People have always been telling me to write a blog and preparing to row across the Atlantic seems like a good place to start blogging. I’m hoping to share my experiences of what prepping for an ocean row looks like, and as I currently have no idea what that’s like either, it’ll be good for me to look back on and realise how blissfully naïve I was.
So why row across an ocean? After all everyone keeps telling me that it’ll likely be the hardest thing I’ll ever do, it will certainly be less comfortable than the sofa I am currently sat on and I’m not even that much of a rower. There’s certainly an element of “because it’s there”, the famous phrase uttered by George Mallory as he prepared for his fateful climb of mount Everest. However, for my own part, I think I am really just a very curious person.
As a kid I spent several years living in Southern California (lucky me!) and outside the school playground fence was a big hill - I always wondered what was on the other side of it. For some reason it took years until I found out. The other side of the hill was nothing special in the end, but since then I have always been curious about what’s over the next hill? What’s beyond that horizon? What will happen if I do this? How far can I push myself here? Where might this take me? That curiosity combined with a love of the sea led me to sign up for the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, after first hearing about ocean rowing in 2008. Since then, all my friends, family, colleagues, and even random strangers, have endured me constantly annoying them about ‘wanting to row across the Atlantic’.
My curiosity has taken me to many more places besides. In 2011 I backpacked through the tumultuous Arab Spring and the following year I went through the ancient Silk Road of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, tracing part of Marco Polo’s route. I took part in the Lakes in a Day ultra-marathon in October 2014 and over the years I’ve taken numerous technical scuba diving courses and completed a sky diving course. I never really thought about why I loved ‘adventures’ so much until I was asked what could possibly possess me to row solo across the Atlantic. So far, ‘curiosity’ is the closest I have come to answering this question. Injuring my knee during the first week of training at Sandhurst has only furthered my Atlantic aspirations and it is my hope that my curiosity is enough to get me to the start line in La Gomera and then on to Antigua. Perhaps two years from now I can stop annoying everyone with ‘wanting to row across the Atlantic’ and instead annoy them with ‘tales from rowing across the Atlantic’... and then annoy them about the next thing I want to do.
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