Leg 2, Day 11 – Defining moments

Natalia Cohen By

Leg 2, Day 11 – Defining moments

Asking the girls random questions is always a great way to get to know them a little better and also an opportunity to give myself something to think about during a shift on the oars. Today I asked Lizanne to share one of her life’s defining moments. Her answer was a fascinating one and led me to thinking the rest of the afternoon about what exactly a defining moment is and how do they impact our lives?

Some would say that a defining moment is one that changes your life. It alters the way you perceive or react to something and it has a lasting effect. A defining moment may also just be a moment that makes you stop and take stock of a few things before continuing on. It may be just that – a moment – but there is a chance that it could shape you and also last a lifetime.

Leg1 13

The more I pondered the question whilst staring out in a hypnotic state watching undulating waves glitter in the sunlight, the more I came to the conclusion that life is filled to the brim with defining moments and in fact maybe that is what life is about…learning, growing and developing as a person from all of these moments. We should be open to all these moments and embrace them fully when they occur.

Your first day of school, your first love, the first time you ride your bicycle without stabilisers, graduating, a birthday, getting a job, being promoted, learning a new skill, an accident, moving home, falling ill, undergoing chemotherapy, having a child, losing a love, recovering from an injury, experiencing a new culture, doing something that scares you, death, accomplishing something you or others never thought possible…

The list goes on…almost anything we do in life could become a life defining moment…and that thought greatly excites me.

“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen”

I have no doubt that all of us out here, traveling across Oceania, embracing the unknown and taking ourselves the furthest outside our comfort zones we have ever been, will experience a number of defining moments. I know I already have.

  • I’ve learnt first hand how much strength lies in having self belief
  • I’m amazed to find how much compassion and respect I can feel for people who ordinarily would never have crossed my path
  • I’m in awe of the power and beauty of Mother Nature
  • I’ve been humbled by the generosity and support of friends and strangers alike

I equally believe these moments can be experienced anywhere if you allow them to happen.

So…I challenge all of you to take 5 minutes today and reflect about your life’s defining moments and then look out for the next one x



  1. Barney says:

    Love the photo! I’m going to guess sunset rather than sunrise!

  2. Jim Andrews says:

    Defining moment. Mmmm? My overwhelming feeling of relief when I admitted to myself what my true belief is and that I need not fear consequences as I have all my life. Heavy eh? Great progress being made ladies and great memories being created. You must each, be very independent and individually strong, both physically and mentally and yet hypocritically, you must be very dependant on your crew mates? I am so enjoying sharing this journey with you, from the comfort of my summer house at the bottom of our garden, at the moment, on a gorgeous sunny day on which England retook the Ashes. Feeling unusually proud to be British today, what with the Cricket result and a group of spectacularly brave Ladies. Stay safe. XX

  3. JG says:

    I have to admit that just waking up each morning is a defining moment for me. My life is like a cable slung along the face of a cliff supported at points along its length. Each of these points is a critical stage where something has changed. The greater the signifigance or effect on my life the higher the point is pegged. A sort of time line to use a modern phrase. Most of it is based on a realization of the effect each point has had on me. There are negactives too – missed opportunities, low points, recognition of some weakness.

  4. Hopefully reading about the Coxless Crew will be one of my life’s defining moments! While you’re rowing across the Pacific I’ve been rowing down the rivers of Idaho doing 5 and 6 day whitewater wilderness trips. While there are obvious differences in our trips, I note many similarities, too, and think of you often. Your website is my first cyber stop after returning to civilization each week.
    My dream is to row along the coast of Baja on the Sea of Cortez side. Open rowing sounds alluring to me but I’m sure I’d like to stop for tacos and beer along the way! Do you have any plans for the spring? Hint, hint.
    Keep up the posts, keep smiling and keep on inspiring.

  5. Simon TY says:

    Defining moments: realising that there are people rather more sorted than I am; rather more in touch with themselves; more thoughtful; and facing backwards in the middle of the Pacific…….you put us all the shame


  6. Carla says:

    I enjoyed your reflections! That’s probably one of the advantages of “being stuck on a boat rowing”: there’s lots of time to think and reflect – not to be sneezed at. Happy rowing!

  7. Meeting you was a defining moment in my life! I was awed and inspired by your drive and determination Natalia. As one ages, it is easy to succumb to complacency as you start to slow down and let life pass you by. You and your teammates have inspired me to live more and settle less! Mahalo and Aloha!

  8. […] post really struck a chord with my recent experience.  She talks about identifying defining moments in life – do read it as I won’t do it justice!  I already felt that my 12 months with […]

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