Sarah Outen: Changing Adventurer Stereotypes

Traditionally when you think of adventurers the likes of Indiana Jones spring to mind and its fair to say it isn’t an occupation that Hollywood or anywhere else for that matter has portrayed as one for women (with the exception of Lara Croft perhaps). However now we are seeing an influx of female adventurers and one of the most exciting of these is Sarah Outen.

Outen was the first woman and also the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean. Her latest adventure sees her taking part in an expedition called ‘London 2 London Via The World’ and you can probably imagine some of what that entails. This trip around the world required Outen to get around the world using only human power, which means cycling when on land and rowing or kayaking on water…a pretty exciting and daunting task.

So how exactly is she fairing? Outen is currently part way through her expedition, she began by getting to Choshi in Japan and after 26 days of rowing from Japan to China she was hit by a tropical storm. The storm damaged her boat and she was forced to return home, but this hasn’t affected her confidence as she continues to make preparations to get back out there and finish her journey.

What this earlier than planned return did allow for was Outen to answer some questions about what being an adventurer means to her. She announced that she had always been a fan of the outdoors, whether it was camping or playing sports and this interest led to her joining a canoe club. All this has built up to her taking on the huge challenge of travelling 20,000 miles around the world.

So what was her motivation to do this?

Outen said she began dreaming up the journey whilst she was completing her first ever adventure of rowing across the Indian Ocean. It was her love of human-powered journeys and the subsequent encounters you get with wildlife and nature that you wouldn’t get if you were to use a regular form of transport. She looks forward to ending this expedition having grown, learned and hopefully having satisfied some of her adventurous streak. There are also plenty of records at stake if she were to complete her goal; she would become the first woman to row solo across the North Pacific, the youngest person to ever solo all three oceans and the first person to row from Japan to Canada. But for Outen it is the journey that is the ultimate reward, of course no one is going to turn down the accepting of such accolades but they aren’t the main driving force for her doing the trip. Outen has maintained a level ‘travellers’ head throughout all her experience and says she doesn’t like the petty attention on records, rather she thinks that the journey should be enjoyed and respected for what they give to the adventurer on the way rather than afterwards.