Geographical Heroes: Sarah Outen

So, for the first Geographical heroes post, I have chosen a young woman named Sarah Outen. You may have already heard of her. She was the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean, and only the fourth person ever to complete the row solo. Sarah’s adventures first came to my attention while browsing through my Amazon recommendations. A recently published book, ‘A Dip in the Ocean’, about someone who rowed across the Indian Ocean completely on their own. It sounded like a good read, which it was.  I would highly recommend anyone with a spirit of adventure to read the book and follow Sarah through her journey.

Sarah, who is described as a ‘British adventurer and author’, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society which means she is considered to have a deep involvement with geography, and if you look at her adventures it easy to see why.

The Solo row across the Indian Ocean: Starting on the 1st April 2009 from Fremantle, Australia, Sarah rowed in her custom-made boat ‘Dippers’ for 124 days across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius which  is a distance of around 4,000 miles. Wow! There is a short video produced by the BBC about her Indian Ocean voyage, and the article below it shows a map of the route she took. On the 3rd of August 2009 she reached her destination and completed the adventure. It seems though this gave her the taste for adventure as she is about to begin an even greater challenge.

On April 1 she is set to begin her next adventure. The expedition has been named L2L, London to London: Via the Worldm where she will be travelling ‘around the planet by human power’. This ‘Sarah-powered’ voyage around the planet will involve a very large amount of rowing, cycling, and kayaking from between starting and finishing lines in London via Europe, Asia, America Canada, the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Sarah has already broken records, but when this challenge is completed she will be the first ever women to row across the North Pacific Ocean. Pretty good going for someone so young! The route she will take across the world is around 20,000 miles and is estimated to taken around 2 and a half years.  That is one major commitment, and shows you just how motivated this woman is to devote herself to a project like this. The sheer logistics of this kind of expedition is incredible.

It is clear to see why she would be considered a geographical hero. For most people, geography = maps. And clearly Sarah is going to need a lot of skills in navigation and ‘going in the right direction’. We are fortunate in this day and age, that technology and the use of GPS can help greatly with this, we have come along way since the days of Christopher Columbus, but there is still a very great level of skill needed. But clearly the journey is much more than that, it is about adventure and exploration, two concepts which are the driving force for many geographers. It is clear from Sarah’s website that she is keen on educating people about the world using her adventures. She has also given a whole host of talks, to wide range of audiences. Clearly a young lady who has the spirit of adventure, and by travelling across the globe will be able to enlighten many people about the world that we live in, and the sheer diversity that is present across the many landscapes that exist. A geographical hero!

Sarah starts her next adventure on the 1st April 2011 and you should be able to follow her adventures here as the journey unfolds.

I wish her all the best on the world adventure!

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