After six weeks back home, I thought it would be about time to answer the question that I am being asked on a regular basis: “What are you doing next?”. Some of you may know already, but for those that don’t, we need to turn the clock back two years.
I was speaking at a Scout event when a leader named Ash approached me after my talk, asking me about expeditions that might be possible for someone with epilepsy. At first, I was coming up with ideas that would in reality just not work for someone with epilepsy. Although when I mentioned rowing, his eyes lit up. Ash has suffered with epilepsy all his life and currently has one to two fits a week. His condition is not life-threatening and he has learned how to manage the condition very well. Ash is also a cancer survivor and has shown great strength in the face of adversity: just the type of character that is needed to row an ocean!
Ash actually suggested rowing the Indian Ocean, which I thought was interesting, and something that I’d been thinking about myself. It’s funny how sometimes things happen, people come into your life almost if it’s meant to be. At the time I had just come back from Everest and was working on raising the funds needed to cycle around the world so I couldn’t put too much time into it. Also, if I decided I was going to do it, I didn’t really want to mention it until I returned from my world cycle. I did however say to Ash that in principle, I’d really like to do it with him but let’s pick it up on my return.
It didn’t take long before I realised that this guy was really serious, and was putting a lot of effort into the project to get it off the ground. He built a website and started working on obtaining sponsorship. At this point, I knew he was the right person to row an ocean with. His actions spoke louder than words. I ended up cycling around the world thinking about how I was going to row the Indian Ocean, which actually kept me really motivated.
So in April 2015, Scout leader Ashley Wilson and I will row 3,600 miles across the Indian Ocean, departing from Geraldton, Western Australia to Mauritius. There have only been four pair crews that have successfully crossed the Indian Ocean out of eleven attempts. Unlike the Atlantic, we are not going to benefit from the infamous “Trade Winds” that assisted Christopher Columbus and many ocean rowers over the years.
I will personally continue to support the ELIFAR Foundation and the fantastic work they do. However, the project will also support the Young Epilepsy Foundation. We are aiming to demonstrate that, just because you have epilepsy, it doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and follow your dreams.
Moving forward, I shall be spending the next two months finishing my book, which I can’t wait to share with you all. I was scheduled to be leading an Everest Base camp trek in April but have had to push that back to October, due to a few people pulling out and other commitments.
It’s great to be receiving and reading emails, asking for advice on expeditions and sponsorship etc. So please feel free to reach out to me if you are thinking of undertaking an adventure and are not sure where to start. Remember, the first step is the hardest part and the capability to succeed is with everyone!
Out for now,