Michelle Lee rowed 5000 kilometres over 68 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean in February this year, officially becoming the first Australian woman to row solo across any ocean in the process.
Now, having just been named the Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year, she wants to see other women pursuing their dreams.
“Currently there are 27 male recipients of the Australian Geographic Society Awards and only 5 females and I want to inspire the girls to help even up the score,” she says.
Lee was 46 when she left the Canary Islands for Antigua, rowing 14 hours a day and encountering wild weather, huge swells, isolation, sea sickness, salt sores and more along the way.
But despite the physical and mental challenges, she’s says the experience enriched her life.
“My struggles also go down in my diary with the good bits. They gave me a sense of the triumph and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says on the journey, noting one particular day of quiet on the water, with no wind or ripples. “The silence was deafening. It was magical, eerie and precious.”
“I now know that the mind rules the body and, when you think there is nothing left in the tank, there is at least another 35 days.
“It’s time girls – let’s climb these mountains, scale the landscape, cross these oceans and make history with our determination, sense of adventure and desire to achieve our dreams.”
Lee has posted on Instagram about the process of setting the goal, training and raising he funds she needed in order to make the epic journey. She said in May 2016 that she decided, “I’d rather row the Atlantic ocean than die wondering.”
Lee will be one of seven winners who will be recognised at the Australian Geographic Society Awards, in Sydney tonight.
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Well. There you have it. 2 years ago I verbslused a goal – to achieve a world record. Stuck to z plan. Put in the hours and 6 months later, did it… when you verbalize an intention and add integrity and determination success will follow. How can it not??? For me, my success came from having a great group of friends who supported me and gave of their time so generously..that’s how I did it. My supporters were the backbone to that chapter…and they continue to be. Thank you to all who have given and believed in me …