With less than 3 weeks to go before I set off for the Alps I’ve been taking a moment to reflect on all that has brought me to this point. The last time I was heading to this corner of France it was to attend a very different event – my wedding.

What would I tell the girl in the photo? She looks like me, but she is a far cry from the person I’ve become. I would tell her that life has bigger plans for her, that a wedding ring doesn’t guarantee a happy life together, and that everything will be alright in the end, even if the road will prove to be long and often painful.

At times it has been difficult to accept that at 41 years old I’m not living the dream of family life and – I’ll be honest – learning the basics of kayaking on freezing cold dark nights in icy water really didn’t seem like a fair trade.

But when I think about all the incredible people I have met, the time and energy they have dedicated to bringing this project to fruition, and all the fears I have overcome and the confidence I’ve found, I’d trade the white dress for a dry suit and a paddle without question.

So, a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project so far, bring on the finale!

There’s still time to sponsor me at www.gofundme.com/kayakforblackthorn

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