Dream Dare Do - Sarah Davis on Paddling the Nile
We caught up with Sarah Davis who has the dream to achieve what has yet to be done by any human, Paddle the Nile. All 6835 km of it. Sarah tells us how the journey came about, her passion for inspiring others and what it takes personally and professionally to achieve a world first.
Describe yourself for us, how do you see yourself?
I am someone who loves sport and loves the challenge of trying new things and working towards a goal. I like the feeling that I am progressing and moving forward, it's what makes me tick.
As a recovering control freak (not fully recovered) this trip is going to be about letting go of total control and learning to be very adaptable. I'm someone who gets bored easily and am happiest when I’m working towards the next race or challenge.
I'm not a lie on the beach type person; I last about 5 minutes. I am more a passionate and active traveler having had some incredible trips from trekking in Nepal to riding across the Namibian desert, diving in Mozambique, skiing the French alps, mountain biking in Laos and playing polo in Argentina, the list goes on.
My party days are long behind me – catching up with friends over brekkie or coffee is heaven. Creativity is also important to me, where once, it was photography and a bit of painting, I am now doing more video creation in relation to the expedition and keeping my Insta going.
How has your dream come about?
Back in Jan 2016, I was at a point where I had a job at Macquarie Bank, that I loved. However, there was still something missing; I needed more fulfillment in my life. I had to search for what it was and where it would come from for me. It took some time. These questions are not always easy to answer!
To be honest, it’s been a lifelong search, but then I came up with this expedition. It was like the ultimate ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. It brings together my love of sport, challenge (an understatement with this expedition), connecting with people, travel, and creativity.
What do you think the biggest struggles or hurdles will be to achieve this dream?
There are a number – some before the expedition can even kick off and plenty during. Primarily these:
- Funding: As with all expeditions, getting the funding is challenging. It seems to be a shrinking resource in a growth area, with more people wanting to get out and undertake some incredible expeditions and adventures for many worthy causes.
- Logistics: Getting the right people on board and the right equipment all in the right place and right time. A lot of rights need to line up!
- Mental Challenge: I’ll regularly be in highly stressful situations thanks to the environment (think huge scary rapids and extreme heat to name two), the local wildlife in the shape of crocs, hippos, snakes (my phobia) and many others, and potential human sources of stress. Take all that and add on physical tiredness and keep going for seven months. The mental challenge is huge and probably going to be greater than the physical challenge.
- Physical Challenge: It will be tough. Avoiding overuse injuries, sickness, physical burnout. And if I can’t avoid them, then dealing with them as they come up.
In what way do you imagine this quest will change you?
It so hard to say as this is so removed from anything I’ve taken on. I will certainly come away with more awareness and appreciation of the countries, the lives of the local people and their cultures as I make my way along the Nile. It will test my boundaries physically and mentally and increase my resilience in both I hope. In summary, a deeper knowledge of myself, what I am capable of, what I value and the message I want to share with others.
If you could ask for support, in what ways would you need it?
Right now - $$$ so I can make this happen!
Beyond that, donate to CARE Australia an incredible global humanitarian aid organisation, fighting poverty and putting women and girls at the centre of their initiatives.
Become a #Winning Woman: I want to use this expedition to build a community of women of all ages encouraging and inspiring each other to do what they love, get out of their comfort zone and do things they may never have thought possible. Getting out of the comfort zone takes courage. But courage is contagious, so let’s share our stories!
Finally, it would be great if people follow me on Instagram and Facebook, jump on the website and sign up for my newsletter.
Particularly for the women/girls who are watching you take on this endeavour what would you like them to know/understand/believe?
That anyone can do this, whatever your dreams are, however big and bold they are, you CAN make them happen. To open your mind and keep searching for what it is you really want out of life and not to settle. Life is way too precious for that. Don’t be content to do the things everyone else is doing, or how they’re doing it. Stand out, that's what you’re meant to do. Whatever your imagination can conjure up, your body can fulfill with a determined mind and clear vision.
To quote Dr Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”