It’s the ultimate in social distancing: Alone in a boat for 70 days on end.
On Saturday, Jasmine Harrison, 21, became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic, traversing from the Canary Islands to Antigua.
She missed her family, her dogs, and cold drinking water. But she wasn’t lonely. “They always say that loneliness is one of the biggest sort of issues, but I’ve not really found that. ... It’s actually taken me quite a long time to actually realize that I’m by myself,” she told the BBC.
In a time of lockdowns, Ms. Harrison embraced her alone time. Yes, she did call her mum almost daily on a satellite phone. But she says she relished the feeling of freedom and independence, even on a tiny boat.
Of course, the 3,000-mile journey was challenging. She rowed 12 hours a day, capsized twice, and was almost hit by a ship. But she also encountered whales, a baby turtle, pilot fish, and was escorted by a pod of Risso’s dolphins for a few days. And Ms. Harrison raised more than $26,000 for two charities, the Blue Marine Foundation and ShelterBox.
The swimming teacher from Thirsk, England, says she hopes to flip the narrative on the pandemic, which has reduced opportunities and options for many people (as we noted in our 21 in '21 project). “I just want to inspire people to change your mindset to what you can do, not what you can’t,” she told The Guardian.