59. Kris Hallenga; Coppa Feel Campaigner on Travel Plans Scuppered and Created, Beijing, Iceland, Australia and Disney - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 59
March 12 , 2019

59. Kris Hallenga; Coppa Feel Campaigner on Travel Plans Scuppered and Created, Beijing, Iceland, Australia and Disney

Aged just 22 Kris Hallenga returned from a trip to Beijing to be told she had incurable cancer. Ditching plans to travel the world she threw herself into building Coppa Feel, her wonderful charity. ‘Passion can take you to some incredible places’ she says, and her message HAS taken her to wonderful places – literal and metaphorical. She recently celebrated her ten year ‘cancerversary’ and has some inspirational words for us all about enjoying travel, enjoying life, enjoying every moment. 


On this episode we cover:

Having just got back from Disneyland Paris

Thinking Disney Orlando would be too overwhelming

‘One of the perks of having Stage 4 cancer’ is skipping the queues

Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Pluto smoking a cigarette drinking wine at lunchtime

Being vibrant and full of fun but living with a serious disease

Taking time out when she’s not well

Being natural for her to want to experience everything

Her current cancer treatment

Feeling much better than she has in a long time

When the cancer gets to her

Trying to represent herself authentically on social media

How ten years of treatment has given her coping strategies

Becoming the boss of her own health

Celebrating her ten year ‘cancerversary’

Travel being in her blood and dear to her heart

Studying travel and tourism

Growing up in Germany with her sisters and mother

Germany’s beautiful coast and islands

Moving to England age 10

Kris and her twin Maren talking German in the playground

Understanding German

First mentioning the lump in her left breast on a trip to Barcelona

Being on an internship in Beijing when the cancer symptoms really worsened

Loving her time in China

Studying Mandarin

Working for a Chinese/French travel agency

Crazy Beijing nights out

Having to become very adult very quickly

Being the only white female on the subway

Feeling very alien and standing out

The thrill of travel aged 22

The Beijing Olympics affecting visas

Returning to England and seeing a GP

Having to change her plans to teach English abroad

Finally being diagnosed with incurable breast cancer

How the diagnosis made her feel

Being baffled and confused about cancer

Thinking that this was going to be the end

Managing to fly to San Francisco ten months after her diagnosis

Wanting to feel like a traveller again

Wanting to explore a world far removed from cancer

Travelling Australia with her twin sister

Inheriting the travel bug from her mother

Working in apple packing factories

Wolf Creek!

Going on the longest bus journey in the outback

Sleeping outdoors near Ayers Rock/Uluru

Loving everything about Australia

Buying a camper van

How young travellers should ditch the boyfriend at home!

Spending a lot of time in phone booths calling the boyfriend

Remembering the positive things when you look back

Travelling pre-technology

Disappearing for weeks abroad and being un-contactable by phone

Getting piggy backs from the army in Langkawi, Malaysia

Falling in the water and losing all her belongings

How Facetime, What’s App and social media have changed travel

Setting up her charity Coppa Feel

Getting the go ahead for charity status

How persuading the Prime Minister’s wife to check on the charity status at Downing Street was the very rock n roll

The invaluable support from celebrities for the charity

Ferne Cotton’s incredible impact on awareness

How being on Fearne Cotton’s podcast, Happy Place, made a huge difference

How 21 year olds understandably don’t think about checking their breasts

Coppa Feel’s aim to get us all checking our breasts

Trekking through Iceland for the charity

The magic and incredible bonds built on the treks

This year’s trek through the Himalayas

Being overwhelmed with applications for the trek

This being the toughest and biggest one yet

Sending 100 people to the Himalayas

Living vicariously through the people who were there

The most exhilarating moment of the Iceland trek being the end

Being very tired due to cancer medication

Having terrible mouth ulcers on the trek

The huge sense of achievement

How trekking in Iceland’s black sands feels like you’re on the moon

The hardy plants that grow in this harsh environment

Visiting the Blue Lagoon

Happening upon the perfect waffle house

Feeling particularly badass in their hired Hummer

Not having been to the Maldives

Loving living by the ocean in Cornwall

Newquay airport flying to some great places

Relaxing by the beach in Faro in Portugal

Snorkelling and swimming and eating fresh fruit in the Philippines

‘Exes with benefits’

Lisa being told by a clairvoyant that she would feel at home in the Philippines

Volunteering in an orang-utan conservation place in the jungle in Borneo

Finding themselves on their own for a month

Becoming friends with the orang-utans

Bonding with Louise from Egham

How she feels travel is one of the best things you can do

Encouraging people with illnesses to travel if possible

Travel insurance being a huge issue for people with incurable diseases

Not getting special insurance

The terrible health insurance issue in the US

How people with cancer are more cautious and probably not a bad insurance bet

Not having had any experimental treatment abroad

But not ruling it out

Friends having treatment in Germany and Istanbul

The rise in health tourism

Kris’ top 10 tips for making every day great (how she celebrated her ten year cancerversary)

How we should all celebrate getting older

How passion can take you to some incredible places

How finding something you believe in makes life the best

Dancing in the kitchen

How singing and dancing can make your soul soar

Dancing with her friends to Little Mix at Disney

How Jack Johnson reminds her of sunny and beach-life days travelling around Australia