On Tempestuous Seas – Rowing Two Oceans – by Elin Haf Davies

“How do you do it?” is a question I often get asked when people hear that I’ve spent 22 weeks rowing across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. My answer – anything and everything can be done when you want to do it.

When you adjust to the physical demands and sleep deprivation that comes from rowing 2 hours on 2 hours of, 24 hours a day for 11 weeks at a time, rowing across an ocean is actually very straightforward. Simple even!  Because there are just three things in life that has to be done – rowing, eating, sleeping.

How many times in the last week would you have jumped at the opportunity to be juggling just three things in your life? Every woman I know is constantly juggling a 1000 and one things. Work deadlines, bills to pay, school uniform to be stitched, car insurance to be renewed, and your mother-in-laws birthday present to be wrapped. The list for everyone is endless and ever growing.

So while my time at sea was physically gruelling it was emotionally and psychologically detoxifying. I didn’t need to worry about paying bills. Keeping my boss happy. Travelling to work in the rush hour. Or worrying what to wear. It was the perfect time for me to STOP! STOP rushing around. STOP worrying about things that really aren’t important but that society dictates that we should. STOP being part of the rat race.

And when I got back, and was re-adjusted to life on land, I felt the same sort of relief when I STOPPED to write a book about my experiences. It was a time to reflect, a time to appreciate what I have and a time to thank those that made my life what it is and to decide what direction I want the rest of my life to take: a PhD, a successful career developing safer better medicines for children, and many more ocean crossings.

I obviously appreciate that ocean rowing or even writing a book doesn’t appeal to very many women, so I’m not going to attempt to persuade the Superwomen of Wales to pick up their oars and pens. But I would certainly advocate that every single one should, now and again STOP. Stop to do something different. Something that takes you out of your daily grind. Something that helps you to see the woods for the trees. Jumping off the rat race treadmill now and again is like recharging the battery, so that you can continue being the Superwoman that we all have to be these days.

On Tempestuous Seas: rowing two oceans (£8.50) and Ar Fôr Tymhestlog (£7:50) are published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst, Wales and is available on line via GWALES . http://www.gwales.com/bibliographic/?isbn=9781845273606&tsid=11

Dr Elin Haf Davies www.nurseelin.co.uk<http://www.nurseelin.co.uk>

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