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It Takes a Village

How crowdfunding is helping Sarah Outen tell the tale of her epic journey

A guest blog from Sarah Outen about creative community fundraising, rowing oceans, and the epic challenge of turning adventures into films. Her Kickstarter campaign is to be found here.

There’s a neat little quote on the Kickstarter website about seeing what happens when a community comes together to create.  I’m seeing the energy of that collaboration right now as I run a campaign to raise £40K in three weeks, to fund the documentary of my recent expedition.  (My stomach still turns as I write those words and you’ve probably noticed how I wrote 40K instead of adding all those noughts.)

During my first big expedition to row solo across the Indian Ocean I didn’t really pay much attention to filming and so the resultant film was comically lacking. (I barely shot any footage of me actually rowing, for example, and I mostly talked about food) That was fine as it was never a major goal for me and I chalked it up to learning. But it did mean that for my London2London: Via the World expedition I was keen to pay more attention. It still wasn’t the primary goal of going – because going was that goal in and of itself – but I did pay more attention to my gear, a loose plan and thinking about the final film itself. I even paid other people to film me at different times and occasionally just gave my camera to whoever I was with, too – for them to film themselves or me or whatever.

It is almost two years since I passed back under Tower Bridge in my kayak, almost five years after I had first paddled beneath it in 2011, as I started my London2London:Via the World expedition. It feels like the right time now to be making the film, now that I am further along with processing and settling than I was when I first got home. It has been an interesting narrative to watch in my head and see how my attitude to, and my sense of it, changes with time and space. Edges have been softened, traumatic stuff has had a chance to calm albeit still invading at times, and I have more headspace available to let feelings and thoughts arise, more energy to consider with.

My book ‘Dare to Do’ was written in a much shorter time frame, so it will be interesting to compare the two versions of the journey in that sense – notwithstanding the fact that I won’t be editing the film. On first coming home I had the attitude that everything needed to happen at once, perhaps as a way of trying to make sense of a time which felt very topsy turvy, but with the passage of months I see the power of putting distance between a journey and its storytelling. It’s almost like letting bread rise, I suppose. It was also about finding the right person to pair with – which I did last year in kickass and award winning film maker Jen Randall.

We have our vision, our plan and budget – at least on paper –  and we have bundles of energy. We have two Presenting Sponsors in Inspire + and Natracare, both organisations I have close relationships with from the expedition itself. And for the remaining two thirds we are hoping that our Kickstarter campaign succeeds.

And so here’s my invite for you to join the village helping raise this film – to check out our project on Kickstarter, watch the film, share the page and pledge if you can. The way Kickstarter works is all or nothing – if we reach our target you get billed for your reward which goes towards us making the film and delivering said reward.  And if not, then we get nothing. Each time I check in on our page my tummy turns in nervous anticipation. I feel so lucky to live in this age of democratised storytelling with access to such a broad audience and models of front-ending support and purchasing products in this way. It means that anything is possible.

To find out more about Sarah’s journeys and projects check out or @Sarah Outen on Twitter. And for Jen, check out and @lightshedjen.

Their Kickstarter campaign is to be found here.

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