So, this is it. We made it to the finish line and our World Tour for Sharks is officially over.

Complete. Done.

How is it possible that we even made it to this point? Mostly in one piece I would like to add; with just two hospital visits, two broken laptops, two broken cameras, four back injury relapses and one heck of an adventure in between!

It was just 16 months ago that I seriously injured my back and lay in bed, jobless and unable to walk, thinking ‘now what?’. That one small thought was the very beginning of Friends for Sharks, when we threw our remaining savings and passion into the idea of a charitable world tour to raise awareness of the plight of sharks. That one small question and an enormous amount of work and commitment led on to a tour across 8 countries, during which we organised and completed 87 shark conservation events and presented to well over 7144 people. Not bad for two shark enthusiasts with two old laptops and a very small budget.

It goes without saying that the travel was immensely rewarding and we thoroughly enjoyed new scenery, cultures, wonderful people and challenges. We met incredibly kind-hearted and supportive people in every country who took us under their wings. The best part was of course hearing feedback on how we had changed peoples’ perceptions of sharks and helped them let go of deep fears and take action to conserve sharks. Many a child who was scared to swim in the ocean is now doing so and loving it, simply because we took the time to dispel their fears. What a privilege it has been to help people along the way, to inspire them and to be a voice for sharks in need. Did I mention that we also treated ourselves from our savings to one day of scuba diving and got engaged underwater? Just wow.

Then there was the dark side that we rarely talked about, for fear of sounding ungrateful or spoilt. Living on only rice, lentils, blocks of basic cheese and basic vegetables for months on end is tough, really tough. On the difficult days when we were exhausted from our work, all we wanted was a beer, some expensive fruit such as pears and a cup of tea. But we always said no, our fundraising budget was for getting to events and surviving…nothing more. There were days when we cried; the schedule was so hard and all of the behind the scenes work left us drained. We gave everything we had to our audiences at every single event and then slept in our van or drove onwards to another town. Or ended up in hospital in a foreign country and longed for home. We were running a marathon for 10 months and it broke our hearts when people carelessly said ‘Oh I’d love to do your tour. It’s such a holiday all year’.

But who cares about that right? At the end of the day we did this:

8 countries, 87 events and 7144 people!

By ‘we’ I mean every single person, every one of YOU that helped make Friends for Sharks the success it has been. You all did this! For that, Nicholas and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You made a dream come true by supporting us, donating to our cause, sponsoring us and believing that sharks deserve a better future.

It just goes to show what you can achieve if you refuse to give up and put your heart into a cause. Each of us has a voice….just imagine what else you can achieve if you put it towards creating positive world change. If we can do it, so can anyone!