Adventure Women

31 Things Everyone Should Be Able To Do By Age 16

Single mum-of-four and solo adventurer Audrey Sutherland came up with this list. What do you think?

Photo: Pinterest

You’ve probably not heard of Audrey Sutherland. Neither had we until we came across this post on Patagonia yesterday.

You should be happy and comfortable alone for ten days, ten miles from the nearest other person

Audrey was an intrepid female adventurer who grew up in California before moving to Hawaii and living there until her death aged 93.

She brought up four children as a single mother – as well as setting out on a solo adventure every summer.

Photo: Adventurer Hanahou Magazine

Her first expedition was swimming the northern coast of Moloka’i in 1962 – while wearing jeans and towing her equipment on a raft behind her.

Liz Daley Was Killed In An Avalanche Last Year, But Her Friends Have Found An Inspiring Way To Remember Her

She soon bought an inflatable kayak and spent every year exploring Hawaii, British Columbia and Alaska by herself.

Alongside being an all-round remarkable woman, she made a list of things she thought every sixteen year old child should be able to do (regardless of gender):

  • Swim 400 yards easily
  • Do dishes in a strange house, and your own
  • Cook a simple meal
  • See work to be done and do it
  • Care for tools and always put them away after use
  • Splice or put a fixture on an electric cord
Photo: Pinterest
  • Know basic information about five careers that suit you
  • Volunteer to work for a month in each of those fields
  • Clean a paintbrush after use
  • Change a diaper, and a tyre
  • Listen to an adult talk with interest and empathy
  • Take initiative and responsibility for school work and home chores
Photo: Zilvitis Vakaras Ezere
  • Dance with any age
  • Clean a fish and dress a chicken
  • Drive a car with skill and sanity
  • Know and take responsibility for sexual conception and protection when needed
  • Know the basic five of first aid: restore breathing and heartbeat, control bleeding, dilute poisons, immobilize fractures, treat for shock
  • Write a business letter
Photo: Sarah Lyon
  • Spend the family income for all bills and necessities for two months
  • Know basic auto mechanics and simple repair
  • Find your way across a strange city using public transportation
  • Be happy and comfortable alone for ten days, ten miles from the nearest other person
  • Save someone drowning using available equipment
  • Find a paying job and hold it for a month
Photo: Kimberly Morford
  • Read at a tenth grade level
  • Read a topographic map and a chart
  • Know the local drug scene for yourself
  • Handle a boat safely and competently (canoe, kayak, skiff, sailboat)
  • Operate a sewing machine and mend your own clothes
  • Operate a computer as needed
  • Do your own laundry

What do you think? We think there are definitely still a few we still need to tick off the list – and we are way past 16!

If you want to learn more about Audrey Sutherland, you should definitely read her books Paddling My Own Canoe and Paddling North.


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.