably some 30 years down the road) when I too would present my research at the Royal Geographical Society.

Turns out I didn’t have to wait 30 years. I was invited to give a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London on March 22nd as part of the Geographical Journey’s: an evening of microlectures. It was an evening packed with tales of adventure and discovery by 6 young explorers hosted by anthropologist and broadcaster Mary-Ann Ochota FRGS. 

For those of you that didn’t make it to London, fear not! You can hear about my search for female chiefs (ngwotari) and wild goose chase to interview a rock in the video below. 

The Sofia Log

March 20, 2017  

Besides being the 2016 Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholar in Public Policy, Sophie Hollingsworth is a modern female explorer (she has sailed across the Pacific Ocean, transected Madagascar, and at the time of certification, was the youngest female to obtain a 200-ton MCA Yachtmaster Captains License); a field researcher (currently part of a world-first expedition to document and conduct the only ethnographic study of the female chiefs of Maewo Island, Vanuatu); the Founder and Director of Operations of AquaAid International (an organization establishing sustainable sources of clean drinking water and basic sanitation in remote Central American jungles); a proud member of The Explorers Club, The Royal Geographical Society, and Flag Carrier of WINGS Worldquest; an ex-ballerina (she danced the role of the Spanish Doll with the Moscow Ballet in the 2009 Nutcracker Season); and possibly also leads some kind of septuple-life as a crime-fighting superhero (although this is as yet unverified).

While in Australia, Sophie’s paramount focus will be on shared political interests and cooperation between the U.S. and Australia in trade, security, and development related to health security via a Master’s program at the University of Sydney’s Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Disease and Biosecurity.
We wanted to share Sophie’s stories, so we’ll be bringing you a curated collection of her adventures via her blog, The Sofía Log

Sophie teaches rural Nicaraguans about water filtration

About The Sofia Log

Far too many of us experience the world through a single cultural paradigm, our own. We all face the same challenges, food, water, shelter, the desire for happiness and love. Yet given the common challenges, the range of cultural adaptation is astonishing! The world is incredibly diverse all these peoples can teach us that there are other possibilities, other ways of thinking, and other ways of interacting with the Earth.


The Sofía Log seeks to inspire women (and men) to get outside and explore the unknown, whether that means a new restaurant around the corner or trekking across Papua New Guinea. Exploration is out there!