I was a wee bit surprised when I realised that the last time I had blogged was at the start of February – as you can imagine with the final build up to a multi year expedition, these have been fairly mad times with lots of busy stuff going on. That’s an understatement – my team and I have been beavering away like hyperactive meerkats to set everything up.
A round up to the the off
I have journeyed thousands of miles by train and car en route to training, (training on bikes, training on fixing bikes; training on bleeding watermakers and lifting weights); to visit my boatbuilders in Devon and meet the new boat; to brainstorm with my new Education Chief in South Wales and pick up my new kayak from North Wales; to source sponsors for kit and sponsors for finance; to launch the book of my dip in the ocean and to give talks on the Indian (Scotland and all over England); to pick up kit and choose kit; to run a half marathon dressed as a giant boob in Bath; to be photographed and filmed and all sorts. And thats not even thinking on route planning and logistics and insurance and admin. It has been hectic, manic, emotional, draining, energising, rewarding and ultimately satisfying. Things are looking good, really good.
The final countdown
Here I am, tapping away on my laptop late into the night at L2L HQ with just 13 days to go. I gave my last talk tonight and have just two school visits left. I have already said goodbye to some friends and have just two more weekends in England. Just a handful of walks left with our dog and dinners with my family. It is nearly time to go.
I have piles of kit everywhere – on my desk I have a map of the world, a stack of kit orders, lists of lists, a Yellowbrick tracking beacon, a camera, a video camera, documents for this and booklets for that. It’s nearly 0130 so my phone is quiet. A satellite phone is charging quietly in the corner and by my feet are a stack of nautical charts – the English Channel, the Pacific and the Atlantic. Behind me is a Project File, bursting with pages and next to a pile of other pages to go into another file. It is sitting on top of one of 5 big boxes Mum brought home last week for me to store all the new kit in. There are camping stoves, head torches, dry bags, a sleeping bag, cycling gear, kayaking gear, rowing kit and various cables and chargers and batteries and spares. I look at it all and smile and hold back a little tear of pride and excitement. This is actually going to happen, folks.
In just 13 days time I shall wave good bye to my family and friends and sponsors, step into Nelson my lovely kayak and paddle out from HMS President at St Katharine’s dock and turn right to Tower Bridge. There, I shall turn around and face downstream. Heart no doubt racing, probably holding back the tears as I grin my Sarah grin that shouts of nerves, excitement and pure joy I shall sit and wait for Mum to fire the start horn. Then, with a whoop and a holler or maybe just a silent wave, I shall start paddling for the English Channel and France and all the world beyond.
The journey is the reward
It’s fair to say that my brain is a little fried from the efforts of late, but my heart is on fire and hungry for the adventure.
My team are too – this is to be huge for all of us and will require the utmost in dedication, energy, humour, tenacity and creativity for us to see it through. We are all stoked and raring to go, satisfied by having got this far. In uncertain financial times, I am so grateful for the support and confidence from our sponsors – a suite of brilliant companies onboard and ready to journey with us. It has been an arduous trek getting even this far, but as the proverb goes ‘ The journey is the reward’.
Bring on that world – I’m just about ready to go.
Departure details: April 1st, 1pm Tower Bridge, London. North bank. Bring some horns to make some noise!
PPS We are still working on the new site – bear with us while we fill in the gaps. Exciting things to come in the Schools HQ and Tracker, especially.