Love of the sea fires Andy’s round- Britain adventure
It was a dream the 36- year- old only seriously considered last year after his grandmother died.
“Like all grand ideas, this one was born in the pub after a few light ales,” he explained.
“I go to the adventure travel film festival every year with a couple of friends, always watching other people’s adventures but never getting round to one of my own.
“We thought that jumping in a boat and rowing around the coast would be affordable and right on our doorstep. Turns out we were wrong – it’s bloody expensive and really complicated, but the idea stuck with me.”
While the former Tomlinscote pupil had no rowing experience he was driven by a sense of adventure, wish to escape and love for the sea.
He said: “I’d still not done anything about it until last year, I was busy with regular life.
“I was working and I was a carer for my grandma but we lost her and I was made redundant about the same time.
“So, rather than jumping back in to the nineto- five, I wanted to take some time out for a bit of an adventure.”
What followed was an intense period of training, studying and dedication.
Mr Hodgson added: “I only started rowing this year, I had never been on a boat before that.
“The sheer amount of training has been intense – mainly figuring out what I needed to know was a massive job because I’m not from a rowing background. Luckily I had a lot of help from East Anglian Sea School.”
In addition to spending more than 25 days of classroom time studying sea survival, radio use, skipping and theory, there was physically draining practical training.
“I’ve spent more than 100 hours on the boat practising on the water, averaging 30 miles per day,” he said.
“I think this challenge stuck, firstly because it’s hard to find something that’s not been done before these days and also that I’ve always loved the sea – I’ve been surfing since my late teens.
“I’m too busy to be nervous or excited, which is a blessing, but in those early morning moments when I think that only five boats have made it all the way round out of 17 attempts and none of them were solo efforts, I will admit to butterflies but I just put it to one side and plough on.
“I think being out on the ocean with nothing for miles around will be really freeing – whether it’s an early onset midlife crisis or just a chance to step outside my regular life to do something really rewarding, I’m not sure.”
Mr Hodgson, who will be raising money for MIND and the RNLI, added: “One- in- four of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year and that’s something I have personal experience of.
“I think modern life can easily erode our physical and mental health – they are both tied together.”
Mr Hodgson set off for his challenging adventure from London Bridge last Saturday.
To sponsor him, visit his fundraising page at https: // www. justgiving. com/ crowdfunding/ RoundBritainRow.
You can also follow his journey by liking his Facebook page.