He who risks nothing, stands to gain nothing

The journey to the start line is an adventure in itself

By Caroline Wilson on March 22, 2018

I write this at 10 am on a Thursday morning from a cafe in East London during a short pit stop between a morning yoga class at the office and heading off to Victoria to give a talk at the National Audit Office about our row. To say life is hectic is an understatement. The girls have become a welcome constant in my everyday life and my every minute outside of the office is consumed by thoughts and tasks related to the row. As well as working tirelessly in our attempts to secure corporate sponsorship, we’re staying true to our mission and spreading the word on plastic pollution and helping drive individuals towards action in the fight to turn the tide on plastic.

Speaking at the National Audit Office

As we build out our calendar of events for the next few months and mull over our previous speaking events, we’re slowly starting to come to the realisation that our journey to the start line is an adventure in itself. Our unfinished story of embracing the fear of failure and throwing ourselves blindly into the unknown in the pursuit of both accomplishment and purpose actually has the ability to inspire others. To quote one of the truly brilliant individuals that have inspired us on our journey…

“You're an inspiration ladies, hold onto that when the times get tough- never forget who you might be inspiring.”
- Lauren Morton

It’s all too easy to focus on the end goal - rowing into English Harbour in Antigua, as a weary but triumphant trio of friends - but this challenge isn’t about ‘the end’, it’s about the journey. Ultimately whether we reach Antigua or not is irrelevant (well… you get the picture); everything that comes before it is just as important.

“You grow in the journey, not at the end. The end is the icing.”

When we talk of this row we speak mainly of the time we’ll spend at sea because, well, that’s the exciting part right! However, the row is only 10% of the challenge. By the time we line up on the start line in La Gomera this December this challenge will have been a part of our everyday lives for 18 months, yet, assuming things go to plan, we’ll only be at sea for 50 days; that’s only 10% of the time that we’ve dedicated to this challenge.

And dedicate our lives we have. We’ve grown as individuals and as a team more than I ever thought was possible. On top of physically growing in strength and developing new skills when it comes to fundraising, we continue to educate ourselves on the hugely important issue of plastic pollution to ensure we’re spreading the right message. Not only this, but we’ve met some of the most incredible and inspiring people along the way; most recently Alastair Humphreys, Anna McNuff, Natalia Cohen & Roz Savage.

Meeting Alastair Humphreys
Meeting Anna Mcnuff

How did I meet these inspiring individuals I hear you ask… I got in the same room as them, and then introduced myself. It sounds so simple but before taking on this challenge I would never have had to confidence to go up to them and introduce myself. Even now I (quite embarrassingly) start with the line “I’m no one special but I just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you”. Not the best opening line I’ll admit. What’s even more insane about this journey, is that people are reaching out to us to say thank you and to ask us to come and speak at their events.

We’re on a journey that has the power to inspire others to take on their Atlantic, whatever that may be for them. But will we succeed in our mission?

“He who risks nothing, stands to gain nothing.“

Failure is an inherent part of adventure. The more we fail the more we learn, and no doubt there will be many failures along the way to the start and finish line. But I’m learning that life gets more interesting when you start saying ‘yes’. We’re taking one step off the plank into the total unknown and trying our damn hardest to follow our dreams. Anything is achievable with the right attitude, belief, and support. And we’re going to prove it.

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