LN783 Lord Nelson: Lerwick to Aberdeen
by Katrina Christie from Shetland.
Even though I’ve lived in Shetland all my life I have never been sailing before (I am pretty sure going on the local inter-island ferry or the boat from Lerwick to Aberdeen count). When I became ill it was something that I thought would never happen. On being offered a place on the Lord Nelson, I was very excited and expectant of what was to come.
I had some but not 100% idea of what was to come. On the Friday I boarded the Lord Nelson with my Mother ready for my adventure. Although sailing didn’t commence due to weather it was good to get to know the rest of the Voyage crew and also get used to getting about with my wheelchair and couldn’t believe how much of the ship that I could get around, which gave me a sense that I would be able to do as much as I could.
When we got underway I was eager to do as much as possible. While my brain was very willing I found that I wasn’t physically able to do all that I wanted. I had to be realistic at what I could and couldn’t do. At home I find it very difficult to ask for help and usually do too much which ends up with me making things worse for myself health wise, being on the ship it wouldn’t have been right or safe for me to do that. This has made me realise it’s not bad to ask for help when I need it and does not necessarily mean I am weak.
Physically I felt more able to say that I wouldn’t be able to do a task, but another task was always found that I could do. I never felt that I was useless, something I thought might have happened. I do a lot on committees at home so I’m used to doing a lot with admin but I found a lot of satisfaction in being able to do these physical tasks. It has made me realise that back on land it’s a matter of finding what I am able to do physically and show people that I can do more than just be a pen pusher.
All in all this has been a brilliant opportunity and has made me think about how I can mirror the things that I have learned about myself on this voyage at home. I am currently in talks with my Support Worker about the exact kind of help that I need everyday. It has boosted my self esteem, something that I have always problems with and given me back a sense of worth and got some of my get up and go back again. I felt throughout the whole voyage that I lost the label of being “disabled” and was truly a member of the crew and was equal to everyone. I really hope that one day I’ll be able to go sailing with JST again and would thoroughly recommend to anyone of any ability.