Middle Aged Madness

This last week in my endeavour to row the Atlantic solo in 2024 I’ve been…

Middle Aged Madness

This last week in my endeavour to row the Atlantic solo in 2024 I’ve been wearing many hats; one or two of them new ones, which possibly look a little daft on me at this moment in time.

As I’m a solo, it means that all the social media, all the fund-raising as well as the training and running my own business at the same is ALL my responsibility. Many people have said that I’m mad for even trying.

That’s okay. I took this on knowing some may have difficulty getting their head around it. Also, I knew it would be a lot of work to get to the start line. Despite what others may or may not think, the whole experience is giving me a sense of focus and purpose. It does mean learning lots of new things and challenges that well-worn ‘can’t teach a dog new tricks’ adage. Inevitably, there have been some misunderstandings but at the ripe ol’ age I’ve been privileged enough to reach, I’ve learned that it’s okay to laugh at myself.

Such as when I overcame my natural shyness and spoke up, made silly comments and demonstrated my phenomenal depth of general sea-going ignorance during the week of mandatory courses I attended last year at SeaSportsSouthwest with Tim and Sue Cox. Regardless, I had a go and, literally on the sea-survival course, jumped in with both feet.

Then there was the time recently when I had my first Zoom call with a prospective brand partner/sponsor and arrived 10 minutes late for the half-hour call because I couldn’t connect. I was ignoring the ‘update me now, stupid!’ notification in an effort to go straight to the meeting – doh!

It’s not all tripping up. An early success was doing an interview with Michelle from SheWhoDaresWins when I was out in La Gomera for the start of this year’s race. It only took two takes to prove that mistakes when trying something new are not mandatory!

Back to reality and I have been visiting businesses local to me in the hope of drumming up some early interest in sponsorship. I say ‘early’, but it’s never too early to start as it can take a while for the momentum to build, which is abley demonstrated by the people I met and spoke to about the challenge. they were lovely, but sadly not one of them who said they would have sponsored me thus far. This is also a very time-consuming way of reaching people so, overall, not very efficient. There has got to be a better way.

Which brings me to…dun, dun, duuuuuun…the dreaded (for me) social media!

I’ve been on Facebook for ages but, you know, I’m not consistent – and that’s the problem, especially when you want to reach as many people as possible and get your story out there. I have taken it upon myself to ‘get social’ and learn about memes and posts and reels. Which I’m doing, although boomerangs in this context remain a mystery!  

I downloaded some info specifically about making reels, except one piece of advice flummoxed me completely. The instruction was, ‘make it sound-off friendly.’ The problem was I read it as ‘make it sound off-friendly’ and I thought, ‘that’s just weird – make your reels, what, aloof?’ Genuinely, no word of a lie, this is the confused thought that treacled through my head. It wasn’t until I read that most people watch reels with the sound off that the light went on!

‘Engagement’ is key, however, I have discovered there are a lot of conflicting messages out there in the name of it’s pursuit. My approach is to treat everything as an experiment, make as many mistakes as possible early on (as per Richard Branson’s advice), be myself and, hopefully, one day, I’ll have honed my skills to bring this mad middle-aged endeavour to life for you all between now, the start on the 12th December 2024 and beyond.