Sarah Outen MBE rose to fame after spending 1,676 days looping the globe by biking, rowing, and hiking. Her London2London adventure was a huge feat and took its toll both mentally and physically, but she is still enjoying a life full of adventure. She updates us on what she's been up to.
After a very frustrating six months of ill health at the start of the year, spending five weeks in June celebrating my honeymoon in Alaska and the Yukon was a perfect time to unwind and recharge. It was also a time to start rebuilding my fitness. My wife and I used our borrowed truck as a base for covering the big miles and then camped or slept in hammocks if we weren’t out on biking or canoeing trips where we camped on river beaches beneath spruce-lined skylines. We cooked over open fires, improvised shelters, hunkered down through rain storms and hail, washed in rivers and lakes, and watched wildlife watching us.
One of my favourite things about being outside and on a trip like this is the chance to reconnect – with nature, with others, and with myself. The pace and the simplicity of life unhurried and where the main tasks of the day are to find somewhere to sleep, something to eat and something to drink leave space for a settling mind and growing sense of calm and balance. It is definitely my happy place.
Coming home from a journey I often struggle to maintain that balance and sense of headspace and often find myself promising to put my health first. It’s so easy to let that slip and get swamped by being busy and making excuses.
I’m really pleased that this time I have managed to sustain the progress and balance I found in North America. Since coming home in early July, I’ve made it my routine to start the day with meditation and yoga, grounding myself physically and mentally. On the days when I’ve been away from home and unable to do yoga, I have missed it physically. On returning home and restarting, I realise my mind misses it too. For in some way, perhaps yoga gives me something that being outside also does – that connection to myself, mind and body balancing and grounding, and just a simple task to focus on. I think it’s something about being, coming inside of ourselves to see what’s going on for us in that moment. Becoming aware of ourselves.
A year ago I was in the midst of a breakdown: the fragile antithesis of everything I am right now. Afraid of myself and of the darkness that had engulfed me, I struggled to look after myself and complete even the simplest task. Bit by bit, daily meditation, yoga and exercise helped save my life at that time and in the months to come it helped me regain some sense of balance and connection. While I wish I hadn’t had the turmoil and terror of another breakdown, I am grateful for the insight it gave me and the renewed reminder of what’s important. That is to stay connected to myself, aware and grounded if I am to maintain balance and peace.