Have you thought about why you’re taking on this challenge? What does it mean to you personally?
Camilla: Life is boring without adventures and challenges.
Sophie: I have always enjoyed all the adventures I have been invited to join with family and friends, especially sailing. I really wanted to plan something myself but I really didn’t expect it to be of this grandeur. I’m not sure why but the idea of rowing the Atlantic sparked a passion in me. To me it is mostly about the journey, experiencing such a personal challenge, together as a team
Hege: When I got the chance to be a part of the team, all I could think of was the fact that turning this down, and just returning to my everyday life, no longer was an option. As an individual I started thinking of how this would be a chance to see how far my mind and physique can stretch. Doing this with four other individuals, will be an experience I would never get elsewhere.
Cornelia: I have wanted to take on a bigger challenge for a long time - a challenge that would both test me physically and mentally. When Sophie and Camilla approached me I understood that “here it is” and that I could not turn this offer down. The idea of not living my life to the fullest makes me petrified. It is a learning experience to partake in such an amazing adventure and the extensive process it requires. Hopefully I will feel less restless after this expedition.
How did your loved ones respond when you told them?
Camilla: At first they thought we were crazy (some still do), but now that things are getting real they show more interest and enthusiasm.
Sophie: My step dad is the adventurer in my family and to a great extent the one who has inspired me to take on this challenge. His immediate reaction was to grab the chart and start plotting our route. The rest of my family are supportive, although a little worried about my safety.
Hege: They didn’t believe me at first. I’m not sure if they’ve fully understand it now either. But I know they support me, and can’t wait for an excuse to go on a holiday to Antigua.
Cornelia: Mixed. Some were worried. Some were super excited. Some were indifferent. Some were jealous and some even got a bit crossed.
How does your overall preparation look like?
Camilla: As we are progressing I am realizing how much preparation is actually needed. Who knew that being able to rewire the electrical system in the boat is about as essential as having a strong body.
Sophie: When we set off from La Gomera we will have completed a large part of the challenge already. We will have spent one and a half year raising money, learning everything about ocean rowing, preparing the boat with all the technical equipment that comes with it, acquiring the necessary qualifications and training together as a team, both physically and mentally.
Hege: The rowing and spending time with the girls in a boat, is becoming natural. The physical training is going well. Our essentials, concerning sponsors etc, are slowly taking shape. Besides this, it is the hours I put in thinking about the challenge, imagining how I will cope with sleep deprivation, thirst and bum blisters. Not the least, how all of this will affect the team.
Cornelia: We work very well as a team and we are slowly but surely getting towards our goal. It is such a broad specter of things we have to cover - for instance physical/mental training, funding, team building, rowing technique, different courses, meteorology, navigation, first aid etc etc the list is long. Everything is preparation and we are preparing to the best of our abilities - however with a full time job next to the project it is clear that we sometimes feel that the start of the race is approaching too quickly.
What is your biggest fear?
Camilla: My biggest fear is that someone will get lost at sea. I also fear experiencing fear, with huge waves and extreme I think that’s inevitable.
Sophie: My biggest fear is that something will happen to one of the girls when we are out there. My second biggest fear is that equipment failure will put an end to the crossing.
Hege: My fear has evolved from sharks, to something happening to either of the girls, or something crucial happening to the boat that will force us to quit the race.
Cornelia: That someone will get hurt and how I (we) will react to sleep deprivation.
What excites you most about this trip?
Camilla: Adventure! Escaping the habitual routines of daily life and the stress of work and social commitments. I love my work and I’m a really social person but sometimes it can get a bit too much. I’m looking forward to have time to reflect and to just be.
Sophie: I can’t wait to experience the nature out there with all it can offer. Amazing sunrises, incredible skies and hopefully a whale or two.
Hege: How I will get to share this experience with others, and how this journey will affect me as an individual. Celebrating santa Rowega in years to come ( a holiday that will be placed on the date when we arrive in Antigua), and how I imagine I will appreciate all our basic human needs, in a whole different way.
Cornelia: Being on this adventure and share it with my fantastic team. I cannot wait to be in one with nature and taking one day at a time focusing on getting water, moving the boat towards our goal and being the first Norwegian girls to ever have rowed across an ocean.
And finally- Why did you decide to collaborate with Fitsmind and combine the physical preparation with mental training?
Camilla: Sara has been an amazing addition to our team. She trains our ability to control our thoughts and actions, which will be incredibly important when living together under extreme conditions. It’s great to have these sessions together - it’s almost like group therapy, it really strengthens the team.
Sophie: I have always heard that the crossing is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. When you think about it it makes sense. Imagine spending 24/7 with three other people in a confined space for nearly two months. Add to that sleep deprivation, physical pain and fatigue. Would you be able to always be the best version of yourself? People who offer us advice tend to focus more on physical preparations. Perhaps because it is easier to plan and control. When I heard of Fitsmind and their focus on combining mental and physical preparation I immediately reached out and asked if they would be interested in helping us.
Hege: I don’t think it’s our physical state that will get us across the ocean. Training our brain into coping with this kind of challenge, will be one of our strongest assets while out on the boat. Knowing that you’ll experience fear, anger and despair, and being able to deal with it. Not the least. Knowing your team, and knowing that they’re behind you.
Cornelia: It is all in the head. Well, of course a trip like this requires a big deal of preparation of all sorts, this preparation is not worth much if the individuals and the team as a whole does not work well. What will get us over the Atlantic is our will to succeed and Fitsmind are helping us having the right tools to do so - out there we cannot give up and that is when we will use the methods we are learning from Fitsmind. We are crossing under the slogan: #WWSD (What Would Sara Do).