In a year’s time – if all goes to plan – I’ll be four days away from Monterey Bay, alone on the open ocean and rowing towards Hawaii. The reality of actually having undertaken this challenge has finally crept up on me.
I’ve wanted to row an ocean for about seven years, since I first read an email from Sarah Outen looking for other rowers to row the Indian Ocean with her. I was in my second year at Oxford and it didn’t feel like quite the right time yet, despite the appeal. In the end Sarah made the decision to row solo anyway, which she went on to do in 2009. For me though, the idea would not go away, and for the last couple of years it has been becoming ever more present, reinforced by my reading about other ocean rows – from Harbo and Samuelsson, the first ocean rowers back in 1896, to modern women such as Roz Savage and Sarah Outen. Both Roz and Sarah have been kind enough to answer my questions and give me advice over the last two years, something for which I am really grateful – Sarah even spent an hour on Skype to me from Japan, midway through her own latest expedition!
About a month ago I finally made the decision that the time to row that ocean was now, rather than ‘someday.’ I entered the Great Pacific Race as a solo competitor and began telling a few people, while quietly putting together a website (with a lot of help!). I joined Twitter, spoke to an accountant, set up a separate bank account specifically for the row, contacted my chosen charity, discussed fundraising ideas, and began to prepare myself for telling more people.
Today is when I finally told most people I know. I put together a Facebook page and invited everyone I know on Facebook. I am soon to do the same via email. The moment I started inviting all those people was the moment it really became real to me – the moment I could no longer back out.
Today I am excited, and want to thank all of you who have taken the time to visit this site, to like my Facebook page, to follow me on Twitter, to send me messages of support, to suggest contacts, and to help in all the ways that I have already stared to see happen. A solo venture can feel lonely and overwhelming at times, but knowing that I have all of you on board makes all the difference!