Whilst the Clipper seed had most definitely been planted, it was struggling to take root.
Over the following 6 months, I would continually drop the idea into my conversation with Nicki who was very supportive. Most of these conversations would, however, end with me outlining the reasons why it wouldn’t work – the impracticalities, the burden of career & family responsibilities etc. I became quite creative with my list of excuses, and I’m not normally known for my creativity! I would quiz Nicki’s father about his experiences of the BT Southern Ocean leg, which only served to create more conflict – excited about the thought of such an incredible adventure, but held back by the chains of excuses. I never mentioned my dream to anyone other than Nicki at that stage and whenever she brought it up in company that I was thinking about it, I would be quick to counter that it was only under consideration and then trot out my usual list of reasons why it was unlikely to happen.
Finally, Nicki’s patience was worn out and she delivered her ultimatum – sign up or shut up! But, but, but I replied. What about all those reasons why not? For the fly on the wall, the conversation over the following hour must have been intriguing as Nicki patiently teased out the real reasons behind my “why not” excuses. The reality was they were all surmountable, sure some easier than others, and all would require some planning, but none were an immovable obstacle. The seemingly immovable obstacle was between my ears. It was only in my own head that there was a deep-seated belief that to take part in the Clipper event was selfish and self-indulgent – an irresponsibly use of savings, rather than an incredible opportunity to be embraced.
Nicki encouraged me to chat about it with the three children (late teens and early 20’s) & the wider family and, as Nicki had predicted, the response was amazing. Yes, of course, initial disbelief, followed by “you must be mad” and “will you be safe”, but overall the response was one of great encouragement and excitement. I realised that far from being selfish, I was, in fact, being a positive role model – demonstrating that life was for living and that our major regrets tend to be the things we didn’t do, the opportunities we didn’t take, rather than the outcome of the ones we did. Better to mess up, than miss out!
And so the decision was made. The application form was completed and before I knew it, I was in Gosport having my Clipper interview. This turned out to be quite a gentle affair and as no previous sailing experience was required and the only criteria seemed to be that you could afford the berth fees, were coachable and not a psychopath. I must have scraped through because 2 weeks later the email arrives – I was in! Circumnavigator on the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The seed had taken root.
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