Notes from home

‘30Jun/14Z

Current looks confused. Maybe lt NE?

18Z: NE 20-25kt

01/00: ENE 20-25, ocnl 25-30

…’

‘Ahh O.K, it’s going to be one of those days out on the ocean,’ my immediate thoughts on reading the daily weather update from Lee, Sarah’s weather router.
It’s always a heart-skipping moment opening them to see what she will face. Although, when I say she, I mean we – because in my mind, we are in this together. I have lived a double life since April 27th, an enthralling mix of ocean and land – all the more exciting as ocean rowing was new to me until I met Sarah.

Staying involved

I am Lucy, Sarah’s girlfriend and in this blog I am going to share some ideas on what it is like living with – and loving – an adventurer who, right now, is on the other side of the world in a tiny boat for months on her own. Well, for a start, it is an adventure for us both, full of ups and downs which we feel intensely. Two and a half months in to the journey and we have laughed and cried together, enjoying the highs and helping each other through the tough bits. I find that being as involved as possible in her life on the waves – knowing what is going on down to the minutest detail and the conditions ahead – and helping her manage admin like emails and social media onshore, is a really good focus and a way of both staying close to her and helping her reach her goals.

We love Iridium

The hardest thing about being apart for so long is that we miss each other deeply. As obvious as it sounds, I soon came to realise that it doesn’t how much I miss Sarah – it is not going to bring her any closer. However, staying in regular contact does help us hugely. We email, text and talk many times during the day via her Iridium sat phone and I easily talk to Sarah for more time in a day than I do anyone on land. That phone has been a life line. We start and finish our days with each other – waking each other up and calling at day’s end in our respective parts of the world.  Staying close to each other like this through the ups and the downs, through the deep aches of missing each other, planning future adventures and dreams together, means that we grow stronger and closer every day. We realised recently that we are so in tune to each other’s voice and nuances in it, detecting the slightest change in emotion – we have really learned to listen to each other intently because we don’t have the luxury of reading body language or facial expressions as we would if we were in the same room. We have to articulate everything in words (or lack of them) – happiness, worries, thoughts – and it is very powerful.

 Practical and positive

A lot of people associate ocean rowing with massive risk and high drama and worry that Sarah might not come back. It’s true – there are a lot of potential problems, but statistically she is probably safer out there than on land where traffic accidents are the most likely cause of injury. Problems at sea are just slightly more obscure and I have learned that it is best to tame the imagination to these. On a similar theme, I decided early on that there is no point worrying about something until it happens. I tried it for a bit and just chased my mind round in circles, which was no good for either of us. I would rather know the facts – however hard they are – and then accept and deal with them. What will be, will be.  I often ask the sea to be a little kinder to her and the wind to turn in her favour but that’s the limit of it. The best thing I can do is be here for her on the end of a phone, any hour of the day or night, to chat or listen, or calm her down or look up some information if she needs it. Whatever I can do to help her across, I will. We learnt quite early on that instead of saying, ‘I wish I was there with you’ or talking about missing each other too often, we would focus on the positive – saying  it’s  ‘just  a short time minus so-and-so days till Canada!.’ Given that we don’t know how long this row will be and when we will see each other next, it feels more positive to focus on days marked off. As she ticks them up on her wall, so I tick them off on mine, marking her position on my chart of the Pacific.

Aching across the miles

I miss Sarah like I have no one else before, every minute of every day my body aches for us to be together – but I keep telling myself that I wouldn’t want her anywhere else. She is so strong, emotionally and physically, and I am so proud of what she is doing.  Having set herself this challenge I will support her in any and every way I can, journeying alongside her as best I can from the other side of the world. Perhaps the most powerful thing this journey and distance has given us, besides the strength of our love, is the promise that we will never take each other’s company for granted. For this, we are grateful.

Lucy x

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16 Responses to Notes from home

  1. Gigi Walentiny says:

    Beautiful. <3

    ~Gigi in Va. Beach

  2. Ray Girard says:

    We are ‘humans’ …first.
    Loving surpasses all.

    It’s simple, really.

  3. jack heron says:

    What a wonderful note! She may have missed an oar-stroke or two when she saw it, but I reckon that will keep her going for at least a day or two… possibly longer…

  4. Tari says:

    Rushirooo! So nice to see your post here today. 🙂 Hang in there, Lassie!

  5. Anita Phillips says:

    A big hug to you both! xx

  6. Linda, Cambridge says:

    The power of love and positivity shines through. You’re so fortunate to have each other!

  7. ‘Armchair adventurers’ (i.e. most people!) tend to focus on the physical aspects of challenges like long distance rowing or mountaineering. My own experience is that the mental and psychological aspects – particularly during lengthy or isolated adventures – is every bit as important: probably even more important in fact. For team adventures one has the support of mates to laugh at adversity when the going gets tough. But although Sarah has a lot of virtual internet supporters she has only the physical company of sea creatures and birds. That’s why your support is so necessary and special. Your part in the success of Sarah’s most extroadinary endeavour will more important than any of us will ever know. Keep up the fantastic effort Lucy!

  8. Sarah Wilson says:

    Thanks so much for your courage and honesty in this blog post.
    The power of love is the strongest magnet on the planet and will draw Sarah home 🙂

    I’m just putting together the interview I did with Sarah a couple of days ago and will get that live shortly. It’s a corker!
    Cheers Sarah W

  9. Shelagh says:

    Beautifully written, Lucy. Your resolve to focus on the present, to deal with what is, and to support each other through this marathon adventure is what we all need to learn to do. One day at a time really does work. And love gives us amazing strength.

  10. Andrew Stevenson says:

    Lucy, you are Sarah’s rock, her foundation on which her life is built. The love you have for each other is precious, far beyond words can say. I’m so glad Sarah has someone to come home too, after her epic voyage. God speed her journey. Love and blessings,
    Andrew.

  11. christina watts says:

    Lucy ~ So pleased to hear that Sarah has you there for her support at all times, to get through this adventure together ~

    ( Certainly thought that Sarah was sounding rather happy in her voice/words as she has been talking to us recently)
    ‘Girl Power’

    big hugs
    xtina

  12. ian says:

    hi lucy,thank you so much for posting such a touching and honest blog about your situation and your part in sarahs continued adventure,i have followed with aweand admiration her travels since the indian ocean row and if I am honest reading your post is the first time the trueenormity of what she is doing has sunken in,the pressure and worry joy and pride experienced by those close to her is beyond my comprehension, I feel for you all,being separated from this remarkable woman must be awful but I hope it helps to know there are many of us at one remove who daily share your concerns and hopes who are willing her on mile by mile and hugely grateful to her and her team for extending the bounds of human endeavour and providing a vicarious sense of adventure to those of us lacking the courage and spirit to do it ourselves,she is remarkable and those of you offering emotional and practical support are pretty cool yourselves,thanks again
    ian

  13. Kathy Joyce says:

    You both have love driving Sarah towards that maple syrup – that’s so wonderful. Xxxxx

  14. hannah says:

    Lucy you are amazing, we love you and sarah lots and are so glad you have found each other 🙂 xx

  15. Jo Langmead says:

    Its great to hear that you are both managing to maintain contact so frequently. Thank you Lucy for now joining the journey. Not only will I now be looking for updates for Sarah but will hope to be hearing updates from you on how your doing. 🙂

  16. Elise says:

    Hi Lucy & Sarah

    I wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience of having an adventurous partner. I too have an adventurous partner and often wonder how others cope, as we virtually ride the roads, paddle the seas, and in the case of my partner Sarah Wilson, climb mountains with them, either from home or the base camp of the day.

    Watching them prepare mentally, helping them physically with any preparation as much as we can and then being available to support them by just listening, talking about other things to distract and or to share news from home etc is a real joy, as well as a heart ache at times.

    The pride we feel as our partners achieve the many minor milestones and ultimately their goals is intense, just as is the frustration, and sometimes fear we feel with them as they find themselves in challenging or dangerous situations.

    Whether it is a solo journey or our Adventurers are doing it with a group, the support you provide in terms of daily contact, positive energy, empathy and faith in their ability to do incredible things and return home safely is just as critical as the rest of the team of technical support people.

    Thanks for sharing, and am keen to here more from you, as you continue the journey with Sarah from base camp.

    Wishing you both safe travels and success.

    Elise

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