Dogs on toes

Are you sure you have to go?

Are you sure you have to go?

It always happens like this and, while it doesn’t get  easier per se, at least I know the routine. The familiar mix of adrenaline, excitement and anticipation punctuated by greats thunderbolts of emotion winding me like rugby balls as I realise that I am leaving soon, leaving family and friends behind and accepting that I won’t see them for eighteen months and acknowledging that possibility I might never see them again. I am always hungry for the road and the adventures and yet there is always a sense of longing for home and loved ones, just before and as I leave. I swear my senses become more alive as the ticking clock counts down the days and moments until that final hug, eyes and ears keen to notice all the detail of every place and every person and every shared experience and tuck it into my memory for a day sometime ahead. I feel so lucky to feel this and treasure these people and feelings  – to love and feel loved by special people is wonderful. And I feel totally blessed to be returning to friends in Japan – in Tokyo and Choshi and Sajima, such that going back out will feel like a homecoming. And then out on to the water will be like a second home coming, too.

Sajima - my home in Japan

Sajima – my home and family in Japan

The other side of it is that I don’t really leave them behind at all. I take them all with me in my head and heart and in trinkets and gifts and messages on the boat; and I know they will help me through stormy bits and tough bits. It has never really just been my journey anyway – so many people have helped, continue to help and will help in a variety of ways, such that they are somehow always there, a part of every step and stroke.

With my Ginner crew from Tokyo

With my Ginner crew from Tokyo

But then there are the dogs, my four legged-friends. Definitely with me but very much left behind and, although it’s a familiar routine for them, I know they think I am abandoning them. If only they could understand why.

As I write, one dog is lying across my feet in a pocket of sunshine streaming in through the lounge window and the other is looking at me longingly. It’s time for a walk. It’s time to go.

And so we shall. On Wedensday next week, from Gatwick to Japan. Gulp and ‘whoop!’ all at once.

Thank you for coming with me and helping me to go.

Sarah x

P.S: For my friends in Tokyo, 21st March 8pm, The Pink Cow (Shibuya) – I am giving a talk. All welcome – I look forward to seeing you.

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28 Responses to Dogs on toes

  1. Tari says:

    Oooooo so excited to give you a super mousey hug next week!!

  2. Shelagh says:

    I’m excited to for you to get going again. Looking forward to seeing you on the Canadian side of the Pacific!

  3. Nicky young says:

    Stuff with Dogs always a tear jerker ! Will be following you as you Row Row Your Boat ! x

  4. Nicky says:

    Stuff with dogs always a tearjerker ! Will be following you as you Row Row Row your Boat !x

  5. Gigi Walentiny says:

    Looking forward to following this next chapter of your adventure!


  6. Bruce says:

    We’re with you, Sarah. Good luck.

  7. Jim Robinson says:

    “The time has come, the Owl said…” God’s speed to you, Sarah. As you set off so do all of us along with you. We share your excitement, we are ready, oh soooooo ready for adventure. The ocean is vast and your boat is small but not so small as to not carry us along with you. When your arms and back and legs are weary we will help pull the oars, when you are lonely you will remember all of us are cheering you onward. Lead us on, Sarah! – Jim

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks Jim – you made me cry! What a lovely note. And yes please, you will all be expected to pull hard out there 🙂

      Thanks to you and the Owl,


  8. judy burdett says:

    God speed Sarah! You’re one amazing person and inspirational to us all – cannot wait to hear of your success in completing this incredible adventure. We’re with you all the way!

  9. Jennifer Welch says:

    The best of luck and enjoy yourself!

  10. Linda, Cambridge says:

    Whey hey! Emotional times indeed – waiting for the starter’s pistol – jumpy yet calm – knowing the inevitable will soon be happening. There are lots of people with you in spirit………….

  11. ian brocklebank says:

    hi sarah,super excited that it is nearly time for you to resume this epic adventure with happy socks!really do wish you the best of luck and health as you continue with this,your fortitude,focus,determination spirit and thoughtful observations are an inspiration to all of us who can merely follow you,it is amazing that there are people like you willing and able to push back the limits of human endeavour and do what most of us can only dream of,the next 18 months will be a wild crazy ride and i feel privileged to share it with you!

  12. Stu says:

    Bon Route!

  13. James Quick says:

    Good luck Sarah we will be thinking of you all the way here at Gresham’s Prep! You are an inspiration.The boring old Headmaster reminds himself to ‘be like Gao’ on a regular basis!

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve heard the boring old headmaster isn’t so boring after all. Marathon runner isn’t he? In fact, I heard he was planning to join us running alongside the river on the way back to London. And a swim in the sea on New Year’s day for solidarity?!

      Thanks to all at Greshams PA for the donation of the sea anchor. Hold fast!


  14. Ray Girard says:

    Sarah, When you talk of feelings, it proves to me that you have mastered the ‘living in the NOW’, for it is only IN THE PRESENT MOMENT where feelings are truly experienced ‘at their juiciest’. Also, leaving your dog behind is upsetting, but I have to put my beloved ‘Mocha’ down very soon. You might have the chance of seeing yours again, at least. Take heart in that.

    Between Japan and Canada, there is only distance. You’ve already proved to us that you can handle distance. Remember, in the future somewhere, you have already done it.
    Thanks for adding to our lives, with your courage and energy.
    Canada …..awaits!

    • Sarah says:

      Ray, I’m sorry to hear about Mocha. The vintage years are some of the warmest, loveliest and to have them end is heartbreaking. I know it well. All strength to you both.

  15. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hello Sarah

    Just a line so you know we will be thinking of you as you start your next leg of that wonderful journey. Its always hard to leave loved one’s behind, but you have so many followers now who will be with you all the way and wishing you well.

    Take great care and have a wonderful time.

    K & C

  16. K and T says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventures so far with us earlier, it gave us all a little insight into your epic trip. Looking forward to following your next chapter and as we said, we saw you leave on 1st April 2011 and we will be there to see you come home!

    Love and best wishes from us all x

  17. Jill Fenby-Taylor says:

    So excited for you, I will be following you all the way, and so glad you have named your boat Happy Socks. With a name like that it has to go well!
    Love and hugs from the Sockaholic xx

  18. Sarah says:

    Thanks everyone for the lovely messages – making me smile and cry and generally feel all cosy inside.

    Here’s to Chapter 2. Bring it on!

  19. June Bibby says:

    I wish you well Sarah as you set off on your adventures once more and look forward to travelling with you, via your interesting and descriptive ‘blogs’. Your Dad would be so proud of you. God speed and every blessing.

  20. Mya and Grace says:

    How much sleep do you get!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How many marbars do you eat in one 150 days !!!!!!!!!!!!SSJ

  21. john Globemasterone says:

    Thanks for the update Sarah. I look forward to following you and Happy Socks from Lake Ontario, Canada.
    PS Don’t forget your toothbrush!

  22. Expedition Foods says:

    Hi Sarah,

    We’re all so excited that the next stage of your adventure starts again. We’ll all be thinking of you and following you every step of the way. You’re a real inspiration to us here. Good luck with everything.


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