• Charlotte Thorogood

Jem and Lauren row the Atlantic - just WOW.

When one of your good friends announces they want to row the Atlantic, you sort of let it wash over you. I mean, yes it's absolutely nuts, but I just thought it was perhaps a phase she'd get over. No, I should have known differently with our Jem. She's one of those that gets something in their head, and without any fuss, just cracks on and does it. I don't know Lauren, but obviously she's made from that very same motivated mould.

So with that December 12th 2018 arrived; the start of the race. Jem and Lauren (her good friend from Uni) and their beautiful boat Boudicea embarked on an adventure of a lifetime from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

From a friends perspective, it was a tough few weeks. I'd wake in the middle of the night and check the app tracking their progress. My productivity at work went downhill; you just couldn't get me off that app to check where they were in the middle of the ocean. It became everything I wanted to talk about, beaming with pride as I told friends, family, even strangers, that my friend was rowing the Atlantic!

Anyway, enough about us at home! Not only did they row those 3,000 miles, each burning 7,000 calories a day, they broke a World Record in the process. It's was that magic icing on the cake. They deserved it after giving their all to the ocean. They ignored every ache deep in their bones, making their way through storms and 40 foot waves, enduring unrelenting seasickness, extreme fatigue and hallucinations.

Girls, you did it and no one can take that away!

These snippets are some of my favourites from their blog:

"The evenings remain our favourite time - usually cooler and with faster conditions. The sky starts with a blank dark canvas and by 2am is filled with a show of light.....stars, satellites, falling stars, shooting stars and we get front row seats".

As we were tucked up in bed, the pair of them were rowing hard and fast. Sometimes it was hard to get my head around. You'll need to ask Jem all about it as she'd simply forget to tell you. She's so modest; an endearing trait that just makes you love her even more. Sometimes she needs reminding that more people have gone to space or climbed Everest!

"The sea is beautiful, intimidating, quite, loud, fierce and calm. It’s weather and moods change so so quickly. We know the waves we have seen have been large but gentle so far and I expect the later part of this row when the winds kick in more and shit will get very real on this boat! The evenings are my favourite. On the big waves, if you time it right you can literally surf the boat down the waves and it’s bloody amazing. Fast, dark, blaring music and manically rowing, surfing and steering down waves into oblivion.  However at the moment and for last 2 weeks sea has been flat as a pancake, it’s tough rowing. When I say flat it’s literally like a puddle it’s weird".

Jem and Lauren make the sea sound like a rollercoaster, only there was no option to jump off. They were on their little boat and had no idea what they were going to face next. Brave just doesn't cut it.

"Two nights ago we had a thunderstorm throughout the night. We won’t sugar coat was terrifying. The thunder was so loud and fierce followed by purple bolts of lightening down onto the water. Telling each other to remain calm, we carried on our shifts in the pouring rain. On the plus side we did get some beautiful pictures of the boat and surrounding purple sea and sky".

We all can't begin to imagine this feeling. Having the power to stay calm over a fear so strong leaves me speechless. Seeing the positive in everything is simply their character, isn't it wonderful. Now I definitely want to see those pictures of the boat in the purple sea!

"We laugh everyday and are trying to appreciate as much as possible. I will say it’s really testing on the emotions. It’s all to easy to get out the cabin and be in a bad mood as your tired, bored and sore and sometimes you want to isolate yourself. Tricky in a 20ft boat.  Or you can laugh about it and appreciate everything here and get on with it. We’re determined to do that and I can’t wait to tell you more of our everyday lives and how much we have laughed".

They tested their bodies to this ultimate challenge, their emotions to the highest level and they both showed such an amazing strength of character. We could all learn a thing or two from their appreciation. Next time you want to have a little moan about something, just stop yourself and fill that void with gratitude for what you do have.

Doesn't it leave you with goosebumps. I'm definitely not saying we all need to jump in a boat and set sail across the Atlantic! But do face up to a challenge. Life can just pass us by and it's important to take moments that come your way. Create new chapters in your book. Seek opportunities to make memories. When people look back on their lives, they regret the chances they didn’t take more than the ones they did.

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