A team unites!!

x Just a quick thank you x

Well….what can we say…

An amazing day surrounded by wonderful people, great energy, cocktails, raffle prizes, sunshine and laughter!

A HUGE thank  you to everyone that came to share a momentous moment when the 6 Coxless Crew were together for the FIRST TIME ever!! Doris was also there in person to allow everyone an opportunity to meet her and see our home.
Interesting how some people commented that she was so much smaller than they thought she would be and others said she was bigger!?!

Pink ladies

There were welcome drinks by the wonderful Albion Racing Club a great hog roast lunch outside on the balcony and plenty of friends, family and supporters.

Albion

lunch time!

Super exciting to finally meet Jim Andrews and Simon TY who, as you all know, commented on our blogs every day whilst we were out on the ocean showing us so much invaluable support.
We love the way they instantly felt like old friends on our first face to face meeting. Thank you once again for all the encouragement and for keeping us rowing…
(JG and Barney you were missed but were there in spirit!)

We did a brief chat about some of our highlights and lowlights and then opened the floor up to a Q&A. Incredible to have the ever fabulous Sarah Osborne and Ceri from Breast Cancer Care there and Kate McKeand from Walking With The Wounded representing our charities and helping the event run smoothly. A big thank you!

the room

Pink ladies and family

We could not have done this without you ALL.
Old friend and new friends. It’s all about a team united and that is what Sunday’s event was all about.
A wonderful sense of community and connection.

A sincere THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all your endless support, encouragement and patience.

Thanks to all the photographers especially Carlos and more photos to come soon.
We’re off to Cornwall this weekend…so we’ll keep you all updated on the shenanigans!! x

 

 

 

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The power of music…

Prince’s death this week has had a huge impact on many people that we know.

His music has been playing on radio stations, TV programs, mobile phones, ipods and laptops countrywide. I had a personal hour-long Prince tribute over the weekend and we played a couple of his albums on the boat when we were out on the ocean. There are a few songs in particular (I wanna be your lover, 1999 and Kiss) that instantly transport me back to the 90’s, a time of no responsibilities, carefree fun with friends at school, my first boyfriend and days of dancing!

prince-x750

The power of music has always amazed me and its power during the row was invaluable. Amongst many other performance enhancing strategy techniques that we used, music was one of the most effective tools.

We used it to shift our mind quickly from one mindset to another. Waking up at 3am and knowing we had to get up and out on the oars to row yet again or unwinding after an adrenalin filled shift and calming the mind ready to sleep.

Music is a wonderful motivator – we all had our personal power songs that we used to help us through times of monotony, discomfort and frustration on the Pacific. Everyone loves a good power mix to workout to at the gym or on a run.

Music is an effective distracter – It was a great way to pass a 2-hour row shift

Music is one of the best memory joggers – I love how memories always come flooding back when you hear a song or the way you can remember lyrics to a song even if you haven’t heard it for 15 years!

Music inspires emotion – I think most people have been overcome with great happiness and joy, sadness or reflection when listening to certain music.

It moves you. It penetrates deep into your soul and stirs emotion.

Music makes you move – A great tune will make you tap your feet, nod your head, move your hips, shake your shoulders or generally move in whatever way you feel inspired to and dance until you can’t dance no more. Dancing to music makes my heart sing! It’s also one of the best socials we had on Doris – a random 15-minute dance session with no-one watching us except the Boobies and Oceania!

Dance

Although I was unofficially banned from singing on the boat – I loved a good sing-a-long, and any opportunity that came up – LP and I would get our groove on. Some of you may remember us mention our ‘row dance’ – well…here it is…

Laura and Nat doing a little ‘row dancing’ during our journey.
(We’re even in purple – just for Prince!)

https://vimeo.com/140543607

Sometimes we forget the influence music has.

Make sure you have songs easily accessible that you know will quickly lift your spirits if you’re having a challenging moment or day, make you smile when you feel like crying, give you energy when you have none, relax you when you’re stressed and uptight, transport you back to a moment in time and make you remember that there are certain things in life that unite us all!! x

 

 

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How do we control our frustration??

What exactly is frustration?

It’s how we react to situations that make us angry, sad or disappointed. It’s OUR emotional response and so surely we should be able to control it?

We all experience frustration in one shape or form – often! I may even go as far as saying that it’s an emotion we most probably feel on a daily basis. Work, relationships, getting stuck in traffic or being delayed on the tube, when something doesn’t live up to your expectation, trying to master a new skill, forgetting to do something, having to rely on other people, the weather, bad time management…there are many elements of everyday life that can provoke this feeling of disgruntlement if not managed well enough.

There are many ways to deal with frustration and many reasons for it to surface in our thoughts.

For us, when we were out in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, I would say that frustration was an emotion we felt on more than a few occasions!

We had good reason. Our expedition was filled with challenges. We were sleep deprived, hot, continuously damp and uncomfortable. There were days where we rowed hard against current and wind but travelled negative miles or in the wrong direction. There were days where we battled to keep the 1-tonne Doris facing the right way and when she kept swinging round the waves would crash continuously across her deck. There were moments where the pain or discomfort of our salt sores and pressure wounds were so distracting that we needed to wait for 10 minutes of a rowing shift before our backsides or hands became numb and we could push through the 2 hours. Our ipods broke, we lost our favourite bikini top, flannels or tupperware overboard or we just simply got bored of eating the same food over and over again!
It was understandable that we felt discouraged.

How did we control those feelings of being annoyed when we couldn’t achieve what we wanted? How did we rise above the frustration and how did we deal with it?

I’d like to share three of the techniques that seemed to work.

  1. Control the controllable

One of the most important questions to ask in any situation is ‘can you control it?’ We can only control the controllable, so if something is truly outside your control, then surely you are wasting valuable time and energy on something that you will never be able to change. It’s amazing how often we forget this simple fact.

So, on Doris, we would remind each other that we could only control the controllable when we saw someone get frustrated.

  1. YOU control your thoughts and how you react to situations / You are in charge of how you feel so choose a different emotion!

Understanding that we are all in charge of how we react to situations and how we choose to behave to them is in our control, makes you a lot more self-aware. Feeling frustrated is not a good, uplifting or positive feeling, so ideally we want to choose not to think in a way that will lead us to the emotion of frustration.

During the 9 months of the expedition, when I started to let my thoughts run away with themselves, I would bring myself back to the moment and find something different to concentrate my energies on. Watching the ever-changing movement and colours of the ocean or the shifting shapes of the clouds in the sky, telling each other life stories or listening to music were all great ways to transform our thoughts and shift our mindset to a more positive one.

Beauty

  1. Breathe

It is always beneficial to stop, check in with yourself and breathe!

This is an invaluable tool that can be used in almost every situation you find yourself in when you feel as if your emotions or sensations are taking over.
Just breathe slowly and deeply – in for 5 and out for 5.

It has been said that it is better to view frustration as ‘delayed success’ not as ‘failure’ and then at least you know that you can overcome it, while others say that frustration is an essential part of success…so who really knows!??

All I know that is that through all the peaks and troughs of life out on the ocean, the challenges and the frustrations, the magical moments and beauty, we did our best, as a team, to fully embrace all the emotions that came our way and learn from every situation. We must have done something right as we were not only successful, but we achieved what we set out to do… in style.
We did it with honesty, humility, SPIRIT and laughter!!

Now…let’s see if we can continue dealing with life’s challenges in the same way on dry land!!! x

Laughter

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Be mindful…

Natalia Cohen By

What an amazing week we have had as a team with talks for ‘Night of Adventure’, the Rotary District Conference in Marlow, iSportconnect, the Cambridge University Women’s Boatclub crew, to name a few. It’s been diverse and exciting and reminded me how different we all are as a team yet how well we always pull together!

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The idea for the coming months is to have different topics to discuss on a weekly basis in our blogs if there are no events to share with you.

This week is about mindfulness.

Calm

Whoever we are and whatever we do, I think that there is this undeniable feeling of disharmony in the world at the moment. Nature is giving us signs all the time and I think we have all become a little more aware of the importance to look after not only our physical health but also our mental wellbeing. Finding that time to forget the stresses of everyday life, try to quiet the mind and find the perfect work/personal life balance!

One of the best things about being in the middle of the ocean for me, was all the time we had to be mindful. No mobile phone distraction, societal pressures to consider and to be able to connect fully to the surroundings and to each other as a team. Everything we did was worthy of our undivided attention. We truly listened to one another, we tasted what we ate, we really saw what we looked at and sound and emotion was heightened. I’ve promised myself that I will always bring myself back to that mindful state and carry those oceanic moments with me wherever I find myself – even in the middle of the chaotic city of London!

For us collectively as a team, some of the most special memories from the journey are the silent star-strewn nights, the magnificent sunsets, getting to know each other’s life stories and those hysterical moments when something in that instant made us laugh uncontrollably. For me, there was something very mindful about all of these situations – as we were fully present.

Have a great weekend everyone and remember:

“ In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility ”

                                                                                                                          Victoria Moran

beauty in the ocean

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Mother’s Day

Natalia Cohen By

Mother's Day

We can’t believe a year has gone by since last Mother’s Day! (photo above)

All we can say right now is THANK YOU. Thank you to all of our mothers for their unfailing support, guidance, strength and love that they have shown us. We would not be the women we are today without you and words cannot express how much we appreciate everything you have done for us.

Looking forward to re-creating this photo later in the year with Lizanne, Adri, Meg and Sally!!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all those amazing women out there!! x

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Speaking…for our charities

We have entered a challenging phase of our journey. The expedition is complete but our work is not yet done. We are all either in or looking for full time employment and will be committing extra time and dedication to driving the fundraising forward.

Now, more than ever, it’s all about increasing the awareness and support for our two very worthwhile charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.

Once again we are all going to be working outside our comfort zones for the coming months.

The more speaking we do about our journey, the more apparent it becomes that there is so much to say. This was a multi-dimensional project, that’s for sure. When we are together we can easily talk for hours and hours but our presentations are targeted and specific. The skills we have learnt from the experience are numerous and we just want to share our insights with the world.

Some of the key areas that we can relate to any business and are all happy to talk about include:

  • Leadership
  • Team work/dynamics
  • Psychological training
  • Importance of preparation
  • Safety
  • Science
  • Adventure
  • Working outside your comfort zone
  • Mindfulness and positive mindset
  • Women empowerment

If anyone knows of any companies, businesses or events where After Dinner, keynote or motivational speakers are needed than please let us know.

You can email us at natalia@coxlesscrew.com

Our speaking engagements are going to be a great way to encourage more followers and therefore more donations to our charities. Honestly speaking, this is the time where we need as much money, help and support from as many people as possible!

What will you get in return? A powerful and inspirational story that will not only make you stop and question a few things about yourself, surroundings and life but also some tools that you can use to take away and put into practice yourself x

 

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Health, relationships and happiness…

Natalia Cohen By

Health, friendship and happiness

I can’t believe it’s been one month since we stepped foot on land and ended our oceanic journey and one year since my last birthday!

Time certainly flies.

It’s been a fantastic week. The sun has been shining, my body is slowly healing and I’ve spent quality time with beautiful friends – old and new.

I have always believed that being as healthy as you can and having strong relationships are the main things you need to maintain a positive mindset and happy existence. Everything else that happens in life is incidental. Wealth, success, fame, adventure; they all mean different things to different people and don’t necessarily make you happy.

This week I’ve been tending to my physical and emotional well-being.

I’ve been stretching and strengthening my body slowly by doing some walking, pilates and yoga. It’s going to be a gradual process getting my tone back and increasing my strength again, but I’m being gentle with myself and enjoying the non-impact exercise. I’ve had a dental check up and tooth clean (very necessary after the 9 months of snack pack consuming) and received results back from my blood test showing that I have no deficiencies.

One of my biggest health concerns caused by our relentless sun exposure has also now been alleviated after a visit to the dermatologist and a skin check completed with the all clear given.

As well as spending a lot of time with my amazing brother and father (my mum is in Cape Town), I have been catching up with a number of friends and enjoying quality time with special people that I share a long history and deep connection with.

On my birthday yesterday I received messages from friends from all over the world (Facebook is a wonderful thing!) and it gave me an opportunity to reflect on the incredible relationships I have developed over my 41 years of life and in particular over the last year with the girls. There is definitely something to be said for having strong, supportive, positive relationships with your family, friends, partners and/or community.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2472.

 

As I head to Oxfordshire this weekend to continue birthday celebrations and spend time with my best friend in the whole wide world, I have just watched a very wonderful TED talk about ‘What makes a good life?’ by Robert Waldinger who actually shares my belief on the importance of good relationships.

Having done a 75-year-old study on adult development he has access to data on true happiness and satisfaction and what it is that actually does keep us happy and healthy are in fact having close relationships and real social connections.

So as we move into the weekend, I urge you to re-connect with an old friend, forgive someone you’ve been holding a grudge against for so long that you can’t even remember why or make the time to connect genuinely with your partner/friend/parent/sibling/self.

Life is short and the one thing we have in common is that we all want to live it happily and healthily! x

 

 

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Always remember…

Natalia Cohen By

Always remember…

Believe

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No Expectations

Natalia Cohen By

No expectations…

This blog is dedicated to the lovely Lizanne as we had many a discussion on the oars regarding this subject. We never did come to an agreement but we enjoyed this fact, as we actually seemed to agree on pretty much everything else.

in the rain

What exactly are expectations and are they a good thing to have?

Having an anticipated outcome in your mind already of how you are going to feel about a place, person, situation or experience is an expectation.

How can we possibly know what will happen in the future?

Surely we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment with this preconceived idea or notion? So why do we do it?

I make an effort, wherever possible, not to have expectations as the reality very rarely is as good as what the imagination can create.

I have hope rather than expectations.

Being prepared is very different to having expectations and I do believe you can prepare fully for most events mentally and practically.

I had no expectations whatsoever for the row and, to be honest, I think that was the best way to be. I was able to experience things when they happened in a balanced and openhearted way without any predetermined ideas.

I’m not going to lie though; I did have hope for Samoa. I think the main reason was that when I travelled Hawaii in 2013 I went to the Polynesian Cultural Centre and of all the islands represented, Samoa was the one that grabbed my interest the most. There was something that resonated with me and a seed was sown that Samoa had to make it on to my list of top travel destinations. A year later the Row came along!

The island’s deep cultural connection with the ocean inspired me and, as it turned out, for me personally, our arrival into Samoa moved me more than our arrival into Cairns.

Samoa

(In Samoa. Photo by Alana Fickes)

What has been interesting being back on land are the expectations and often misconceptions everyone has had of us.

‘You must be really fit!’, ‘you must have been so scared’, ‘Are you finding it tough to adjust?’, ‘have you found it difficult to sleep for 8 hours?’ and now and the main question on everyone’s lips…

’What are you going to do next?’

I have absolutely no idea.

I am, however, open to any interesting opportunities that may come my way. Although the travel industry is where my experience lies, I now know that we can achieve anything we set our minds to, so I am excited to see what prospects are out there.

In the meantime I stumbled across a very distinctive company that offer a unique travel concept that I find fascinating and was instantly intrigued. It is a company called Traveleyes that allow blind and partial sighted travellers to unite with sighted travellers and have the experience of a lifetime.

Over the last 15 years I have lived and worked in a variety of different destinations and immersed myself in many cultures. It it always the multi-sensory experience of each place that amazes me. Not only the sights but also the sounds, smells, flavours and feelings you get from exploring somewhere new.

During the row there were hours, days and months of only the ocean as our view, and we often needed to draw upon the other senses to create variety for ourselves. I would regularly spend time concentrating my attention on a different sense to that of sight and, especially at night time, in the pitch black endless sea, it was incredible to learn about the power of the mind and how heightened the other senses would become. It’s amazing how, with some mindfulness and concentration we can tune into these other senses and the sensations they provoke.

 x —————————– x

So…with no expectations, I have set my intention to be relaxed and open-minded over the next few weeks and see where the current of life takes me. Just as the waves will eventually wash up onto the shore, I know that the universe will guide me to my next adventure x

 

 

 

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