Be mindful…

Natalia CohenBy

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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Telling our story

Emma MitchellBy

This week has been a busy one for sharing our story at a lot of exciting places. First up was Saturday when Laura and I attended the Rotary District 1090 conference. The Marlow Rotary clubs have been incredibly supportive of the row and it was nice to share our journey with their wider family. The spirit of Rotary where people come together to have a positive impact on their communities as well as across the world shone through the day and we were also lucky enough to hear from some other inspiring speakers. The collection for the event was in aid of our charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded and thanks to the generosity of the 700 delegates we raised a huge £1600.

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Next up was Tuesday’s ‘Night of Adventure’ hosted by Al Humphries and with a host of adventurous speakers. With only 400 seconds and 20 slides allowed for each presentation it was a challenge for everyone. For us it meant that the 5 of us only got 80 seconds each and teamwork was essential. Next time we need Lizanne here for a minute each! It was an inspiring and entertaining night and we were so glad to have been invited to be a part of it.

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Finally tonight, 10 years after I won my boat race Izzy and I headed to London to speak to the Cambridge University Women’s Boatclub crews who are into the last 10 days before their big race. We met some of them before we left last year and it was great to share our success and stories with them and reminisce about our days training in Ely. I am really excited to watch them race in Easter Sunday against Oxford.

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If you, your company or your school are interested in having us speak then please get in touch at info@coxlesscrew.com.

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Catch up with Keith

Yesterday Natalia, Emma, Laura, Izzy and Lizanne (via Skype) headed to near Bradford upon Avon to spend the day with Keith, our team psychologist (of Zeus Performance Psychology).  We were hosted by Keith at his beautiful home and spent the day looking ahead at “stage 3″ of the row project.  Among other things, we considered what we want to achieve as a team in the coming months, our team dynamics now that we are back on dry land, and what we each want to take from the row individually going forward.

At lunch time, we got the chance to catch up with Keith’s wife Helen and daughter Eloise (nearly 3 now) and Pam, Helen’s mother.  As is always the case when we meet as a team and meet with Keith, we talked all day and could have kept going long after we had to leave!  Thanks to Keith, we left the session with more clarity and focus.

Tomorrow we have another team catch up.  Among other things, we will be polishing our presentation for the Night of Adventure that we are speaking at tomorrow night.  It’s a great line up of speakers and we are really excited to be among them.

 

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The National Youth Rowing Championships

Meg DyosBy

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!

Meg
X

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International Womens Day 2016

As an all female team, who have just set 2 world records, achieving world firsts ahead of the boys, International Womens Day certainly seemed more poignant to us this year!

We are a team of ordinary women that went beyond having just a dream, we made that dream a reality and achieved what many thought would be impossible, what many thought we would fail at. It didn’t come without a few waves of ups and downs and set backs, but collectively, as a team, we stuck to our values, remained resilient in situations we faced and drew on perseverance when it mattered, which proved many people wrong about us. We weren’t just a bunch of girls in a pink boat that would fall out with each other or turn back and quit at the slightest difficulty, we were a team of women that had prepared and planned our row over 3 years previously, had tested ourselves mentally and physically in our preparations and left no stone unturned that we could have planned for. We drew strength from one another, cared for each other when someone was down, drew on humour to keep us going and allowed emotions to be shared and free flowing so that vulnerabilities were not hidden. We coped well with change and adapted quickly through the process as each leg we had a new team member. These are qualities that most women share, these are qualities that are fundamental to a dynamic and functional team, these are qualities that resonate effectiveness in any team setting, whether that’s business or sport. With equality in business still far from showing parity and in sport the exposure for women in sport is still lagging behind, hopefully days like International Womens Day, can express and share the amazing work women out there do and what great benefits a female angle can bring to a team to create diversity.

We have been and still are in ‘oar’ (sorry couldn’t help it!) of so many women that have helped and inspired us to achieve our goal, so here’s just a few, that on this International Womens Day (IWD)we wanted to celebrate…..sarah moshman

Our very own Sarah Moshman. The queen behind the camera who has already won an Emmy for a previous documentary, who led the Empowerment Project to celebrate women who are making waves in science, the military, media etc. https://indieflix.com/indie-films/the-empowerment-project-ordinary-women-doing-extra-36648/ and who is showing how it’s done as a female Director in an industry dominated by males.

katephilp

Kate Philp, who was a Royal Artillary Officer who became a below knee amputee when she was injured in Afghanistan in 2008. Kate would have fought in the minority to be a female on the frontline, she would have fought to rehabilitate mentally and physically after she was injured and she has continued to fight in making sure she has a new life journey to success, which is reflected in her achievement when she reached the South Pole with Walking With The Wounded. She’s a true inspiration that whenever I started to moan about pain when I was out in the ocean, she made me stop and push on.

patricia & faily

Patricia Elouahabi, loving wife to Rashid and mother to Yasin, who died just 6 months after Yasin was born in her fight against Breast Cancer.

chrissie

Chrissie Wellington, one of my heroes who I am now fortunate enough to call a friend. Chrissie is a 4 times World Ironman Champion, her timings would come in the top 5 of the mens, she has set up Park Run and campaigned for the Womens Tour Du France. Chrissie fights for what she believes in, she’s dedicated and passionate and does everything with a smile!

Helena-Morrissey

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment, on the board of 30% club, has 9 children and is a loving wife. This is a woman that epitomizes ‘you CAN’.

sarah outen

Sarah Outen, has just completed her around the world London 2 London challenge via, kayak, bike and rowing boat, all whilst sharing her journey, inspiring school kids along the way and continuing to look forwards to see how she can create environments for people to say yes to more opportunities outside the norm.

julia-immonen

Julia Immonen, a beautiful woman inside and out, who has stirred change through her campaigns to stop human trafficking. Her efforts have fed through the channels of sport by setting up Sport For Freedom and Julia herself has completed rowing the Atlantic as a team and numerous cycling multi-day events.

england womns rugby

England Womens Rugby team, having won the World Cup in 2014 for the first time in 20 years, this is one of many all female teams in sport that showed us how it’s done.

 

There are many more women that I could continue to talk about that inspired us as a team (my mum being one of them  for me personally!), but there isn’t enough room on this page! A day like IWD gives us a chance to celebrate all those women that are stepping out their comfort zones to facilitate change, to help improve equality in the work place and inspire the next generation to believe they CAN. Thank you to all those women that inspired us and helped us to believe that we can.

 

Lx

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day

Natalia CohenBy

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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Diary Entries

Lizanne Van VuurenBy

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It’s not every day you get to witness a miracle.
My diary was stolen, and retrieved! So I thought it only fitting to share some snippets from my own personal record of the row.

Mon 10.08.15
15:53
I am currently in a little cabin, lying on my super-absorbent towel, and it’s absolutely baking hot. Laura is busy washing the salt off her body and Ems and Nat are on the ores. We are IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC!! (Or to be more specific; 530nm from Hawaii and 1766nm from Samoa)
On our first day out of Hawaii we had a visit from a sailboat. Clearly exciting. Although I couldn’t wait for them to leave…. I smiled through gritted teeth and waved, and as soon as they were out of sight I propelled myself to the side of the boat and was sick.
*spot the newby rower!!*
Nat gave me a polo mint. I kept it in my mouth the entire shift. Literally can’t swallow anything.
I feel like a zombie!
Nap time!

 

17.08.15

17:15
I’m again in the same position in the cabin as when I last wrote… Sweating.
I’ve not really stopped sweating for the last 3 weeks.
I’m on the ores with Ems at the moment. She’s got the most incredible stories. She has ridden the Loyds TSB horse, she’s been to circus school and she’s visited Auschwitz. It’s a good thing her stories are so captivating as it’s the only thing keeping me awake during the nights!! Man I’m tired!
I’m also reminiscing a lot and thinking about my future. Work, life, love.
As for life on the ocean… It’s amazing. I can’t believe I’m actually here.

18.08.15
Today has been an absolute blessing in terms of cloud cover! It makes me so happy when we’re out on the ores and there are clouds covering the sun.
Towards the end of last night and this morning the swell has increased again. I was sick again. I thought sea sickness leaves you alone after a few days? Go away nausea!
In the past 24 hours we have rowed 48nm. That’s a step in the right direction for me to make Anna’s wedding.

19.08.15
14:17
Emma and I rowed through a ridiculous storm today. The rainfall felt like buckets of water being chucked on us, a few minutes of hail (??) and the wind gushed around us.
We reached such great speed yesterday, and today we’re down to 0.3-0.6 knots.

17:52
Continued…
Just got off the ores. It was another soak session.
There are so many birds! Seriously, where do they sleep at night??

21.08.15
15:57
Nat showed me a few of her photos today that she took in India and Uganda. It was so inspirational! I want to start photography when I get back! We were in the sweaty cabin and looking at a little iPhone screen immediately triggered my motion sickness…. The pictures were so beautiful though! Couldn’t stop looking at them!
It is amazing to have a group of strong women around me. It’s pushing me to be better and encouraging me to push my boundaries.
On ocean life today… We’ve caught up with John Beedon who is 84nm away! What a hero!
We saw a whale briefly.
The weather is so changeable.
It’s pretty toasty in the cabin… X

22.08.15
12:28
Nats and I are on shift together. We’re getting on really well. She’s bloody hilarious.
In an effort to keep me up on the ores last night we told stories, and made up our own one too. A sentence each. We laughed so hard I thought we might wake the others sleeping in the cabin.
Laura also got hit by a massive fish whilst rowing last night. It was so funny!
Nats and I were sleeping when we heard LP scream. How’s that for a wake-up call! I’ve never seen anyone move so fast as Nats did when she bolted up! LP tried to pick up the fish with the BBQ tongs. It didn’t work though as the fish was the size of her leg!
The boat reeked of fish. Ew.
It’s toasty in the cabin again.
I just had a few spoons of Nutella though, so all is well in the world

08.09.15
13:36
It’s remarkable how much can happen when theoretically all you do is eat, sleep, row, repeat.
I’m in such a beautifully happy mood. I think it’s because I cried so much the other day. For no reason at all. Poor Ems must have felt so awkward, in our tiny cabin and I couldn’t stop! and I never cry!! But if there’s no road or mountain to run on, surely the body just needs a release somehow?

Day 56
The monotony of our 2h routine makes time both fly by and drag by.
We crossed the equator in the early hours of yesterday. First fours boat to cross the equator! Boom baby!
Must admit though, I kind of expected a sign or a line in the ocean or something. Like John Beedon wrote in his email to us “shame there was no gift shop to get a t-shirt!”
The equator is colder and stormier than I expected. There’s a chill in the wind, and suddenly I miss the toasty weather!
I’m in the aft cabin, lying with my head in the nose and Ems is cleaning her snack pack. The remaining 15 snack packs are all stragglers- they don’t have much in them and most of them are wet and sticky as some water collected at the bottom of the hatch and so the Starbursts have melted, dissolved and has covered everything in gooey-ness. SAD TIMES.
I need to clean mine too. Mine is particularly sticky today. I’m going to be sad the day the snack packs run out… Which will be in about 4 days!
We’ve not seen any wildlife for ages. Looooaaaads of birds (we checked- the nearest island is 100miles away. Where do they sleep??)
We’ve also been followed by a shark which sucks as I’d like to have another swim.

26.09.15
01:25
Have just come off a night shift and Ems and I just saw a pod of whales so incredibly close to the boat. About 2 ore lengths. The moon is out so they were clear as daylight!
2nd night shift done. That certainly woke me up!
Night! X

26.09.15
18.47
Day 61 Continued…
Going out on the ores again in 13mins. We’ve changed rotation so I’m with Nats again.
The sea has been choppy today. So many fish feeding frenzies going on around us. I’m constantly wanting to put my fishing line out, but the current is so strong today and taking us NW. If I catch something it won’t be fair on the others if I have to stop rowing to deal with the fish. Hope I get to catch something soon though!
I made pancakes yesterday. It sounds better than it was. It took forever and I only managed to make 2! But we shared it, and it was a divine piece of heavenly homely taste. Nutella is the bomb.
I burned my leg with the boiling water though. A rocking boat makes it easy for accidents to happen. It’s not toooo bad. My left lower leg is now wrapped in cling film like a chicken fillet.
We got some news regarding time-line the other day. Looks like the girls might still be rowing at Christmas. The news crashed down hard, but having mulled it over everyone seems to be doing better. Tell you what though… That will be a Christmas to remember!

Nat is currently doing story time about her “Stars and Clouds” blog for LP and Ems.

Right… Time to get ready for the night x

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat

 

To be continued…

 

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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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‘Loved’

Meg DyosBy

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.

Meg family

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

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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?

Meg

x

 

 

 

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