The day has finally come. The beginning of the end. The final part of my journey. The first day in Dover!
My boyfriend stayed over the night before, for support and so he could wish me good luck and wave me goodbye. He had brought a shoebox and I wasn’t allowed to open it until the morning… Obviously I was very curious but now I could open it!
It was filled with bits and bobs to keep me busy while waiting till I could swim in Dover: a book, a magazine, puzzle books, a rubik’s cube, a book to write stuff in (I have my blog for that too ; ) a rose, one of his shirts (so he was with me) and a letter. I waited till on the boat with reading it. It was incredibly sweet and it made me miss him a lot but he’s incredibly supportive which carries on in spirit. 🙂
So we were all packed and in the car towards Calais to take the ferry to Dover. I was incredibly sad and tears kept welling up.
My boyfriend unfortunately couldn’t come with us to Dover and it felt strange to me. He had played such a big part in my journey and growth. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. His faith in me motivated me and he helped me through the hard parts. He’s been supporting me the whole year, except for the very beginning, and also the very end. It does make the circle go around, and it shows that this really is my challenge, and my challenge only.
My mom also pointed out that I was emotional because of everything I’d done the past year. How many personal limits I’d crossed. How much I’d given up to get here and to do this. It’s been a hell of a year and now it’s coming to an end. Damn haha… Missing my boyfriend was just and easier way to access and process that.
So eventually we were on the boat. I saw a lot of cool oldtimer cars which was pretty cool! 🙂 On the boat I got pretty nauseous. I could barely eat my lunch either.. Being on that ferry, on the Channel, seeing Dover and Calais so far apart: it made it so surreal. Like who in their right mind would ever swim across that?! I finally had that ‘what-the-fuck-did-I-get-myself-into’ moment. So yes, I was extremely nervous for this incredible task..
Then we got to the Varne Ridge Camping. It’s a camping where multiple Channel Swimmers stay. Tracy Clark, the person who’s going to guide me across the Channel, is staying there too. We have a caravan and a little cute house. They’re both situated on top of the cliffs of Dover, looking out over the Channel to France. And oh my, it’s breath taking!
While we were admiring the serenity and of the view Tracy came to meet us. I spoke to her on the phone and we exchanged some emails before but this was our first face-to-face meeting. She’s a lovely person, very motherly and protective, bright and cheerful; she’s an incredibly positive person. She has a lot of swimming and guiding experience and I feel like I’m in good hands with her! 🙂
We had a lovely conversation, she gave me some good advice/tips. She said we would meet up the next day for a swim and a talk where she would show me the equipment we’d use for feeding and such. She also told me about the pilot, Michael Oram, and that if I wasn’t ready to go yet then I shouldn’t force myself to go. She would help me take care of that. My only concern was to swim! We would also then talk about which day might be good to swim. Thursday would be a good day according to the pilot, also according to Tracy, but the weekend would get better! So we would discuss that too! 🙂
I called with my boyfriend for a bit to talk about each other’s days and afterwards I went out for dinner with my family. Rest is important now. Other concerns are for tomorrow! I’m really glad to have Tracy guide me across the Channel. I need exactly her positivity and experience so I don’t have to worry about anything but swimming. And I have an amazing crew/family to distract me when it gets tough.
It’s still scary, I’m still nervous, but I’m also excited! 🙂
I am a nineteen-year-old girl from Baambrugge, a tiny village near Amsterdam, with big ambitions. I like to set big goals for myself, I like to explore my own boundaries and see if I can expand them.