Homeward bound

Montreal's support team, led by Mylene Paquette

Montreal’s support team, led by Mylene Paquette


This is your rower here, soon to be cyclist and kayaker again. Soon to be home. Home! I haven’t been home properly for 18 months and have a lot of hugs in store for friends and family and team, and my baby nephew, whom I am yet to meet. Lucy and I fly from Montreal tonight after a magic and gentle couple of days doing nothing very much besides some exped admin and, for me, enjoying as much fresh fruit as I can eat.

Lovely Mylene and Carol practising their banner placements

Lovely Mylene and Carol practising their banner placements

If I had to come ashore on this side of the Atlantic then there is no better place. My good friend and sister of the waves Mylene Paquette lives here and so has hosted us and been Chief Liaiser/Fixer/Translator etc etc. Another wonderful friend from Cape Cod, Carol Penfield, drove for 10 hours to surprise me as I stepped off the boat, bringing with her bags full of cakes, presents and greetings from my Chatham supporters. To be with folks I know and love and who understand a little of the journey and waves is like a warm bath – gentle, supportive and nourishing.

Possibly the squeeziest hug in the world after 5 months apart.

Possibly the squeeziest hug in the world after 5 months apart.

Everything feels a bit surreal right now. It is as though a part of me is still on the ocean with Happy Socks, rowing, rowing, rowing….and I am in some parallel universe. To have left the ocean so quickly and then be on shore within a week is rather a lot to process, especially without my dear little white boat. I am trying to keep it all contained until we finish back under Tower Bridge and I have time and space to reflect. Hooray for adrenaline.

Captain Gupta and myself on the bridge of Federal Oshima

Captain Gupta and myself on the bridge of Federal Oshima

Plans are evolving apace for the final legs of cycling and kayaking in the UK. Led by Project Manager Sara Davies and PR Chief Jenny Ellery, it is all coming together nicely, with input and support from various external parties. We are all excited for cherishing these final miles of the journey and getting under Tower Bridge on November 3rd, and grateful to everyone helping make it happen.

The crew of Federal Oshima

The crew of Federal Oshima

Big thank yous to Suzanne and Marc from local agents FedNav for arranging the legalities; the Customs chaps for coming out to St Lambert Lock to sign me in; Erin and Tibo and Christopher for coming to wave; Evelyn, Laurence and Loic for cheering and pictures; Marysol for filming and smiles; Carol for being the Cape Cod Messenger and Hug Deliverer (and the senders for all the warmth and support); Mylene for everything.

A special  thanks to Captain Gupta and crew of Federal Oshima for their assistance in the Atlantic and welcome onboard during my week at sea. The Indian cuisine was some of the best food on my entire L2L journey…

We look forward to posting details and updates of these final legs as things draw closer.

A final thanks to you – my online family of supporters for all the messages and good energy you have put our way.


Sarah and, in her absence, Happy Socks x

P.S Still marching towards our charity goals for CoppaFeel!, MND Association, WaterAid and Jubilee Sailing Trust. Please consider donating here. Thank you!

P.P.S We are looking to borrow/hire/get sponsored with 2 weeks of a motorhome hire for the final leg of the journey. Must be UK based, roughly Oxford/London area and to have had no animals inside. Any leads, please get in touch via hello@sarahouten.com

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12 Responses to Homeward bound

  1. Christine Ashdown says:

    Hello Sarah

    Great to read this latest blog and what a welcome. You so deserve all the good wishes. You have a wonderful team helping you along with all the journey. Do hope when you get home and relaxed you will be giving more talks and especially down this way.

    We will look forward to reading about the rest of your journey to Tower Bridge. It’s been amazing just how many folks contacted me when they heard your news to see how you were and more so check was it you. They all send their best wishes.

    Just take care and happy pedalling

    Kathleen and Christinex

  2. Heather says:

    Great to hear your updated news! Safe journey home to you and Lucy. Love and hugs xxxx

  3. Gigi W. says:

    This entire post just made me happy, happy, happy!!!

    ~Gigi in Virginia Beach

  4. Libby Craig says:

    Blessings to you and the team, Sarah. We look forward to welcoming you home and you remain much in my thoughts and prayers.


  5. Pam Stocker says:

    Good to hear all this good news! And perhaps this differently finished journey is going to be just so much expressive of our humanness – so often imperfect and unfinished – but made wonderful with love and care and compassion for each other. Lots of love Pam

    • Wendy Alden says:

      A lovely comment, Pam, and so very true. Don’t know if you have had the pleasure of meeting Sarah, but I did in Feb. 2014 when she was in Vancouver, Canada to celebrate another British adventurer, Jamie MacDonald, who’d just finished a run across Canada & who I’d assisted when in BC on winter roads. Hadn’t met him, heard about his run & decided to help by making phone calls to RCMP in local cities before he arrived; to schools where he gave talks; running stores for freebies; even a few hotels for ?complimentary stays; physiotherapy offices for ?treatments when in the cities. It took some hours & long distance calls from Vancouver to places in BC, but know it kept him safer on the roads during the snowy days running with no support team accompanying him along our high elevation BC highways. So, met Sarah at a celebratory evening and hadn’t heard of her endeavour either. As a British born (London) now Canadian, here since age 6, felt naturally to care and encourage all I could. So, since then, have followed Sarah’s journey on Twitter & her webpage. Still keep in touch with Jamie on Twitter occasionally too. Both truly admirable individuals whose hearts are huge in being charitable with much effort and sacrifice.
      So, your comment rings so true and right for all of us to remember.


    May I suggest something nice and relaxing for you now?
    Count Basie did an orchestral, contrafact, very soothing version of ‘Up a Lazy River’.
    Thus you may wish to try Basie’s ‘Lil’ Darlin’.

  7. Ethel Leonard says:

    Hurrah. How great to hear you are on your way home. Good luck as you make it to the Tower bridge.Wish I could be there. Will keep watching
    Al the best. Ethel Leonard

  8. Joey says:

    What a journey you’ve had. Losing Happy Socks is a dreadful blow. But you are safe and continuing your journey. I’ve followed your journey since meeting you in Toad River. I’ve never met anybody like your and your inspiration overflows to anybody you encounter. Enjoy this last leg of your trip. Enjoy being home. Strong well wishes and much love to you and yours.

  9. Brendon Cary says:

    Massive congratulations. We feel for you having to change up the last piece of this epic adventure. Possibly the most courageous and focussed mission I have followed and had the privlage to be a small part of when you were in Japan. Enjoy the last bit and the final parties.

  10. virgil funderburk says:

    have been following your trip around the world, glad you are safe

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