Sarah Outen set off 4 and a half years ago on a round the world adventure starting and finishing in London. Since departing London Sarah has rowed, kayaked and cycled across the oceans and landscapes of the world, battling some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Sarah kindly took the time out to talk to us about her incredible adventure.
Congratulations Sarah! After such a long time on the road and at sea you must be exhausted, are you glad to be home or are you missing the adventure?
Thank you for the congratulations. I am glad to be home, safe and happy and surrounded by family and friends. I miss the ocean – it is in my soul – but I am enjoying delving into my memories as I write my next book.
Were there ever any moments when you felt like you wouldn’t be able to finish the expedition?
There have been a number of occasions where the weather has either forced a stop in the journey or threatened to do so, or it has changed the route plan considerably. On a mental thread, I considered stopping and going home in the autumn of 2014 as I couldn’t face another year away from my fiancée Lucy. However, we made a plan for Lucy to join me for two months of cycling over the North American winter and that gave me the strength and focus to carry on.
During your time on the road you visited a number of different countries, what were your favourite foreign delicacies?
I loved the fruit in China and all the versions of dumplings across that Central and Far Eastern region of Asia. The salmon up in Alaska was phenomenal and lots of Russian mothers fed me piles of blinis with home made jam – delicious.
Maintaining a healthy diet during such a lengthy expedition can’t have been easy, what precautions did you take to ensure you kept on top of your diet?
I must admit that until I hooked up with dietician Rin Cobb of PND Consulting in 2014, my only goals were to aim for lots of protein and carbs. That wasn’t always easy to achieve – especially through Asia. Once I had hooked up with Rin and had more insight into what my body needs, I then added in your brilliant Omega 3 supplement, the Gold A-Z MultiVitamin and High Strength Probiotic as well as a daily protein shake. That all clubbed together to revolutionise my health and expedition performance.
Travelling through different climates along with intense periods of exercise your chances of contracting illness would have been higher, did you have any preventative measures in place?
I really wish I had known about the value of probiotics in the first part of the journey. Through Asia it might have helped ease various tummy problems! My health really took a beating during and following the Pacific row in 2013 and I became very ill with pneumonia, severe allergies and subsequent infections from the multiple courses of steroids I had to take for the allergic reactions. I think that vitamins and probiotics would have worked wonders then too!
Since then I have had to be really careful about topping up on sleep and making sure I get good food and rest.
Before you departed from Tower Bridge in 2011 how much planning went into the adventure?
This journey took 15 months of planning, and then that process was ongoing throughout, especially due to the big route and timing changes around the Pacific rows of 2012/2013 and the Aleutians kayaking leg of 2014.
If you had to pick your favourite moment from the entire journey what would it be?
Ooh, tricky to pick just one! Getting engaged to my fiancée Lucy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was very special. I called her up on my Iridium satellite phone and proposed. I had to ask her twice because she didn’t hear me the first time!
Now you’ve finished have you got any plans for anymore adventures?
I am currently writing my book ‘Dare to Do’ about the journey for publication in June. I am also getting married that month – so two very different adventures. I shall always journey – it is who I am – but for now nothing big planned. My mid term goal is to set up an Adventure Farm, where we get youngsters outside and interacting with the natural landscape, and having positive adventurous experiences in a very accessible way.
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of taking on such a challenging expedition?
Commit, be creative, be determined and flexible. Don’t be afraid of failing or embracing change – let the journey evolve.