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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Lao Tzu

Born in Sheffield, Ruth Millington is an award-winning author and travel writer, podcaster, solo adventurer, motivational speaker and lawyer. She is the creator/host of Ruth Millington’s Extreme Holidays Podcast, literary judge for the Page Turner Awards, Brand Ambassador for 10Adventures, and a volunteer for the Women Writer’s Network, regularly tweeting to and hosting online discussions for the network’s 7000+ members.

Her multi-award-winning memoir, Aftershock, (which tells the true story of how she and her best friend survived the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran, their 30-hour rescue attempt to save 12 people with – mostly – their bare hands, her struggles with horrific PTSD and how she went on to become a director of a charity to help children orphaned in the disaster) has been honoured with the following literary awards:

  • 2021, Page Turner Awards, Writing Award for non-fiction – Winner
  • 2021, Yeovil Literary Prize, Writing Without Restriction Award – Shortlisted
  • 2020, Mslexia Memoir and Life-Writing Competition – Finalist/Runner-up
  • 2019, Northern Writers Awards, NorthBound Book Award – Shortlisted

Ruth was an avid reader as a child, but it was the stories of Roald Dahl which inspired her to become a writer. Her love for travel originates from the tales her father told her about the conquering of Everest. Later in her teens, she became obsessed with geography, history and anthropology. Disillusioned by the falsehoods and stereotypes portrayed by the media, Ruth set out to seek the truth first hand and, in doing so, discovered many of the world’s wonders.

However, Ruth did not initially embark on a career as a writer but qualified as a solicitor after university and worked as a senior finance lawyer in The City of London, both in private practice & latterly in-house within major investment banks, advising on complex financial transactions & regulatory matters in emerging and developed markets. Her longing to write never went away though. During holidays or between a change of jobs, she would travel for extended periods (including three separate round the world trips). The Bam earthquake became the catalyst for her to eventually leave her legal career so that she could focus on her writing and undertake a MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University where she completed the first draft of her memoir.

Over the last 30 years, her solo travels have taken her to more than 100 countries, and she has lived in China, Nepal, Thailand, Australia and San Francisco. She has journeyed to some of the remotest areas of the world, survived one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit Iran, chased by a wild rhino and a herd of elephants, held at gunpoint by the Khmer Rouge, trekked across some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, contracted dengue fever and lost half her hair, and accused of being a spy.  She has been a travel tour leader and editor. She tutors in life-writing and is an advocate for women’s rights and opportunities. Considered a role model for young girls and women, Ruth also speaks at schools across the UK about her travel adventures and career choices, in turn challenging gender stereotypes around bravery, heroism and strength.  

Ruth has been honoured with bravery awards from the Royal Humane Society, Vodaphone Life Savers, and a Gold Medal with Red Ribbon from the Austrian government (the highest accolade for bravery & lifesaving) for her rescue efforts in the 2003 Bam earthquake, Iran.

She has been interviewed by and spoken about the Bam earthquake, survival, trauma and mental health on many media outlets including the BBC Ten O’Clock News, BBC News 24, BBC World, BBC Breakfast News, SKY News, Radio 4,  Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service and BBC Radio Scotland. She has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Lonely Planet, Saga Magazine, Psychology Today, The Times, Independent, Guardian, The Sun, Daily Express, Sheffield Star and on the BBC website.  She has also been the subject of a BBC documentary covering her return to Bam, and a six-page feature in Polly Morland’s book: The Society of Timid Souls or How to Be Brave. 

Ruth lives on the edge of the Peak District National Park with her cat, Mackie – her biggest fan and critic.

Writing Awards

  • 2023, Bradt New Travel Writer of the Year Competition in association with the Edward Stanford Travel Writing AwardsRunner-up
  • 2021, Page Turner Awards, Writing Award for non-fiction – Winner
  • 2021, Yeovil Literary Prize, Writing Without Restriction Award – Shortlisted
  • 2020, Mslexia Memoir and Life-Writing Competition – Finalist/Runner-up
  • 2019, Northern Writers Awards, NorthBound Book Award – Shortlisted



Author discussion with Sarah Tinsley about our working class backgrounds (video)

Interview with author/journalist, Liz Champion, about how bravery, heroism and strength are traditionally seen as male virtues and women are overlooked


  • 2023, Extreme Holidays Podcast, Host: Episode 31 (Season 3), 23 May, The Longest Bicycle Race in the World with adventurer and award-winning author, Alice Morrison
  • 2023, Women of Courage Podcast (new series), Host: Episode 1, 14 Mar, Women of Courage Podcast
  • 2023Extreme Holidays PodcastHost: Episodes 28 – 30 (Season 3) including travel influencer, the Barefoot Backpacker (Episode 30), Feb – April, Extreme Holidays Podcast
  • 2023, Interview with HelpYouFind.Me, 23 March, 5 essential tips for Solo Female Travelers by Ruth Millington, award-winning author and travel writer
  • 2023, Bradt Guides New Travel Writer of the Year Competition 2023 in association with the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards, 16 March, Runner-up. You can read my winning entry here.
  • 2023, Go Solo, Go Far, Go Safe Campaign, 15 March – 8 April, mutual collaboration with my sponsor, HelpYouFind.Me, on the Go Solo, Go Far, Go Safe Campaign across all social media platforms including YouTube, TikTock, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • 2023, BBC Radio Sheffield’s BBC Upload Show, 03 Feb, interview with Ellie Colts and reading extract from my memoir, Aftershock. Listen in:
Outlook with Matthew Bannister
  • 2013, The Society of Timid Souls or How to be Brave by Polly Morland (Profile books, UK and Random House, USA, 2013), interviewed for book, pages 118 – 124 
  • 2009, Radio 4’s Saturday Live with Fiona Glover, 11 Apr, live interview
  • 2006, Sky News Live, 24 Apr, live television interview
  • 2005, Daily Express (newspaper), 18 Nov, interview
  • 2005, Radio Hallam, 17 Nov, pre-recorded interview
  • 2005, Radio Sheffield Breakfast News, 17 Nov, live interview
  • 2005, Iran News, 17 Nov, British woman who survived Bam quake wins lifesaving award for rescue efforts
  • 2005, BBC website, 17 Nov, Iran earthquake rescuer honoured 
  • 2005, Vodaphone Life Savers Awards, 17 Nov, filmed and interviewed attending Downing Street with Tony and Cherie Blair, and Savoy Hotel awards ceremony
  • 2005, BBC Breakfast News, 8 Oct, live television interview discussing Kashmir earthquake
  • 2005, Real Radio, 8 Oct, live interview discussing Kashmir earthquake
  • 2005, Vodaphone Life Savers Awards, 30 Sept, advised on and interviewed for a short film
  • 2004, Radio Hallam’s Dean Pepple Show, 26 Dec, live interview
  • 2004, Radio 5 Live Midday News, 24 Dec, live interview
  • 2004, BBC Radio Scotland’s Gary Robertson’s Show, 22 Dec, live interview
  • 2004, BBC Breakfast News, 21 Dec, live television interview in London studios
  • 2004, BBC Breakfast News, 20 – 22 Dec, three-part documentary on my return to Bam
  • 2004, BBC World Service, 20 Dec, radio interview
  • 2004, BBC website, 17 Dec, a year after the earthquake
  • 2004, BBC Breakfast News, Dec, pre-recorded television interview 
  • 2004, Saga Magazine, Dec issue, feature
  • 2004, Radio Sheffield Breakfast Show, 26 Nov, pre-recorded interview from Tehran, Iran
  • 2004, Radio Sheffield Breakfast Show, 10 Nov, my return to Bam, live interview
  • 2004, BBC Breakfast News, Nov, filmed a three-part documentary in Bam, Iran covering my return to Bam a year on after the earthquake to be televised over Christmas week 2004 
  • 2004, The Law Society Gazette, 12 Nov, lawyer honoured
  • 2004, The Lawyer (magazine), Nov, interview
  • 2004, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), 6 Nov, bravery award for lawyer UK
  • 2004, BBC Breakfast News, Yorkshire Television, Press Association, 5 Nov, filmed and interviewed during bravery awards ceremony at Austrian Embassy, London
  • 2004, Lonely Planet Iran, edition 4, Oct, feature, pages 293 – 295
  • 2004, The Guardian, 31 Aug, Pick of the Day TV/Radio
  • 2004, Radio 4’s Between Ourselves with Olivier O’Leary, 17 Mar, pre-recorded interview 
  • 2004, Readers Digest Magazine, Feb, feature

Week of 5 January 2004

  • Third Sector (publication), 14 Jan, UK quake survivor vows to start fund for victims of Bam
  • BBC website, 7 Jan, Quake survivor launches appeal 
  • BBC Look North, pre-recorded and live television interviews
  • Calendar, Yorkshire Television, lunchtime bulletin, pre-recorded television interview
  • BBC Breakfast News, live television interview
  • Community Channel, London, pre-recorded television interview
  • Real Radio, Radio Sheffield, Radio Hall, live interviews
  • BBC website, interview
  • Sheffield Star (newspaper), interview
  • The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun, Daily Express, Sheffield Star, BBC website, featured in published newspaper articles

Week of 29 December 2003


  • 2014-18, Sheffield Hallam University, MA in Writing
  • 1992-93, The College of Law, York, Law Society Finals
  • 1989-92, University of Hull, LLB Hons
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