When we tell people what we are doing, there are some questions that naturally follow. How long will that take? You’ll have a support boat right?! What happens if you get caught in a storm?! But the inevitable question always follows; why in the world would you do that?
Ocean rowing, like other extreme sports, is the kind of thing you understand if you understand it, if you catch my drift. The draw of the open ocean, the self reliance to survive the adverse, and the humbling reality of being at the mercy of such a formidable force is what has driven me to take on this challenge. It has all felt really natural, as though my 30 preceding years have prepared me for this intersection of adventure, growth and impactful social change.
I was dealt a pretty tough hand growing up. Being raised primarily in the system, I struggled with abuses, homelessness, addiction and depression. That’s a hard thing to openly admit, but I’m learning the importance of not hiding it. From a young age I contemplated suicide, but I refused to succumb. Instead, day after day, struggle after hardship, I decided to put one foot in front of the other, and chased my crazy pipe dream of living a life at sea. I seized any opportunity I could get my hands on, and now just shy of 30 years old, I am the captain of a sailing yacht and I still can’t believe it’s all real.
Through my work in the yachting industry I became aware of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, and felt an immediate connection. I know that kind of perseverance, taking on something that seems insurmountable. I know what it’s like to push relentlessly through struggle and hardship, even though you can’t yet see the other side. When I met Nini, and we shared the same ambition, I knew it was ON!
In the year that has followed since Team OG was born, the pieces began to fall into place, despite our new COVID reality. The ideas began to flow, and the campaign began to take form. The connections we’ve made have helped to inspire us and take a dream to a reality. I can now clearly imagine the start line, and see an impact beginning to form. I can’t even begin to put into words the pride that I feel when I think about the lives that we can change.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have any anxiety about launching our campaign, about rowing, about how my life might change. Opening yourself to public vulnerability is intimidating, and it takes the support of a strong team, positive influence, and commitment to ongoing self reflection and personal growth. I am so proud of what we are creating, and so thankful for everyone who has made this project possible. Stroke by stroke, you can get anywhere you want to go!