How cartoons drew this adventurer out of her comfort zone
Tegan Phillips was en route to an office job. The prospect bored her. While completing her studies, a competition to win a bike and cycle across Spain caught her eye. Phillips had no touring experience, just a need for adventure. The 22-year-old doodled a humorous comic as her entry – and won. During her journey through unfamiliar towns and mountains, Phillips illustrated her experiences as cartoons. Upon her return, she realised she’d caught a travel bug. So Phillips got back on her bike, her bags stuffed with pens and notebooks, and set off on a new path.
In 2015, Phillips and her family crossed 11 000 kilometres through Southern and Eastern Africa. “Leaving the life I knew to travel around the world on a bicycle was scary,” she says. Phillips then designed a 25-day Iron Man-style triathlon across New Zealand. She faced anxiety, exhaustion, and fears of swimming in freezing waters. Along the way, Phillips kept drawing. Contentment followed with each scratch of her pen. But so did uncertainty. “I was really struggling in terms of self-doubt,” Phillips says. It was time to be brave again, and embark on her most daring adventure yet.
Phillips is now a full-time illustrator, creating cartoons for her Unclipped Adventure series. “I love comics because they help people take life less seriously and see things from a different perspective,” Phillips says. Her witty sketches are inspiring others to challenge themselves, whether it’s trekking across the world or getting out of bed everyday. “It takes bravery to do what you want,” Phillips says. Leaping out of our comfort zones can be terrifying. But it’s in the unknown that we uncover life’s endless possibilities.