On the edge of the ocean

My window sill - the globe for focus, the ball for massaging aching muscles, the Yogi to calm me, the quartz from Mum.

This year is all about the Pacific. Or, more exactly, rowing across it from Japan’s east coast to Canada. The clock is now ticking and the ocean is calling. Gulliver, my rowing boat, arrives next week.

 As I sit here in my room, just twenty metres from the sea, I can hear the waves sloshing on the shore. It is wonderful. I moved down from the mountains last weekend to be here full time. At first I was sorry to leave new friends in the hills, and then I had my first lungful of sea air and knew that there was nowhere else I would rather be.

Twenty steps to the sea and a sunset swim

It is a perfect spot for training, on and off the water. My sponsored  Concept2 rowing machine is set up in a glass fronted room looking out to sea. I take out a sit-on-top kayak for a paddle round the bay most mornings and a sunset swim is just metres away. Not toasty but not freezing, and utterly exhilarating. I have some weights, a skipping rope and a swiss ball for my core training. For brain training I have spent some time recently on the phone with Briony, my very wonderful sports psychologist. I continue to be battered (helpfully) up in Tokyo by my physio to try and right the wrongs done over the first leg from London. My right shoulder is still not right enough and my lower back is holding grudges against me, apparently.

Fresh from the sea at sunset

Alongside the training there is much planning to be done – not just by me, but by my wonderful team of elves back home. We are looking ahead to landing options on the other side (and getting very excited about meeting Canada for the first time in my life), logistics and then the trans Canada/U.S cycling phase beyond that. Although it still feels a bit abstract, we are even looking at the very final bit of blue stuff before the U.K – my homecoming row across the Atlantic.  There is still an awful lot of globe between Japan and London according to my windowsill, but I have more headspace now than I anticipate having for the next two years, so this time and space now is key to the rest of the expedition.

Back to school

Alongside the Skype calls to classrooms around the world, I am also spending time in schools, sharing stories from the journey so far and encouraging students to chase their dreams and believe in themselves. I was buzzing after my morning at the British School in Tokyo yesterday – I realised how much I had missed being around young people since being on the road. One young lad asked if I would have a support boat on the ocean or someone to follow me on the bike to make sure I am safe. ‘No’, said I. ‘Hmm,’ said he, and thought about it. ‘So you’ve got to be careful then?’

I hope that your year has got off to happy start, wherever you are. Stick with us and bring your friends along, too – the next few months are leading into a very exciting time and the ocean ahead will be an adventure. I promise.

Yours from down-by-the-sea,


P.S: Latest education blog here ‘Giant waves & wobbles’ – please circulate to schools and young families

P.P.S: Latest videos here

P.P.P.S: Thanks to all the new sponsors who have joined us recently: MSR, ExtraWheel, Knog, Schwalbe, Starline

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8 Responses to On the edge of the ocean

  1. Bonnie Whisler says:

    I am enjoying following your trip. I wish you all the best and if goods wishes can help, I’ll help get you to Canada.

  2. Chris M says:

    Happy New Year Sarah.

    Excellent effort and great adventures getting to Japan. You must be itching to get back on the sea!

    Look forward to hearing more from you.

    Take care,

    Chris M

  3. Ray Girard says:

    All the prep you’re doing is great; one must feel prepared, but sometimes it tends to pull one in so many different directions that a focus is lost. Remember the beautiful simplicity of this journey: moving forward a bit at a time, in the right direction. The original idea was simple. Keep to it.
    I will try to be there when you land in Canada, just to wave as you go by. What you’re doing is so wonderfully ‘human’. In a small way you are advancing our race.

  4. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi Sarah

    All good wishes for the year ahead and for your next step along your great World trip. Looking back since leaving Tower bridge what you have achieved in so many ways. It puts us all to shame but thanks to you we can share your travels and experiences and help where we can even if it is by only donating some money to help those less fortunate than we are.

    We shall follow your next few months with great interest.

    Just take care and enjoy.

    C & K

  5. George Ing says:

    Thanks for the skype call this morning to Moulton College Outdoor Adventure Students, It was very interesting to hear from someone who has the courage and determination to take on a challenge like this… Good luck with the rest of the journey!!!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi George, It was great to ‘meet’ your class and I really enjoyed finding out about their upcoming rafting trip, too. Remember the swimming rule! It’s not a proper expedition unless you go for a swim 🙂

  6. Anna Peak says:

    HI Sarah,

    Happy New Year to you from all here at Loretto geography. Love watching the clips and reading your blog. It’s amazing what you are achieving whilst we work through the syllabus AGAIN!!!

    From Loretto School Geography Dept x

  7. Robert MacPherson says:

    Hello Sara, Yesterday when I woke up I knew nothing about Sara Outen, (no, I don’t live under a rock on a distant planet)…I’m right here in Lake Tahoe watching your beautiful smile and spirit on You Tube, and cheering you on with real tears of joy, hope, and a vicarious affection that’s as big as the sky!! I know you won’t mind if I borrow a pinch of your courage, motivation, good nature, and resolve so I have. In it’s place I’m sending you this, mere words maybe….I once met and asked a famous world traveler to give me a universal true he had learned. He said I’ve met rich people and I’ve met poor people, happy people and unhappy people, and the money doesn’t make the difference….do you know what does……..memories! Save Passage to you Sara, savor those sore muscles and the thousands that you have touched, I’m one!! God Bless You.

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