Why you should say YES to that next epic adventure…
Perhaps you’ve been thinking of going on adventure for the first time but are unsure about taking the plunge. Maybe you’re already a seasoned adventurer and you’ve just been putting the next one off because “real-life” is taking over.
Adventure is defined as “an unusual, exciting, and possibly dangerous activity, such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity”.
As the new year rolls in, it inevitably brings discussions of New Year’s resolutions and plans with it. And for some, the Annual Leave balance has reset and holiday planning gets underway.
With all these new ideas alot of us just talk the talk and only some of us will walk the walk. Hopefully this will inspire you to say YES to more adventures in 2020.
Lead Instructor Tatty Pettigrew talks us through one of her biggest and pivotal YES moments…
Let me set the scene… I’m sitting on a crowded Tube train commuting in and out of London. Summer is over and autumn is drawing in.
My life feels life a record stuck on repeat. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. As we pull into the station, a poster of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race catches my eye.
“Achieve something remarkable!”... “Could this be you?”
They certainly grabbed my attention!
The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other. There are 8 legs in total, made up of 14 races, and the whole thing takes 11 months to complete.
But what about my lack of sailing experience? After some research I found out about 40% of the crew have never sailed before embarking on the intensive 4-week training programme.
So I asked myself the question “Why not?” And I didn’t have an answer. That was that. I was doing it.
By early 2015 I’d sent off my application, had several interviews and been offered a place on the 70-foot-ocean-racing yacht.
Here began my first week of training and the start of an incredible journey!
It was tough – it was like learning a new language and I was afraid of making mistakes, but when I shared my concerns with some of my fellow crew, we quickly realised that we were all in the same boat – pun intended!
After getting introduced to the new routine: eat, sleep, sail, repeat - we weren’t allowed to return to port each evening (so no showers!) and had to get used to the watch system: 4 hours on/off during the night, 6 hours on/off during the day.
Initially challenging but we quickly settled into life at sea and there is something quite magical about watching the sun rise when you are out on the open water – the novelty of this still hadn’t worn off even after 3 months at sea!
I flew out to Seattle in the USA in April 2016 to join one of 12 boats in the final two legs of the race back to London.
Ocean racing is very much a team sport – we took it turns to helm, trim the sails, repair the sails, pack and unpack the sails, clean the heads, empty the bilges, update the log, write the daily blog, cook, wash-up, make teas and coffees and even choose the music for our waterproof speaker on deck!
It’s also things like bacon sandwiches on Sunday mornings on the boat were a real treat after rehydrated meat all week!
After 12,000 nautical miles and 69 days at sea, I also came to appreciate other luxuries in life that we take for granted such as clean clothes, a shower every day and a proper bed!
When I look back at the adventure, I am incredibly proud of our achievements as a team but also as individuals. Throughout the race, I continued to push myself out of my comfort zone; I would never have expected that I’d be able to overcome a fear of heights to climb to the top of a 95ft mast to swap the halyards over whilst the boat was still racing!
I’m still scared of heights but have continued to push my boundaries by learning to climb and have even managed a few abseils!
The adventure also changed my perspective on life. After the race, I returned to work as an IT Consultant with more confidence than ever but still feeling unsettled.
The adventure made me realise there was more to life than sitting in an office. It was the catalyst to kick-start my career change. Clipper is often referred to as ‘The Race of Your Life’ and I wholeheartedly agree. Since this adventure, I have quit the corporate world, re-trained as an Outdoor Instructor, and have completed my first season in the UK.
I’m kicking off this year with another epic adventure and heading to New Zealand to work and explore for a couple of months. Life is precious and should be lived to its fullest so say yes to that epic adventure and see where it takes you.