By Susan Ronaldson on April 8, 2018
It’s something I hear quite frequently nowadays. Usually it comes with a smile and a tone of positivity which lets you know that the ocean rowing madness you are accused of is actually considered pretty cool. But the other day I heard it from an old friend with a very different tone – one of scepticism and ‘why the f*&$ would you want to do that?’ Well I’ll tell you for why… and what you’re missing out on!
6 months ago Jess and I got an Uber. In the short journey we managed to tell the driver all about our planned adventure. A couple of weeks ago we had an insta message – it said it was from our Uber driver, that he had been following our journey and he had got in touch to tell us how proud he was of us. It honestly was the most touching thing.
This Atlantic madness has led to a truly wonderful flood of interactions with people – those we’ve known and loved already, those we’ve been lucky to newly meet, or those who we’ve just interacted with across the social ether. We now have 5000 twitter followers from all over the world and the messages flood in from everywhere from Bristol to Abuja, Toronto to Mendoza (shout out to superfan Juan), Netherlands to Mumbai…
One thing we get told quite a lot is that we are inspirational – most humbling for me was hearing this from colleagues when Caroline and I spoke recently at my office. I really can’t get my head around how I can be considered inspirational – especially when we haven’t actually set out on, let alone completed, the row. I’m told that the fact that we have even signed up, that we are going for this challenge, is already a big thing for people. While it generates massive imposter syndrome in me, it is wonderful. It gives me a huge amount of energy and drive to deliver. I want to live up to people’s view of me - that isn’t a weight but a huge lift that pushes me on.
As incredible and uplifting as this is, it is without doubt also the hardest thing I have ever done. But that’s good too. They say that getting to the start line is 90% of the challenge. When you hear that, you get that fundraising will be hard and training will be difficult. But what you can’t really convey to people is the sheer relentlessness. On top of our full time jobs we have to turn ourselves into endurance athletes, navigators, social media gurus, public speakers, fundraisers, project managers, event organisers, first aiders, radio operators… oh and rowers! Having this extraordinary goal means I push myself every day and therefore I achieve so much more! And so my ‘craziness’ means I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. And that’s with the most extraordinary part still to come.
I don’t expect everyone to want to row the Atlantic or to set themselves some crazy, out of the ordinary challenge. But I do recommend finding yourself a goal or a passion. Something that lifts you and brings the best out of you. I guess I think that everyone should have their own Atlantic Ocean – what’s yours?!
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