Its been a busy week for all of us since Laura’s blog about our trip to the Palace. Last week I was up in the New Forest at Forres Sandle Manor School presenting to them about our journey. I presented to the Prep School, but then went down into Pre-prep which was a new experience talking to ages 4 – 7. They were particularly interested in whether or not I had seen crabs and lobsters whilst out at sea! Really looking forward to taking part in their sponsored walk on 21st June across the New Forest in aid of our charities. I then also spent Friday evening at the Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate. It was so awesome talking to lots of sailors who have also been in big waves and out at sea, but also people who have used some of the equipment that we used on Doris. A massive thanks to them for digging into their pockets and also raising funds for us.
Laura has been out in Switzerland for the Swiss National Championships for Wheelchair Racing. It is where all of the top Internationals are competing, and also the last time that they are all together before Rio!
Lizanne has been planning her trip over to the UK, which is just so exciting that we will finally for the first time all be together in the same place but more importantly all at the same time! We are really hoping to get lots of team things organised for when she is over, so Lizanne has been busy planning this too!
Izz and Ems went to Kenwick Mountain Festival last weekend. They were asked if they had ever tried rehydrated food. When Ems answered that she had eaten it for a whole 9 months, the guy nearly ate his hat – don’t think that he had had that response before! Ems was also with the Rotary Club in Marlow again, as last night they donated another £1000 to our charities!
Last but not least, Nats has some very exciting news! She has joined forces with New Level Results and Best Year Yet (The results focused and goal setting program that the Team used to help us get to the start line, and also across the pacific). She will be doing individual and team coaching to help others reach their own full potential and cross their own pacific.
We are all collectively making lots of plans for our event on 26th June. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, don’t wait, they are being bought up rather fast, and we would hate you to miss out. Please do invite anyone that you know that followed our journey and would love to meet Doris! You can buy them from the link below!
This week has been a busy one. After returning from Slovenia after a great two weeks away as assistant leader on a personal development programme with children from Churches College, Petersfield, I have been bobbing between Kent and London. Two weeks with seventeen, fourteen year olds where I crossed paths with Ems only once who was also out there, was brilliant, but I’m also happy to be back doing Coxless Crew bits.
I’m back working one day a week doing some freelance sales, and stepping into an office after all of this time was hard, but something that was inevitable in order for me to keep more time free to share The Coxless Crews story.
Yesterday I met up with Nat, Ems and Izz at Izz’s work Powell Gilbert who have been a huge support to us, and we gave a talk to them in the office over lunch. It was quite informal, and I just love talking about the row with the girls, it really makes our talks come alive when we can relive the memory together.
Today I then went to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham and gave a talk to the Sixth Form. They have been raising money for our charities, and were such a brilliant audience. I never thought that we would be able to talk about losing sight of shore and continuously rowing to get to land in relation to revising for A Levels, but today that happened – it was so fantastic speaking to the sixth form after the talk and hearing them say that they were inspired.
In other news yesterday we were invited to Buckingham Palace to present the Duke of Edinburgh awards in May which is VERY exciting to say the least!
Before writing this blog, I googled what ‘Diversity’ actually means in definition terms, and one of the sources I looked at said ‘it means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences’ – and it truly resonated with me and what our team is all about.
Within our team we vary in so many ways – age; interests; experience of rowing; where we live – the list could honestly go on and on. But what brought us together is this incredible experience that we all had together. An adventure that forced us to face our fears, challenged us, more than we have ever been challenged, and as a team, when we are together we somehow manage to bring out the best in each other. I still wonder how, and even why this was possible on Doris. Was it because we had to? No, I don’t think that that was the whole reason, as now back on land despite having this shared experience we really are a close knit group of friends. WhatsApp helps when we are all dotted around UK, and with Lizanne in South Africa, but even still we have this shared passion for what we have done, and the message that we are portraying when we do our talks. I love that moment during a talk when you chat about a particular memory, or a shift and you have a shared smile with that particular person in the team who experienced that moment with you. This photo below is one of those moments:
Right now i’m in Slovenia with a team of fourteen year olds with a brilliant company called True Adventure. Seeing these children outside of their comfort zones whilst trekking is bringing back so many memories. This team is diverse, and yet the way they are working together and using their different strengths is so awesome to see!
What a great day me, LP and Ems have had at the National London Youth Rowing Championships. LP and Ems arrived at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre by car, whereas Meg ended up confused at Tottenham Hale train station with the Cambridge Boys rowing team searching for the shuttle bus!
Once we all arrived we were set to stand and encourage the rowers and wow, we were shocked by how strong some of them were! We also presented medals on the podium to the very deserving 1st, 2nd and 3rd places of a few races which was brilliant and generally just chatted to people.
It was really great to speak with both Cambridge boys and girls teams ready for the up and coming Oxford/Cambridge Boat race in 2 weeks time, as well as chatting with Mark Hunter, rowing Olympic gold medalist .
A massive thank you to the Organisers! What a great event to attend!
Yesterday, we were all asked the question by Andrew at New Level Results ‘How do you feel now it is all over?’ To which I replied: ‘I feel loved’ – and it is true. Amongst so many other emotions that I have running through me on a daily basis at the moment, ‘loved’ is at the top.
I don’t have a job, I’m living between London and my parents in Kent, and I have little money, but my belly has food in it, I am so happy and I feel loved. I have amazing friends and family and I don’t need anything else in my life to make me smile. The ocean breeze blows through my hair when I walk along the coast at home, and at that moment, looking out to sea when the sun is in my eyes, I realise just how lucky I am. Stop. Breathe. Smell. Feel. Taste. Hear, and more than anything love.
If I’m in London, I wake up and turn over to see a boy who means so much to me and has been my absolute rock before and during the row, but also now in this exciting and unknown time of what the future holds. When I’m in Kent I wake up to a delicious vegetable juice made with love by Mikey Boi. My family have lived and breathed the row for the past year. My Aunty Linda who runs Dolphin Swim School with Elaina have raised countless amounts of pounds with their children swimming every length of the 25 metre pool worth a mile of the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. My Aunty Wendy, has taken up running and yoga and ran every day that we were on the Pacific (Wendy has never run before). My Grandparents held a huge strawberry afternoon tea in the summer, raising pounds and pounds, they also sent emails to all of the local press about us, and tell every person they know about our journey. My Aunty Jane, opened up in her very own blog about her experiences of having breast cancer. My sister Amy, wrote to hairdressers all around Cairns for us to get a haircut when we arrived on land – and then there is my mum and her partner Mikey boi. My mum fills me with hope in everything I do, she is the person that says ‘you can do it’ when I come up with another crazy idea, and she is the person who last night walked across hot coals for charity saying that she wishes it had been a bonfire! Without Mikey boi, I’m not sure my mum would be standing to tell the tale of how her daughter was on an unsupported boat in the Pacific, and seeing them both in Australia just made me think how lucky I am! But that’s not even to mention, friends, other family members, and everyone who reads our daily blogs who we have never met that have made us feel so loved.
Then there are the six amazing girls (six because Ella, our social media guru is a complete and utter babette too) that I am just so fortunate to have crossed paths with – the rest of The Coxless Crew! Me and Lizanne worked in some teamwork together yesterday – difficult when one of you is thousands of miles away, but with Facetime my laptop came alive and I loved having Lizanne on my shoulder with me xxx
That doesn’t even name half of the reasons why I feel loved, but it does name a few. Since being back on land despite not being able to catch up with everyone yet, I can’t express how much that the people in each of our lives that are special to us mean. So I suppose this blog is a thank you. Thank you to everyone that has, and continues to support us in our challenge. There is just no way that we could have done it without you, but it’s not over. With more money to raise we need to continue to share our story and raise funds! Can you help?
There was once a traveller who was walking from a village in the mountains to a village in the valley.
As he walked along, he saw a monk working in a field, so he stopped and said to the monk, “I’m on my way to the village in the valley, can you tell me what it’s like?”
The monk looked up from his labour and asked the man where he had come from.
The man responded, “I have come from the village in the mountains.”
“What was that like?” the monk asked.
“Terrible!” the man exclaimed, “no-one spoke my language, I had to sleep on a dirt floor in one of their houses, they fed me some sort of stew that had yak or dog or both in it and the weather was atrocious.”
“Then I think that you will find that the village in the valley is much the same,” the monk noted.
A few hours later another traveller passed by and he said to the monk, “I am on my way to the village in the valley, can you tell what it’s like?”
“Where have you come from?” enquired the monk.
“I have come from the village in the mountains.”
“And what was that like?”
“It was awesome!” the man replied, “No-one spoke my language so we had to communicate using our hands and facial expressions. I had to sleep on the dirt floor which was really cool as I’ve never done that before. They fed me some sort of weird stew and I have no idea what was in it but just to experience how the locals lived was great and the weather was freezing cold, which meant that I really got a taste of the local conditions. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
“Then I think that you’ll find that the village in the valley is much the same,” responded the monk.
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Don’t allow the challenges of life to take away your joy.
There are lots of reasons to complain and be miserable if that’s how you look at life.
There are lots of reasons to be enthusiastic and joyful if that’s how you look at life.
How do you look at life?
I got sent this story when we were rowing, and it really made me smile. It’s also a question from the past week that I have been thinking about, as I attend job interviews and continue to contemplate my career prospects – life is good, and I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying wearing socks and drinking tea. On the other hand, I am still missing my sunset bucket sessions and the heat of the sunshine on my back.
Update: This week I got promoted to an Ebay seller that can now sell 30 items a month instead of 10! I’m so proud of myself I had to share it with you all.
What a brilliant week it has been since my last post! Returning home to Kent last Thursday seems like an age ago. On Sunday we had a family welcome home party, which was so lovely to see everyone and catch up. I received some christmas presents too – christmas in February! My mum and my sister also created an amazing cake with Doris on top – it even had a red toothpaste lid to recreate the bucket, in addition to Eduardo swimming alongside us. My mum did a speech that really got me. The worry that my family went through whilst we were at sea is something that I couldn’t bear to think about whilst on Doris, but now i’m back on land, I can’t imagine what they went through. My Aunty Linda brought a bottle of champagne for every week that we were at sea – 10 weeks! I’m definitely going to need some help to get through those! My mums partner Michael, also bought charts to chart our journey across the Pacific, and it has been awesome looking at the route we took on a larger scale!
Me and Will went for a lovely walk on Sunday morning with my sisters dog, Molly. Its just so strange looking out over the English Channel at the cargo ships coming down from the Thames into the channel heading to France. The sea is nowhere near as blue here, and its much colder, but seeing those white horses crash down onto the harbour wall sends shivers down my spine remembering what it felt like with them crashing onto our heads.
Monday took me back over to GSK for the final bit of my analysis as there wasn’t time when we were last there. It involved me getting back on an erg, and completing my V02 max testing which was as hideous as ever! But its always great catching up with everyone there, and it will be interesting to see the results when all of it is analysed.
Tuesday was the premiere which Ems told you all about in our Tuesday blog – what an awesome evening, can’t get enough of free popcorn, and the film was brilliant!
Today I also popped into see my grandma’s craft group. They have been so incredibly supportive and have raised lots for our charities. If you saw the bunting at our arrival into Marlin Marina, they also made that!
Other than that, its back to the job applications, and catching up on sleep amongst catching up with my friends and family. Bodies healing nicely, bum is still a little worse for wear, but with my concoctions of bio oil and body shop remedies hopefully these scars won’t remain forever.
On another note, on behalf of all of us we would like to give our wishes to the Toby Wallace crew and Mikes family at this terrible time, we just can’t imagine what they must all be going through. For more information please don’t hesitate to read: http://www.oceanusrowing.co.uk/news/
Golly, since stepping onto our business class flight in Cairns it’s been a whirlwind of craziness and finally today I am headed home to Kent! This really has been an experience like no other, and it’s just so great to know that people are so interested in what we have done. Every bit of interest means another potential donation for our chosen charities and that’s where our main focus now lies to get us to 250k.
I was met at the airport by my boyfriend Will who has just been such an amazing support and we headed back to his in East London. On the tube, I couldn’t believe how stressed, unhappy or just disconnected and focused on their phones people looked. It really made me swear to myself that I don’t want to become this ever – I have definitely been any one of these people above before, but if there is one thing that the row has taught me it is to take everything stroke by stroke and control the controllables, and no matter what the situation, you will be able to face it. We have only one life, and I want to choose to love the life I live and live the life I love – and in anyway I can, live in the moment. After our media week I headed down to Bath to see my best friend. I also managed to catch up with Keith, our sports psych which was great to have a personal debrief on the last leg. Whilst Rose worked in the daytime I tried to chill, but my mind has been constantly busy since our return. How can I make my dreams of helping people to live in the moment and realise and live their own dreams and make money at the same time, a reality! If anyone has any suggestions or offers of employment in this area please do let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
I write this blog whilst in the car driving home to Kent from the West Country with my sister Amy and I can’t believe how fast we are travelling with such little effort. In fact, it has baffled me re-entering real life how little we really have to exert ourselves to do anything. My bum is still sore, and I desperately miss the girls and the bubble that we lived in. So many people are asking questions forcing me to become nostalgic at all moments, and I stand by the fact that 95 percent of the time I just loved being out at sea. I still haven’t fully understood what we have achieved, but for now, that’s fine. I plan to roll with the waves and refuse to fully acknowledge real life for a little longer before accepting that rowing quite far away from land in a boat called Doris, is a beautiful memory.
Update: Today we travelled 125 miles by car in a three hour period. We saw a beautiful sunset across fields of green, and saw a dead fox. Looking at the English channel from land has never been so inviting – and yet, I just can’t wait to see all of my family on Sunday!
As I have just put the phone down to some of my best friends Chanelle and Richard in Melbourne who are flying out to Cairns for our arrival over the weekend whenever that maybe, I find myself in the aft cabin. We spend fifty percent of our time on Doris in this cabin, and today I lie here hoping with all of my toes and fingers crossed that we arrive before they leave on Sunday.
I also lie here thinking of the space that I have shared with these girls for 74 days, and that they have shared for 255 days. I think of what it will feel like to have my own space again, and how I will feel about being able to stand up without holding onto and being attached to something, how it will feel to chew a main meal, to stand up and shower, to drink out of something other than a squirty bottle. I can’t even imagine what it will feel like to feel cold on a winters day, to not have to wipe the sweat off of my body, and to sit on a toilet seat. To not be able to see a 360 degree horizon, to not have to watch a wave heading towards you in slow motion, knowing that at any moment it will splash you. To not have to constantly cake your bum cheeks in sudocreme, and to not have to hold our faces in a position on the oars where we are shaded by our caps. What will it feel like to be able to stand up whenever we want to, and to not laugh at someone else’s or your own discomfort, knowing that if you don’t you might cry, and to not know that 6 hours sleep is the absolute maximum amount of sleep you will achieve in a 24 hour period – also to know that that will be broken up into 4 separate 1.5 hour naps. What will it feel like to walk more than 4 steps at any one time and in any direction, to never row again, and to not be bobbing up and down in the Pacific Ocean?!
So today I thought I’d focus on the ins and outs of the aft cabin. The aft cabin, the size of a two man tent is our lounge, our kitchen, our bedroom, our dining room, our cloak room and our office. I recall on day 40, speaking to my friend Rose, and screaming down the phone to her that I was ‘ON MY OWN IN THE CABIN’. LP had gone into the fore cabin to stretch out, and after 40 days I couldn’t believe how big the aft cabin suddenly felt. However, to put it into perspective, a sleeping shift involves two people top and tailing. The person with their head at the tail end of the aft cabin under the port hatch has the option to lie on their side, or alternatively lie on their back or front, but with no space for arms to the side of the body they must then be put above the head. The other person lies with their head by the door, metres from the bin in the footwell. At night this also becomes the end that is the cloakroom for our often wet, wet weather gear. At this end of the cabin the person has the option to lie on their back with arms to the side, or alternatively lie on their side. However if they decide to lie on their back, it must be noted that their legs will need to remain crossed, due to space issues. I also recall speaking to my sister on another occasion, explaining to her that my feet were more than a foot away from each other in the aft cabin due to Ems being in the fore cabin. Her confusion of why I was excited at this, says it all. These are just two examples of how small the aft cabin actually is, and what it begs me to question is how we have done it!
The answer I suppose, is patience and good manners! You’ll often hear from on the oars when the pair inside are getting ready to changeover, ‘would you’, ‘could you’, ‘would you mind’, ‘when you get a second’, ‘I’d be really grateful if you could,’ ‘would it be possible’ – the list goes on! Other than using the bucket, everything on Doris is a two man job in one way or another. Whether it is the constant conveyor belt of passing items to each other from one end of the boat to the other, to rowing in time with each other, to sharing the space of the aft cabin, it requires a team mentality and really there is no space for just thinking of yourself on Doris.
So, yes I’m excited about being able to lie in a bed in a star fish position under a duvet without having to worry about touching the person next to me, but at the same time, it’s the best thing in the world sharing every moment with someone, and the moment we step off of Doris, I know that it is quite unlikely that I will ever share a space as small as this with anyone else. So, on what looks like my last time, lying under the port hatch writing a blog from the Pacific Ocean, I thank you for reading, and following us in our journey across this almighty ocean, and I look forward to writing more from land!
Update: Minutes after hearing Nat tell me how when she was young she would sit in the garden with breadcrumbs thinking that she was Snow White and that animals would come to her, the Boobie attack commenced. ‘Incoming, incoming’ I shouted, as again for the 15th time, the red footed Boobie headed straight for us, attempting to land above our heads. It landed on Nats oars, my oars, balanced on the grab rail, came inchingly close to landing on my bare legs with its sharp claws, and then after over twenty attempts it found the aft cabin roof! We have also had another Galapagos shark follow Doris over the past few days. We have named him Oscar, and believe it or not, despite my fear of these creatures, I’m actually quite a fan of this small guy!