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Our Customer Shirley Thompson: Solo Atlantic RowMay 15, 2019 - Financial Articles
Formerly a stewardess for private jets, Shirley has challenged herself by completing ultra-marathons across deserts, mountains, jungles and even Antarctica. Her next and most awe-inspiring challenge is a solo 90+ day, 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic Ocean. This October 2019, Shirley will attempt to row from Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands to St. Barts in the Caribbean. If successful, Shirley will be the oldest woman at 61 and first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic ocean.
We sat down with Shirley to bring you an insider look at the life of an exceptionally resilient female athlete.
WP Diamonds: What brought about this exciting project?
Shirley Thompson: I really wanted to prove to myself and others that a woman over 60 is just as capable as a woman or man of any age! I think women are often considered past their sell by date at 50 and even more so once they reach menopause. This will show girls that we can do anything we put our minds to!
WP Diamonds: There are obviously lots of hurdles to overcome when planning such a big feat, including training, planning, logistics and finances. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Shirley Thompson: Each hurdle becomes an obstacle when I am focusing on it. I had to learn to row, to swim (yes, I became a swimmer last year) to navigate, do various safety courses, get my VHF radio licence, and then set about organising the logistics of it all. Sourcing a boat, getting it refurbished, researching and sourcing the right equipment.
Next, I had to work hard to finance the row myself and by generating sponsorship with brands who “got” what I am doing and are happy to support me. Apart from working two jobs and using my savings, I also sold quite a bit of jewellery to help. I had jewellery that I never wore (mainly from a previous marriage) that had bad associations. I got great prices from WP Diamonds and the funds have been put to much better use than collecting dust and unhappy memories!
I think that the easiest part of the journey comes after you set off, because you know that you have overcome all these hurdles once you are at the starting line. All of it is time consuming and hard, but this is also part of the fun, as each step takes you a little closer to the end goal. Women have so much more tenacity that men in endurance sports because of our higher threshold of pain and more measured in our approach to endurance, so I want to prove that an old bird can smash something enormous like this.
WP Diamonds: How do you mentally prepare yourself for such an intense event?
Shirley Thompson: By taking it in very tiny steps. It becomes totally overwhelming to think of it as a whole, so I focus on bite sized pieces and conquer those one at a time. A dear friend said to me, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That has become my mantra. I will never look at a map and calculate how much further there is to go, there is no value in that. I will focus on rowing in the direction of the Caribbean each day.
WP Diamonds: What excites you the most about your solo Atlantic Row?
Shirley Thompson: Several things: the sense of achievement, as I am just an ordinary woman trying to do an extraordinary thing. The pleasure of being at one with the ocean, surrounded by sea, no land in sight, the peace, the beauty, the wildlife, the solitude, the adventure. The chance to do something less than 20 women have done solo, which is substantially less than the number of women who have climbed Everest. This is huge and each day I am excited by what lies in front of me come October.
WP Diamonds: What is your next goal?
Shirley Thompson: An ice-cold rum punch when I reach the Caribbean! I do think once I achieve this, I will take time to bask in the glory of my achievement and then decide what is next. I still have a long bucket list: more oceans, mountains, maybe a solo flight around the world (I have my private pilot’s licence), but I will probably reward myself with a bit of down time before planning my next madness.
WP Diamonds: What advice do you have for other female athletes looking to beat records?
Shirley Thompson: To be honest, the world records are secondary for me. I decided to embark on this row before I knew that I could win two world records. I would say “follow your dreams” and then anything else that comes with it is a bonus. I don’t want to get fixated on records and not enjoy the moment.
How to sell with WP Diamonds
If like Shirley you are looking to sell any designer jewelry or luxury watches, WP Diamonds is here to help. Whether it is to fund your next project, finally put your divorce behind you or just to clear out your jewelry box, contact us today. Our streamlined selling process has earned us hundreds of excellent online reviews and is designed for speed, ease and to get you the best possible prices.
To get a price quote: Simply fill out our online form and we will be in touch with a price quote.
To get a final price: Schedule an appointment or request your free Royal Mail Special Delivery Pack (fully insured, secure and trackable) to send your items in. When your pieces arrive at our office, they will be assessed and priced by our experts.
To get paid: You can accept payment by bank transfer or request to have your items securely sent back to you for free.
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