Day 8 – Happiness is a dry pair of socks

Emma Mitchell By

Happiness is a dry pair of socks

Despite the cramped conditions, constantly being soaked by waves, sore bums and sleep deprivation, life on Doris is actually beautifully simple. Eat, sleep, row, repeat! The smallest of things can brighten up our whole day. For example having a dry pair of socks. Having to put on wet socks every 2 hrs to go out on the oars is probably my least favourite thing about ocean rowing (it was also my least favourite thing about spending a few months in the Belize jungle). I can’t remember the last time I put on totally dry socks. I do have a pair stashed away in my pocket in the cabin safely in a ziplock bag but I haven’t got them out yet as everything is always so wet that even just wearing them to sleep in during leg 1 part 1 ended up with them getting damp. But I know they are there waiting for a special occasion. My second least favourite thing is that with a disturbing regularity we get soaked by a big wave within the last 5 mins of every shift on the oars. This is regardless of which pair is rowing and what time of day it is and means that along with the wet socks we also have to put on soggy wet weather gear to row.

However there are a lot of moments in every day where being on our little boat on the Pacific is the most beautiful place in the world and makes me stop and appreciate how lucky we are. The sunsets which paint the whole sky in colours I can’t even describe. Sunrises which set the horizon on fire and can make you forget that you were falling asleep on the oars minutes before. A clear sky at night filled with stars which give me a crick in my neck from trying to row whilst looking up. The deep and bright blue colour of the sea and sightings of whales, dolphins and the twice daily visits from Albert the albatross. The peace and calming tranquility of the sun on the water and being self sufficient while leaving behind most of the stresses of the real world. Before we left the UK we put together a plan for our time on the ocean with Andrew from New Level Results using the Best Year Yet program. We set our major focus as ‘Enjoy the journey! Live in the moment.’ and despite all the challenges we’ve faced already and our current painfully slow progress west we are still remembering to appreciate what an incredible experience this is.

As my friend Katy reminded us this week ‘ the only way to eat an elephant is in small pieces’ So true and we’ll keep eating up the miles one at a time. Katy you gave me the same advice when I was writing up my PhD thesis and if I could manage that this should be easy!



  1. Great to hear your personal accounts of your journey! Makes you appreciate the simple things in life!! Beautifuly written Emms!

  2. Katy says:

    Ha! I’m so predictable! Applicable to many situations 🙂

  3. Jon Comben says:

    when i was in the military we tied wet socks together and put them around your neck under jacket, in a couple of hours they are dry, if not they are warm wet 🙂 good luck

  4. Simon TY says:

    Thanks for the update. Keep us in touch. There are things you are taking for granted. How warm is it ? What is the swell like ? What is the biggest wave yet ? Any phosphourescence ? ( you will know when you see it). Seen any more whales, dolphins ? Here the cuckoos are now noisy in the background; English strawberries are all over farm shops; our Barn owls must be sitting on eggs; asparagus is available. They got the Hatton Garden robbers ( oh, that happened after you left). You will probably get to Hawaii and find a CARE parcel of 100 pairs of dry socks. And good luck with that elephant. PS what is the best way to contact ? Are you all reading our comments ? or emails ? or facebook ? XX

    • The Team says:

      Hi Simon, the best way to contact the girls is – This gets managed before sending on to the girls, so the email is spread out as not to overload their power/sat data!
      RE: blog comments and FB etc every few days a I condense the comments into an email and send to the girls. They don’t have enough data to access facebook or the web etc. =) Keep up the nice messages! Ella x

  5. Great blog Emma! Its the small things in life that become significant. During Army training on the Brecon Beacons the sleepingt bay in my rain soaked trench becme a very welcomer haven. It was a pit with a sheet of tin over it where I could bwe dry. Bit like your socks! Take care – all movement is progress.

  6. Dave Simons says:

    A beautifully composed and emotive piece of writing,Emma.Good to see that you are making progress albeit a little slower than you might wish. Very best wishes to all and particularly to Laura (unfortunately I have never met the rest of you). Keep up the good work.xxxx

  7. Andy says:

    How are you coping with the salt drying on your face? It’s quite painful after a while.

  8. Katie says:

    ‘The days are long but the years are short’… You girls are doing something amazing. I love hearing about your progress – great blog!

  9. Wendy says:

    You could have done your PHD in literature Emma, what a lovely description of your surroundings ! I’ve heard of the elephant in the room but now we seem to have one on the boat !

  10. mike says:

    Great blog girls, make sure I have my daily dose. You have obviously trained hard and know your best strategies but will you keep the two hour paddle routine to the end or change it when weather gets better – it seems a harsh turn around.

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