Adventure doesn't care what sex you are. But there are things that girls heading off into the wild need to take into account as long distance rower Laura Kennington explains.
There will never be the perfect time to begin an adventure – so just start now. All the other details can be figured out along the way and things can be moved around to fit in with what you want to accomplish. Obviously preparation is important but you’ll learn much more by getting on with it than you ever will by reading about it. It can be a steep learning curve but there are always people to help - everyone had to start somewhere.
Do something that makes you proud and fills you with excitement. Anything that puts a big grin on your face is a good place to start! It doesn't matter what anybody else makes of it - approval comes from the inside first.
A charity or cause you care a lot about can be a huge motivation. On the toughest days, you will need a mental reserve to see you through. Make sure you know why you’re doing it, keep the finish line in sight and allow yourself to recharge if you need to.
Brace yourself, ladies. Sadly, we tend to get a few more silly questions thrown at us than we would like. My personal recent favourite – “But what happens if you all get your period, all at once?! I heard that the menstrual cycle of females synchronise when they spend a lot of time together!!” Gosh, can you imagine? Never mind the 40ft waves – expedition disaster in the eyes of this grown adult male is apparently lurking just one communal menstrual cycle away! I've also been challenged to several arm wrestles by complete strangers, who believed this to be an excellent way to disprove my suitability as an ocean rower. You've been warned.
This makes a huge difference to your experience and it’s worth doing a really thorough recruitment process; personality profiling questionnaires and physical tests that give you an insight as to how well people handle fatigue are a great place to start. Hold yourself and your team mates accountable to promised deadlines and moods; reliability builds trust and try to be aware that challenging times are to be expected, but prolonged negativity really drains the team. A good sense of humour is essential – a morale boost through laughter is worth at least 5 chocolate bars.
It can often feel like there’s a never-ending list of things to do for a huge adventure so it’s easy to rush on to the next task as soon as one thing gets completed. It’s really important to actually notice all the things you’ve achieved, as well as all the things left to do. Without taking some time to celebrate, you can really easily lose perspective. You’ve already done more than many ever do in taking brave steps towards your passion, so cut yourself some slack. The greatest achievements have a lot of hard work behind the scenes and nothing great was ever done without enthusiasm.
Laura Kennington is a key member of Team Boatylicious, four adventurous girls who will be taking part in a gruelling, 2,100 nautical mile rowing race from California to Hawaii in June 2014. They will be raising funds for The Ahoy Centre and Hope and Homes for Children. For more information about the team, the challenge and how you can help, visit their website at www.boatylicious.org.
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