Writer’s Blog

M4 Service Station, near Bristol As I embark on writing the book of my Atlantic adventure, a few sobering thoughts from the great and good of literature: The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid and stable business. (John Steinbeck) It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because … Continued

Painful Process of Prioritisation

Ashburton, Devon Further to the Full Plate Problem, I am going through a painful period of re-prioritisation at the moment. My priorities are organising the Pacific row, writing the Atlantic book, and producing the Atlantic documentary. But where does this leave launching the speaking career and dog-mushing in Minnesota? Alas, it looks as if they are going to fall off the edge of the plate. … Continued

Do Crazy Things in Sensible Ways

Whitsands Beach, Cornwall Last night I was interrogating Jim Shekhdar about his Pacific Ocean experience. I found myself falling into the same trap as I did before the Atlantic – screening out what I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to hear about huge waves, shark attacks, pitchpole capsizes, running out of water and having to drink their own urine. I remember smugly thinking: … Continued

Prospect Worse Than The Reality

Whitsands Beach, Cornwall Jim Shekhdar rowed solo across the Pacific, from Peru to Australia. Currently he is washed up in Whitsands Beach, Cornwall, at his Eddystone Cafe. I came here to talk to him about Pacific rowing. We’d been chatting for a while on the cafe terrace when he said, ‘Time for a swim. Are you coming?’ As with my reluctant row on the Columbia … Continued

Why Do We Go? Guest Blog

Adventurers Club of Los Angeles I received these words in an email from Frank Betush of the Adventurers’ Club in LA. I was so impressed with his succinct summary of the appeal of solo adventuring, I wanted to share. “I religiously enjoy solo bike touring – miles days and weeks of open road, long periods at a repetitive task. You used the term, ‘liberating’. Yes. … Continued

Sedna Shipping Saga

Southampton, Hampshire Today I met with Andrew Morris of PA Freight to discuss the ongoing saga of trying to get Sedna from Antigua to Miami. Andrew has stepped up after another shipping company proved unable to help. My progress across the Atlantic may have been slow, but nowhere near as slow as getting Sedna across the Caribbean. As well as being the official race shipper, … Continued

Return to Emsworth

Emsworth, Hampshire I lived in Emsworth for 5 months while I prepared to row the Atlantic. I loved it. But it seems to have shrunk while I’ve been away. Or maybe my world has got bigger. The wine bar has closed. The local boat heritage project has finished. The Emsworth Food Festival has been and gone. But not much has changed. In a way, this … Continued

Who Would Have Guessed?

Oxford, UK Looking around at my college reunion last night, there were a few surprises. 20 years after we first arrived as freshers in Oxford, rebels have become establishment, and free spirits have become responsible parents. Most were slightly greyer, balder, fatter or wrinklier, but some had barely aged at all, or even improved with age. If we had, 20 years ago, written our notions … Continued

Adventurers Club

Los Angeles, California The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles gave me a warm welcome last night. I was there to talk about my Atlantic adventure. The theme of my talk was my new pet theory: that the gap between your plan and reality is the gap where you learn. If adventures went completely, utterly, perfectly according to plan, there wouldn’t be any point in leaving … Continued

In Haste: Going Offline Temporarily

San Francisco, California Apologies for blogless day yesterday. Internet wouldn’t work, car wouldn’t work. Just one of those days. All resolved now. But having finally got back online and cleared backlog of emails, now have no time to blog as busy packing for departure early tomorrow morning – speech at Adventurers’ Club in Los Angeles tomorrow night, then off back to UK on Friday. It … Continued