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!?!
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.
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!
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
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!
What a beautiful week. It was so good to see the sun shining and as much as we thought we would never want to see the sun again after our relentless exposure on the boat…it was actually great to feel the heat again and to see everyone’s moods lifted. It’s amazing what a blue sky does to people.
SAVE THIS DATE!
Sunday June 26this the day that we have set for our friends, family and followers event.
This will be an informal celebratory daytime get together that will give us all the opportunity to show photos, answer questions and meet as many people as possible that followed us and showed us so much support during the journey.
Lizanne is coming over from South Africa and we will be together as a team for the first time! It’s going to be a real highlight of the year for all of us.
There will be more information to follow, but for now…please save the date.
It’s been all go for the team.
Izzy and Laura had a good catch up with Sarah Moshman to discuss the production of the documentary and obviously we are all very excited to see how our story of the journey will be told. We’re hoping for a release date of beginning of 2017.
Natalia was asked to partake in a video Blab (live web-cast) with Best Year Yet to talk about how the program helped us as a team create a successful framework with a clear focus and to set goals and prepare for getting to the start line of the row as well as the actual expedition. It was great to hear other stories about how Best Year Yet has been used with younger ages and basketball where the program is being set up to help teams achieve sports goals while also maintaining balance with their personal values and the other roles they play in their lives.
Meg headed off to do a schools talk in Broadstairs. The school has done a huge amount of fundraising for us and it’s also where Meg’s aunty Linda and Elaina work for Dolphin swim school – who swam the length of the Pacific in lengths for us back in September 2015.
Ems did a talk at Godolphin and Laytmer School and presented medals to their J16 fours crew who won at the national schools head race. They’ve also fundraised for us two years in a row in their ‘challenge your limits’ week.
A hearty thank you to everyone at the schools for their invaluable support, hard work and dedication.
LP headed to Crewsaver as they have been reviewing our lifejackets. Using them during our 9-month odyssey was the perfect test of their endurance. They worked wonderfully for us, being small, comfortable and extremely effective.
We are happy to announce the winner of our Crewsaver life jacket competition.
CONGRATULATIONS to Josh Ohill.
If you can email us your contact details (firstname.lastname@example.org) , then we can get the life jacket sent out to you.
In other news…Doris has been cleaned in preparation for her big trip to Buckingham Palace next week – which is very exciting. So we’ll update you on that next time!
Today’s blog is a (slightly late) round up of what the team got up to last week. As ever, it was a busy week all round (except for me – I was on holiday!) and this is just a small taster of what we were up to…..
Megs gave a school talk as well as an after dinner talk at the Mayor of Broadstairs’ Spring Ball where the after dinner auction raised a whopping £1000+ for our charities, Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.
Natalia headed to Character World to speak to the staff about strength and diversity within a team and positive mindset. She said it was great to be presenting in their showroom and with some employees sitting on single beds – they got a very real sense of the size of our cabin space on Doris!
Ems went to the Dame Kelly Homes Trust team days (see her blog on this) and spoke at St Pirans School about the row and our values of SPIRIT. She was also liaising with the team behind the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, who have kindly invited us to Buckingham Palace on 16 May to present Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. We’re really honoured to be asked and can’t wait to attend what will be a great event.
Over in South Africa, Lizanne spoke to the team at Tatis. She enjoyed sharing stories of our journey with a group of people who were such great supporters and followers of our row while we were on the water.
This weekend a highlight for Laura was working hard supporting her athletes and friends at the London marathon.
For me, it was less work / Coxless Crew and more skiing, as I headed to the mountains of the Lyngen Alps in North Norway for a week of ski touring. Lyngen is incredibly beautiful, and climbing up from the sea to summits and then skiing back down to the beach for a swim in the Fjords is an experience I will definitely never forget.
Can you believe that it’s exactly 1 year TODAY that we set off from San Francisco!! It brings back such a mix of emotions, from the apprehension of the unknown and heading straight out into a storm, to the excitement and relief of simple living and less stresses of everyday life that we are now back in to. I found myself in a yoga class this morning, trying to think about being in the moment but really having to focus on fighting back the tears of the memories of emotions of a year ago, the relief at now being in the position to be able to be reflective and not having to look forward to the finish line anymore, the realisation that we actually achieved what we set out to do.
On one hand it feels like we’ve been back for ages, like the row is a distant memory. Still seeing people, like I had today for the first time since being back, and answering the question of ‘so how was it?’, seems to get more and more diluted as an answer to what it really was like. I already feel like I tell the same stories and reminisce about the same things that people can relate to, but there was 9 months of ups and downs, laughter and tears, love and frustration, but some how it all gets blurred into one smaller and smaller experience, which is crazy that the 9 months now gets summarized in less than 5 mins!
Just 3 months ago we arrived into Cairns and we are now back in the swing of normal day life on land, enjoying the showers, the clean bed linen, fresh home cooked food. Work for some of us is back in full flow and for me Rio is just a mere 4 months away. Plus the best bit of all is being back with our loving friends and family. The hardest part of this time last year was thinking what we were putting our families through and what they must have been thinking, so thankfully, a year on, we can be celebrating with them the success of the journey and being home sweet home.
Thank you to all of you that supported us throughout, it was your loving support that gave us strength and kept us working towards our common goal of bringing Doris and the team home safe and sound. xx
I think the quote below sums up our team perfectly. The six of us are each different, with different outlooks, different backgrounds, different skill sets, different strengths and weaknesses, different likes and dislikes. And that is what made us such a great team. We used our diversity to make the team stronger than its individual parts.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
This week’s blog theme is frustration. There was plenty of this on our journey, both on the way to the start line and on the water.
One particular example was our struggle to get off the Californian coast and on our way to Hawaii. We spent 10 days battling through strong winds and large swells pushing us South towards Mexico. Everything was new to us, and the sea sickness wasn’t helping! But then it happened, we finally started to make progress West. Unfortunately, just as we did, some water damage meant that we lost the ability to charge our Victron batteries using our Solbian solar panels and we had to make the difficult decision to row 6 days back into shore to Santa Barbara to repair the damage. To say it was frustrating was an understatement. We had started our journey after years of preparation and were finally feeling that we had started to get to grips with the challenging conditions, and then we had to turn around, row back in and do a re-start.
I am really proud of the way that we dealt with this situation as a team. We accepted the decision and decided to put the frustration behind us, re-focuss and make the most of the opportunity. We took advantage of the time on land to repair the damage to Doris and make other tweaks to her and our kit. By staying focussed on the bigger picture, we transformed the frustration into a positive and left Santa Barbara feeling prepared and re-energised, ready to make it to Hawaii.