I’m half way through my epic challenge to row around the coast of Great Britain, all 1,800 miles of it and I’m feeling awesome.
It took a few weeks for me to adjust to boat life in so many ways; I didn’t suffer too much with sea sickness however there were a few days where I was left clutching the bucket (link to the toilet blog for ‘the bucket’) in the cabin whilst my breakfast slowly made it’s way back up my oesophagus. In the middle of the Irish Sea, the sun’s rays were so powerful I had to cover my body in 2 layers of clothes so not to get burnt, which lead me to overheat on the oars. Then there’s ‘The 10 Minute Wake Up Call.’ That tap on the cabin door 10 minutes before our 2 hour rowing shift starts in the middle of the night, wrapped in a warm sleeping bag. At that point the feeling of …… hmmmm, hatred is a strong word, I can’t think I know the word I want ….. whatever it is, I’m sure it could knock a rugby player to the ground with just a glance.
The majority of the time on the boat though is wonderful. My team and I spend a lot of time laughing, a lot of time eating and sometimes the two together.
It almost makes me feel guilty for admitting that we are having a good time. Surely rowing around Great Britain should be a gruelling and miserable task? A challenge that pushes me to my absolute limit to the point I don’t think I can carry on?
There’s a part of me that feels bad my bum isn’t spotty, my hands aren’t bleeding and I’m smiling the majority of the trip, but then I realise it’s ok to be having an incredible time. I’ve worked hard enough to be here, it makes sense to even enjoy the bad bits. I’m sensible in looking after my body on board the boat, as well as having an extremely positive and grateful attitude. That gets me through the 3am ‘graveyard shift,’ just.
At last night’s celebratory ‘half way round meal’ in Oban Scotland, my teammate Steve hit the nail on the head with regards to boat life. Our lives are so simple; we literally row, use the bucket , eat, sleep and repeat everyday, with no other activities to worry ourselves with apart from applying suncream and hydrating ourselves. Even then, we all look out for each other and make sure we are in tip top condition. Now we’ve stripped back the ‘normal stuff’ in our lives, it’s left a massive void. The only thing that can fill that void is getting to know each other and our favourite activity, laughing.
I am struggling to remember a time where I laughed so much consistently in my whole life. A simple comment from someone, often Lesley, will reduce the rest of us to tears, which can sometimes carry on for days. What an incredible form of therapy to counteract the physical and mental challenges of such a gruelling adventure.
This trip truly reinforces my theory that a simple life is a happy life. Stripping back the material items, the distractions, the noise, fuss and life’s other issues reveals an opportunity to fill the void with simple pleasures, wonderful feelings and pure happiness.
Can you tell I am feeling reflective? I love what I am doing. I love that I had to work so hard to make this happen and now I am being rewarded. I hope everyone can experience this feeling of contentment at some point in their life.
Do More. Try More. Be More.
If you are enjoying following my adventure, please consider making a donation to my charity Centrepoint, to give those who do not have anywhere to live somewhere to stay and the love and care of another human:https://www.justgiving.com/
Also thank you to Emoov for supporting this challenge and allowing me to share this adventure with others via social media.
Read more from the Great British Row 2017