Transferable skills from ocean rowing

Being a freshly-minted political candidate can at times seem almost overwhelming. There seem to be so many things to do, all of them vying for top priority. I have to remind myself, as I often did when I was rowing across oceans, that I can only take one oarstroke at a time.

In fact, there are many transferable skills from ocean rowing. Here are three more:

(But just before I go there, I’d like to thank the many kind and generous people who have asked how they can support my campaign, even from afar. There is a big yellow Donate button on this webpage – thank you!!)

Right, on with those transferable skills.

1. Always remember why you’re doing it

I don’t really like physical exercise. And I have distinct reservations about oceans. I’m more of a hills-and-woods kind of person. So there were often times when I didn’t want to be on the ocean. And I imagine there will often be times when I question why I’m in politics.

But as Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He (or she) who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

2. Keep your eye on the bigger picture

Progress on the ocean could be frustratingly slow. I got especially frustrated in the doldrums, when invisible currents sent me spinning round in circles. I was going quietly insane when a longtime supporter sent me an urgent message reminding me to zoom out the scale of the GPS.

When I did, I could see that for all my micro-meanderings, at the macro scale I was still making overall progress in the right direction.

3. Aim for the right destination

On the Atlantic, my first ocean, every day was a struggle. I was injured, much of my equipment was broken by the harsh conditions, and I didn’t even know if I had it in me to succeed.

At last, after over 3 months at sea, I was tantalisingly close to the end of the voyage. Or so I thought. I discovered that I had misprogrammed my GPS. I’d entered a wrong digit in the coordinates, meaning land still 60 miles further away.

I try to stay mindful that the end goal of my campaign is not to become an MP. It is to make a difference by being of service to my constituents and to my country.

Becoming an MP is not the end of the journey – it is the beginning.

Life of Roz

I’m on a short trip to the glorious Yorkshire Dales for a speaking engagement at the Swinton Park Hotel tonight, and it all came about through the Lib Dems. At spring conference I got chatting with a fellow newcomer, who when I asked about her work, said she and her husband had bought back his family home and now run it as a hotel. I pictured a cute little B&B. It was only later when she was introduced onstage as Felicity Cunliffe-Lister that I discovered the “cute little B&B” was in fact 20,000 acres with a stunning 42-suite castle hotel.

So here I am. And tomorrow a group of 15 fabulous women come to join me here for a weekend retreat in the rustic tree lodges.

Upcoming Events

If you are one of those super-organised people who does your Christmas shopping in September, check out the Cheltenham Arts and Crafts Market this Saturday. Also the opportunity to book a place on workshops to make your Christmas wreath or festive centrepiece.

Love doughnuts? Good news from The Cake Tin in Malmesbury!

Well done to the intrepid volunteers of the Cricklade Bloomers for their good work on the footpath. I was out canvassing in that heat, and it was brutal!

Swindon Open Studios is on for the next two weekends – looks like there will be all kinds of inspiring and beautiful creative arts to enjoy.

(If you have local announcements you would like me to share, please ping me at

Roz at Large

I will be at the Lib Dem autumn conference in Bournemouth from 23rd to 26th September, and will be speaking on the main stage during the conference rally at some point between 5.30 and 7.30 on Saturday.

I’ll be at the Planet Local Summit in Bristol on 29th-30th Sept.

Then I’m appearing with Wilder Journeys editor Laurie King at the Blue Earth Summit in Bristol on 11th October at 5pm, and speaking at Explorers Connect, also in Bristol, at 7pm on 12th October.

I’m scheduled to be on BBC Politics West on Sunday 15th October.

In the meantime, if you live in the Cotswolds you’re likely to see me out and about on a frequent basis. Look out for the yellow hat – and I’ll be under it!

Everything you wanted to know about nutrient neutrality, but were afraid to ask….

NN has been in the headlines recently due to Conservative proposals to scrap environmental protection regulations. Those proposals have been blocked for now, but if you’re curious, check out Why does ‘Nutrient Neutrality’ matter for our precious Wiltshire chalk streams, and what can we do to save them? by Jo Lewis of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, of which I am a proud member.

Quote of the Week

“Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell.”
— Amal Clooney
Have a great week!


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