Through listening regularly to a BBC 2 radio show I came to learn of Sarah Outen’s challenge to become the first woman, and youngest and fastest person, to row solo from Western Australia to Mauritius. A journey of 3,100 miles across the Indian Ocean rowing her tiny boat ‘Serendipity’ “up to 12 hours a day under a scorching sun, riding 30ft waves, battling winds and currents, sharks, capsizes and shipping traffic.” Just reading those words from Sarah gives me the tingles. They are just words, but we can try and visualize her experience. However, set our imaginations free and I am sure we still have no idea of the intensity of this journey.
On Tuesday 3rd August, after 124 days at sea, 24 year old Sarah made her very rough but successful landing on the island of Mauritius, thus achieving her goal to enter the record books as well as helping raise money for charity in memory of her late father.
Following Sarah with her regular chats on the radio show when she always seemed upbeat and positive despite her progress, and through her blog, then finally hearing of her arrival thrills and chills me to such a great level I had to take a moment and ask myself why.
On a basic level the thought of being alone in the middle of the ocean at the mercy of the elements and fellow sea dwellers such as sharks and beautiful but giant whales sends my head spinning almost as much as when I try and grasp the concept of the vastness that lies beyond our galaxy. But on a deeper level I am moved by the challenge she set herself. It reminds me of the adventures that we all embark on. These adventures may not be as perhaps as huge or as physically risky as Sarah’s journey but they probably feel to us just as daunting and exciting.
To me, her journey at sea mirrors those times when you are on your adventure; some days you are smiling up at the blue sky, gazing in marvel at the things around you, rowing along with the tide almost effortlessly. A flat sea bringing wafts of foreign and exciting things. But like Sarah you also experience those times when the sea is raging, the sky is black and you can’t even try and plod onwards. Your only option is to just drop anchor to try and not get swept too far away from your path.
We are often alone on our own personal adventures, and though sometimes only we can make the decision (on either a conscious or sub-conscious level) whether we have the balls to continue with our adventure, the hero/ine of your story will always have the equivalent of Sarah’s radio back-up. Though they are not in the boat with you, your support crew of family and friends – people you have met in person and on line, and those who you don’t even know exist but are rooting for your success anyway – will be there for support, motivation and to send out the search boats should you send up a distress flare. I am sure that knowing this brought Sarah to those safe shores. Knowing this maybe even gave her the strength to come up with her personal challenge, put it into action and to slip in to the ocean in her boat on the first day of her voyage.
This was a huge adventure to embark upon but it should not overshadow our own challenges. What was the biggest adventure you have set sail on? Does it make you tingle now thinking of your journey: of the unknown, the actual voyage and the outcome (be it as you planned or not)?
I am sure that this adventure was just something Sarah had to do. Perhaps in order to progress in her life and to grow. I would be very surprised and impressed if I did anything on that level (I am pretty reserved when it come to physical danger) but my own journeys have been just as big to me. And the exciting thing is that when one has journeyed along one adventure and jumped nervously outside of one’s comfort zone the next adventure is probably even bigger and perhaps even more awe inspiring.
We may well take time in between each adventure to appreciate our efforts (regardless of the outcome), re-assess our lives and our ways of thinking and doing things, and to gain the inspiration and energy for the next challenge. Sarah will be writing a book about her experience before she plans her next challenge, and I for one am looking forward to what can only be an inspiring and thrilling read.
Wishing you courage and joy on your journeys, you wonderful spirited adventurer! Give me a wave when we cross paths out there in the vast sea of life.
Read about Sarah’s journey here: http://www.sarahouten.co.uk/