FEELING ever so slightly out of place…as I sit in a 8 man rowing boat in Dubai marina in an old t-shirt and a pair of lycra shorts, I can’t help but wonder ‘how on earth did I get here?!’. One week I’m walking my dog through Brierley Hill high street and have never stepped foot inside a rowing boat, the next I’m having tips and rowing lessons with a Guinness world record Ocean rower Katie Patterson-Hart and doing strength and conditioning training 6 times a week with my ledgend of a coach Alex Van Lierde of Health-2go (Dubai). Alex has the patience of a saint and is pushing me hard in his attempt to get me from fat to fit or zero to hero as I like to think of it as.

SquareOneAtlantic is a crew of three ordinary lads, who aren’t rowers by background, who will set out to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic unaided – out there continuously for 40 days and 40 nights – in an attempt to raise over 850,000dhs (£120k) for two charities that work tirelessly against human trafficking and Rape in the United Kingdom and across the world. To those reading this, our mission may seem daunting, even extreme, but to those of us who have become passionate about this issue, human trafficking is an extreme problem that needs to be addressed. It’s relevant even here in our home town.

Endless hours on a rowing machine and forcing down protein shakes dominates my life at present as I try to prepare properly for what will be the greatest physical challenge and adventure of my life so far. I’ll hopefully have a chance in the coming weeks to talk in more detail about not only the training and other aspects of the physical and technical preparation for this expedition, but also the emotional, mental, psychological side as the countdown to our departure for the end of November continues. But this exciting chapter in our lives is firmly set in the context of the important issue we’re doing the row to raise awareness of and the cause which we’re supporting.

It goes without saying that the row will be challenging but it is a challenge we have taken on voluntarily. The victims of human trafficking face challenges on a daily basis of an unpleasant nature and not of their own making.