Sarah Outen’s previous endurance challenge was rowing across the Indian Ocean, as described in her book, A Dip in the Ocean. For most people this will be enough, but not for Sarah. On the 1st April 2011 she embarked from Tower Bridge in a kayak in her latest venture, London2London, the aim of which was to circumnavigate the globe purely by human power; rowing, cycling. First, she had to kayak to France across the channel. So begins an adventure that was to take four years, one bike, one kayak and two rowing boats.
This journey was long, tough and relentless and she had to battle tropical storms, hurricanes, loneliness, ill health and depression. It was physically and emotionally draining too, but Outen is made from tougher stuff; quitting was not an option. It was not entirely solo as she was joined on parts of it by Justine, a world renowned paddler, for the kayaking, and her partner for the bitterly cold ride across North America. The ocean rows though were solo. These were the most risky too, as she pitted her energy and tenacity against the might of the sea. On top of all that, Sarah fell in love too. Her rowing set another raft of records and achievements for her amazing journey. She was the first woman to row from Japan to Alaska, first to kayak the Aleutian archipelago and the first to cross the mid Pacific from West to East under her own steam.
However, this is much more than a tale of a journey round our planet. This is Sarah’s story of being able to dig deep when it feels that everything is against you, having the doggedness to continue even when plucked from a battered rowing boat in the middle of a vicious storm and having that inner strength to get up and carry on. As hard as it is to physically do, the mental drain is equally telling, thankfully the strong team behind her, as well as the kindness of people from all round the globe carried, pushed and cajoled her into completing this quite frankly amazing achievement. Even though she is a better adventurer than author, it is a compelling read.