WOW!!!! I AM HOME!!!!!! There were thousands and thousands of people and I had no idea how I would find my parents. Apparently - they were near the front and made a fuss to see me - but initially not possible as we were all ushered to the main stage. However, I saw my mum and Dad and other people waiting behind a partitioned area. My Mum came out to me in tears and gave me the biggest hug ever! I know my parents have been so worried about me (and me about me too,lol). And the tears just said it all - relief to have me home finally!
I was truly exhausted it is fair to say, and the last hours were spent saying farewell to people and then back to a hotel for a shower (luxury) and a meal out. We all went out for an Indian, and I think my eyes were bigger than my belly as I couldn't eat as much as I normally do. Or was that the portion of chips I ate not so long before the meal ;)
I guess it would take me time to adjust back into my way of life. As I have already mentioned many months have passed now, and lots has happened. It took me weeks to get life back on track - with sorting out my flat, paperwork, seeing friends, training again for transplant games, re-covering from a scary bout of illness and being left underweight from my sailing venture. I guess I could see how the trip left me very exhausted and totally pushed my body to the max. It is surreal knowing I nearly quit twice due to being so unwell and unable to keep my immuno-suppressants down. I have re-read my blogs over the trip and it seems that my experience was perhaps not negative but that of a challenge I wanted to achieve, and that IT was! It seems I had a lot of lows, and yes I did. I did have many highlights too - but I think it came across more that my sailing experience was of more lows than highs. On reflection maybe so, but the highs certainly kept me going and kept me strong. The Clipper is about sailing, but it has other challenges besides the physical and incorporates mental and inner strengths. Being with so many people with various personalities, having no privacy, no space and nowhere to 'escape'. Being sleep deprived, hungry, and many other emotions that one possibly never knew existed. Time to think/reflect on life.....no quiet as constant noise even when 'off watch'. So regardless, whether I never worked night shifts - sleep was almost a no go with noise of sea/sail changes/weather/crew talking/moving sail bags from where the bunks were....and everything and anything!
The people I have met from this experience are totally amazing and made it all worthwhile. Never in any other circumstance would I have bonded with people across the world interested in sailing unless being part of Clipper. I have made some great friends across the UK and across the world. Some of my crew members on EIC were also truly supportive and helping me through my tough times to finish my challenge. Even, credit to the skipper Piers - who made it possible by helping adjusting my shifts - so that my lungs would not hurt and suffer the cold during the night times. Maybe their were one or two or even maybe more (on the EIC yacht) who didn't get me or understand my health situation and on the Atlantic Ocean journal I went into more details about this. However, in life - people will not always 'get' you and you can walk away - on the yacht you cannot, lol. So, learning to deal with uncomfortable situations and get on with it. My overview from this, is that - I will be in touch with those I like and made great bonds and that is how life is. You can work in your daily job and connect better with some people and some not at all. For the sake of work you all get on and do what you have to do. Then after hours - see other people you want to get to know more. I think you all know what I mean, and in your own way can relate to this (as it happens to us all).
It also made me proud that I DID accomplish my challenge, and I DID raise lots of Organ Donor Awareness across the globe, and made history as the first double-lung transplantee to sail the Atlantic Ocean. I know that when I die, I would have inspired many people and saved life's for the future by completing in the Clipper 11-12 Race (leg 8). So, that is PEACE for me :) xx
I have been asked. 'Will I sail again', to which normally I laugh a lot! Yes....I will, but not as an ocean racer sailor. Sailing is fun and I do enjoy it - but, I think calmer seas - and sailing around hot climates a preference to me. I would like to get back on the water, and see many of the friends I have made again.
I would recommend people to partake in Clipper, it is something that you can learn a new sport, make many friends, and overcome challenges and become a better person from it too. To gain an appreciation for life, food, sleep, and much more. I did actually enjoy being 'basic' such as no time for hair, make up/glamour. Being on land - when arriving in various ports across the world - was like, 'wow' a bed, quiet, calm and enjoying tea and take-aways. How I missed a curry and a burger! ;)
I think that summarises my time and lots of amazing things have happened to me...but, think that will be written up in another blog. Lets just say recognition for my sailing and all my other achievements over the years......
For now, I just to keep well and so excited to be part of Team GB in the World Transplant Games in South Africa (July 2013). I am fundraising - pretty please if you can...click on link highlighted and donate anything you can please, to further help with my awareness campaign raising Organ Donation. Thank you xx
Fundraising for Transplant Sport UK World Transplant Games
That's a wrap for now. Check out my cake made for my welcome home and belated 6th year Transplant Anniversary celebrations :)
Much love to you all, and thanks again for all support, messages, cards, over my duration sailing - love you all xx