They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Well, for most ocean rowers, a journey of 3,000 miles across the mid-Atlantic begins with the first few strokes pulled on an indoor rowing ergometer, or "erg" for short.
And that’s where I began when I started training to row across the Atlantic in 2025.
Indoor rowing on an ergometer provides a controlled workout environment that allows me to:
• Work on rowing technique
• Build strength
• Improve cardiovascular fitness.
There’s only one problem.
This summer, I’ve begun training in a 5m coastal rowing boat.
The experience of rowing on water in an actual boat introduces additional factors such as:
• water conditions
• weather conditions
Sometimes, we think we understand something based on theoretical knowledge or simulations…
But the true essence and intricacies of the experience can only be grasped through real first-hand experience.
Imagine driving a flying car. You can picture it. You can theorise about it. But the fact is, you won’t know what it’s really like until you're in it.
There’ll always be something about the real experience that you didn’t consider.
I talk to clients all the time about stock market volatility and try to prepare them for market fluctuations.
But nobody knows how they will feel or react until they see their investments drop in value.
So how do you build up experience and, better still, resilience?
You do the doing bit.
You experience how it – whatever it is – feels.
But there’s a catch.
This works better in some situations than others.
For example, you might rent in an area first, before you buy – so you know what it’s like to live there.
But you can’t "have a go" a being a parent first before you decide to do it.
In some cases, you just have to do it.
Take retirement as another example.
Nothing in working life replicates what retirement will feel like – other than maybe a long holiday. But even that’s false, because you always know the holiday is coming to an end.
A client and I came up with a solution recently to agree with their employer that they reduce their working hours by 50%.
This meant they were working two days, sometimes three days a week, but never any more.
This would give them hours and hours of free time to blissfully while away and to see what retirement felt like.
Time to fill those gaps.
If it meant that they needed to develop more hobbies and interests, they could work out what those interests were.
If it meant highlighting gaps in their social circle, they could invest more time in friends they hadn’t seen for years.
Gaining real-life experience is crucial to fully understanding and appreciating the nuances involved.
In a broader sense, this concept can be applied to many areas of life, from sports and hobbies to relationships and career paths.
Embracing new experiences and seeking out opportunities to learn and grow can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world around us.
Our planning service WealthMap® – with its stochastic and deterministic modelling tools – has jettisoned our financial planning into the next century.
I’m incredibly proud of what it can do… but it has one weakness.
It can’t tell you what anything on the screen actually feels like in real life.
You have to do the doing bit for yourself.
P.S. If you've got a big idea you want to finance – or, you're simply ready to take the next step on your personal wealth journey, here's how I can help.
The best way to learn how to get from where you are to where you want to be when it comes to your lifestyle and your finances is to request a 1-to-1 Wealth Strategy Session.
During this session, we'll look at things like lifestyle planning, pension savings, investment allocation, risk & insurance, when you can retire, and with how much, and anything else that may be on your mind.
To request your free session, click here and fill out the form.