When I opened my email one morning to see an invitation to fly out to Spain for a few days with very little notice, I sighed and thought to myself ‘maybe next time’. But reading further into the email I was promptly enticed by the opportunity to spend time with Team SCA – the only all women’s yacht team entering the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2014.
So I was invited along with three other bloggers to become an ambassador for the team. Three other bloggers who were similarly fearless, fierce females forging their own paths in the blogging industry. ME!? I thought to myself…
An opportunity I simply couldn’t refuse.
For the past year travelling the world solo as a 22 year old female, I’ve quickly become an advocate of women’s strength – both inside and out. I’ll be the first to admit that I have shied away from the term ‘feminist’, but with Emma Watson’s recent #HeForShe speech at the UN Conference, I’m eager to jump on board for what is hopefully a step in the right direction for feminism – an EQUAL approach to equality. After all, that’s what it’s all about… right?
So while men and women of the world are promptly catching on to the He For She message, I found myself landing in Alicante, Spain, to spend a few days with Team SCA. I came into this project feeling encouraged by the message about female strength (it takes a lot of that to sail around the world I should imagine), and I left the project feeling more inspired than ever to get myself into shape and live the ‘strong body, strong mind’ mantra myself.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014
Team SCA, the only all-female crew in the race this year and the first since 2002, are about to set sail around the world competing against a range of other crews from around the world. From Alicante (Spain) they will sail to 11 ports including Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Auckland, and The Hague, amongst others. You can read more about the race itself here.
Now I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty impressive on all accounts. From first glance I considered the physicality of the race – working around the clock, requiring a great deal of upper body strength, being on board a yacht for extended periods of time, sea sickness, etc. But after a few days with Team SCA I soon learned this was just the start of it…
There’s also the mental challenge of it all that comes with competing at such a high sporting level – as indeed, this is a race around the world.
Why it’s important to get behind this all female crew in the Volvo Ocean Race
But the message I couldn’t move past – despite the sportsmanship, mental challenges the crew face and of course physical endurance – which is promoting the message that women can do anything men can do if they set their minds to it.
Because that’s what it comes down to – a mental choice. It’s not about the shapes of our bodies or the social stigmas attached to masculinity and feminism… it’s a choice. We all have a choice to determine our own path and if it so becomes your desire to sail around the world as a female, I say why not. For the past year I have travelled around the world solo and learned first hand that it is not in any way shape or form easy to be a strong independent woman in the 21st Century… but it doesn’t have to stay like that.
So let’s get behind these women and rally our support for Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race!
If not now, then when? If not me, then who?
– Emma Watson, UN Speech to the General Assembly 2014