Part of three incredible stories of women doing the impossible in water (WAExpo Takes to the water April 2017).

Stepping on to the stage bare foot and with playful confidence, Sarah delivered the final talk of the day. A jaw dropping tale of endurance, packed full of twists and turns that had us all on the edge of our seats.

At 32, this woman has rowed single handedly across the Indian Ocean and transversed the world (from London to London) by row boat, bike and kayak. A journey of some 25,000 miles and more than 300 hours alone at sea.

What makes a person do such crazy things? Sarah discovered kayaking from an early age and found “she loved being the engine behind where she was going”. Her connection to the water shaped her life’s direction and she still remembers her college professor’s dubious look as he asked “what are you going to do after college?” and she replied “row across the Indian Ocean”.

Despite inviting many people to join her, Sarah’s first adventure saw her spend 124 hours alone at sea, where she was humbled by the raw elemental strength of the ocean and the adaptability of wildlife to cope in such harsh conditions.

Returning from the expedition people asked “what are you going to do next?” and Sarah responded as any great adventurer would: with an even bigger and more extreme idea.

London2London: via the world, was expected to take 2.5 years to plan and execute. It became a Forest-Gump-esque journey of 4.5 years, where she inspired thousands and one very special person in particular.

Goa, a Chinese guy that she met at a service station in china, volunteered to cycle with Sarah over 3,000 miles after hearing her say “anyone can do it, it’s just riding a bike.” He came to embody the spirit of adventure that Sarah set out to inspire. At the end of his journey Goa said “if you want something just do it, don’t worry about anything”.

After setting off in May 2012, Sarah experienced: North Pacific typhoons, mid-ocean rescues, hurricanes on the Atlantic, evacuation after 143 days at sea and finally paddling under Tower Bridge in November 2015 to complete her journey (words from WAExpo).  

When asked by the audience if she was scared, Sarah laughs “I was scared” “I own that fear; it keeps you alive” but  “giving yourself to a situation and seeing what happens is so powerful”.

Find our more about Sarah’s adventures here.

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