Leaving Family


As a mother and a wife, leaving my family behind is one of the most challenging decisions I ever had to make. It takes a lot of courage and determination to pursue my personal goals especially when it means that I am putting my family responsibilities on hold. Crossing an ocean in a rowing boat is a risky undertaking, and it requires a lot of preparation, training and mental strength. So how does it feel to leave my kids and husband at home while embarking on such a journey? In this blog, I’ll explore some of the emotions and challenges that come with leaving my family behind to pursue my dreams.

First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that the decision for crossing an ocean for the third(!) time in a row, was not an easy one to make. Leaving my kids and husband (again) at home for an extended period is emotionally draining, and it requires all the trust and support from my family. It’s crucial to have open and honest communication, and my family is amazing! My husband, for example, will be the solid support system for everyone and everything while I am away.


One of the most challenging aspects of leaving my family behind is the feeling of guilt. As a mum and a wife, it’s natural to feel like I am abandoning my responsibilities, not even knowing exactly when I’ll be back. They do know that I love to do what I do, and I am hoping that this will inspire them to follow their dreams too, and to know that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.

Another challenge I face is the fear of the unknown. Crossing an ocean in a rowing boat is a daunting task, and it’s natural to feel a bit nervous. But with proper training, preparation and experience during formal training rows, team building and inner reflection, I start to feel more and more confident in my abilities and trust to find a solution to push through any difficult times. My family already knows what I am capable of. They can also follow my boat’s progress throughout the race on a special racing app, the YB-races tracker, where they can see in real time where my boat is. Occasionally it is even possible to talk to each other by satellite phone.

Then there is safety to consider when I’m rowing across the Pacific Ocean in a rowing boat of course. Knowing that the boat is specifically built for these types of journeys, and it is equipped with advanced safety equipment, it gives me a feeling of safety. This means that I can focus on the journey and enjoy the experience. My husband has also been on board of the boat and knows that the boat is a safe one. Additionally, the knowledge that we are raising money for K9 for Warriors and Neurofibromatosis (NF) makes the experience even more rewarding. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Joining the Ohana2023 team is an excellent opportunity to test my limits, form lifelong bonds with my three fellow rowers Matt, Paul and Marina, and to make a difference for K9 for Warriors and NF.

To my love Anne-Gerrit and my team’s partners Morgan, Ruth and Stephan: Thank you for letting us go and taking care of things at home.