Not content to be a Borough and County Councillor, the Chairman of a charitable trust and Mum of two boys with Autism, I decided to sign up for something that appears on the face of it, to be completely insane!
I'm taking part in Leg 8 of the 2017-18 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race as a member of Team GREAT Britain.
Leg 8 is the homecoming leg of what is a race like no other - a 40,000 nautical mile race around the world with an amateur crew.
Leg 8 starts in New York on 25th June, crossing the North Atlantic, travelling close to the Flemish Cap (the fishing grounds made famous in the book & film "The Perfect Storm"), before arriving for a stopover in Londonderry for the Foyle Maritime Festival. Leaving Londonderry again on 22nd July for the final race around Ireland then back to Liverpool, for what promises to be a huge welcome home for the yachts some 11 months after they left in August 2017.
I will be sailing over 3000 miles in 24 days at sea. This is no holiday cruise! (Sadly!)
It's a world away from council meetings and dinghy sailing on the North Norfolk coast.
Why am I doing this? - Too many reasons to mention! Maybe it's the excitement of doing something hugely challenging, maybe it's being a part of the wide & supportive Clipper family, maybe it's the thought of facing down the North Atlantic waves and maybe it's partly about teaching my boys that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
For me, this is an exciting journey. but I'm not too proud to admit that I'm more than a little nervous. This isn't going to be easy, the Clipper Race is not a nice cruise, it's an ocean yacht race and anything can happen.
I've done 4 weeks of mandatory training, and even an extra refresher week to remind myself which end is the pointy end! (Clue - I don't like the pointy end!)
It's been hard, it's been really god fun and I've made some incredible friends along the way, but leaving the boys is going to be hardest of all.
Take those dreams and make them happen!
This is going to be a HUGE challenge not just for me, but my family as well.
We are using this opportunity to raise money for 4 local causes close to our hearts:
The Friends of Magdalen School - Both boys currently Magdalen Village School. If ever there was an advert for a fantastic, caring learning environment it would feature Magdalen. They accept all children for who they are, they've done amazing things with our boys, they have achieved things I don't think they would have achieved at any other school. As a family we are enormously grateful. Small rural schools rock!
West Norfolk NAS - For the local families of children with ASD, the local NAS group can be a lifeline. They provide coffee mornings to meet other families and private, specialist activities such as swimming sessions and trips to play centres in a calm environment where parents can relax.
The Magpie Centre, West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled - Both boys used to ride every week at the RDA. (Boys get bored easily apparently!). Riding is good for their emotional and physical development and is very good therapy. The staff and volunteers are incredibly patient with both the riders and their parents! Disability is no barrier at all.
RNLI - The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Along our Norfolk coastline we have six lifeboat stations from Hunstanton round to Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. Your donations will go directly to supporting the work of volunteer crews and lifeguards in Norfolk who keep our seas and beaches safe 365 days a year.
Volunteer Lifeboat crews provide a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland, and seasonal lifeguards look after people on busy beaches. While the Flood Rescue Team helps those affected by flooding.
So please, whatever you can give, whatever amount - it will be much appreciated.
All money will be split equally between all 4 causes. They are causes that as a family we care deeply about, they have all affected us in no small way.
If you would like to keep updated on my Clipper Journey, please visit my website at http://sandrasquire.com
You can follow Team GREAT Britain on the Clipper Race Viewer at: https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings
Cllr Sandra Squire