To celebrate Sarah Outen completing the first 11,000 mile leg of her round-the-world solo journey, here’s another chance to read our interview with her last year, where we chatted about her latest book, adventure plans and found out what really made her tick…
Back in 2009, 24 year old Sarah Outen completed a 4000 mile epic journey, becoming the first woman to row across the Indian Ocean and the youngest woman to row any ocean for that matter. She’s spent the last few months finishing the manuscript for her latest book, A Dip in the Ocean and told us what had motivated her to take up the challenge in the first place.
“I have always been keen on sports, and loved outdoors and kayaking when I was younger. Then when I went to university I got into rowing, and from there discovered ocean rowing. When Ben Fogle and James Cracknell rowed across the Atlantic, it completely captured my imagination.
After that I nearly went into the army, until a knee injury put paid to that idea, and it was then that I decided to do an ocean row. I was going to do it as a team effort, but then in 2006 my dad died suddenly and everything changed. I decided then to do the trip solo and in the process raise as much money as I could for arthritis charities, which my dad had suffered from for many years.
I think that when you take on a challenge like this, you need a goal to get you through. The whole thing took two and half years to plan, and I prepared as thoroughly as I could, sailing across the Atlantic in a yacht to get experience at sea and even doing marathons to take my body to places it didn’t really want to go to!
I also saw a sports pyschologist which really helped me build up the mental strength required. But ultimately, it was what I learned from my dad, seeing him suffer so many knock backs because of his illness and still keep going, that gave me the strength to never give up.
When it came to the actual trip, I had one failed attempt after getting caught in a strong current that kept pulling me south and I ended up back in port after 10 days! However I decided to call that my ‘warm up lap’, and learned a lot from the experience. During the trip itself there some big highs and lows, as well as a few dull moments and even a couple of near death experiences which really made me think about what I wanted to do with my life.
Before I left I had wanted to become a teacher, but these experiences taught me that there was a lot I could teach young people by becoming a different kind of teacher, through sharing my experiences.
So my next trip is a 2.5 year project which involves rowing, cycling and kayaking around the world. I’ll be blogging and filming so that school children can follow my journey online and I can share stories as I go.”
Sarah set out from Tower Bridge on April 1st 2011, and has just finished the first leg of her amazing journey. You can sign up to her blog for updates on the expedition.
(Pics c/o Jude Edgington and www.sarahouten.co.uk/gallery)
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