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Making your dream come true: The 5 greatest challenges

No matter how big or small a project, sooner or later we face challenges and difficulties. Whether it's a question of logistics, financing, weather, damage, or fatigue, the road comes with its share of unforeseen events that we have to be able to live with and move forward.

Petit repos en traversée

A moment of reading while crossing the Pacific Ocean

My name is Axel, and when I was 25 I decided to become an expedition leader in one of the most extreme sailing projects: a crewed round-the-world race without GPS, just by sextant, with the sun, moon, and stars as my guides.

Little did I know at the time I embarked on this adventure, that this challenge would be just the tip of the iceberg that would lead me to live aboard our sailboat Venus for more than 500 consecutive days, to sail more than 15,000 nautical miles from French Polynesia to the waters of Quebec, to cross two oceans and share our daily lives with 47 crew members from the four corners of the globe who came to join us on board to live a unique human experience, all accompanied by a multitude of varied and complex challenges.

Today, I'd like to share with you the 5 major challenges encountered along the way.

1-Making the first move

We all dream of that unique moment when we take the first step, and yet, at the moment of truth, it's easy to get dizzy.

3 years ago, I temporarily left my 9@5 job and the security that this comfort zone brought me, to go to the other side of the world to cross several oceans and sail for over a year as captain. I'd been waiting and preparing for this opportunity for several years, yet I remember the pounding in my chest when I told my work that I was leaving. I was leaving my known zone, pausing my earthly life to venture into the unknown and the grandeur of the oceans.

From that moment on, the moment this decision was taken, one challenge followed another, relentlessly and without respite. And yet, the one that was the most difficult, and at the same time brought the most positive consequences, was undoubtedly that of taking the first step!

So take courage and make today the first day of your dream!

2- Constant adaptation

On the sea as on land, life is all about constant adaptation. Anyone who undertakes a project faces challenges and unforeseen events on a more or less regular basis.

In the case of a sailing project, this is all the more true. The environment of this lifestyle, the sea, brings with it a multitude of different and varied situations. Whether it's wind, waves, currents, rain, or sunshine, it's rare to experience the same conditions twice. So you have to adapt, change your sails, change the way you approach this environment, and live with these conditions over and over again.

Add to this a sailboat with all its component systems - electricity, electronics, rigging, sails, mechanical parts, and the sailboat itself - and you have a multitude of elements that can (and sooner or later will) break down.

It's extremely likely that you'll have to adapt and take on the role of mechanic, plumber, and electrician, in addition to that of cook, meteorologist, and navigator.

Of course, in addition to the ever-changing environment of the sea and the damage that can occur on board, there are a host of other unforeseen circumstances that can arise at any time, adding to the existing challenges. And challenges mean adaptation.

In fact, would there be adaptation without challenges?

3-Cultivate a positive attitude

If there's one thing I'd like you to remember, it's this: don't let events overwhelm you. Whatever happens, try to keep a positive attitude.

That's easy to say on dry land, before and even after difficulty, and yet once in the heat of the moment, we get trapped too often. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the unexpected and to give up in the face of repeated, demanding challenges.

Cultivating a positive attitude allows you to navigate through difficulties, perhaps even experiencing pleasure and happiness in the process, which is fundamentally the aim of any project.

In the worst-case scenario, as I like to say, it'll make for a great fireside story!


Often, when we're working on a project, we're told that it's going to fail, that it's too risky, too difficult, too different. This makes us question ourselves and our project. So, while it's true that we shouldn't rush into things headlong, with a vision of extreme optimism, and that we must remain realistic, we mustn't let ourselves be discouraged by the first questioning of others.

Not only must we build our confidence, but we must also know how to keep it healthy when challenges and questions arise!

How many great projects would never have seen the light of day if confidence in their success hadn't overcome criticism and questioning?

5-Knowing how to enjoy the journey

Having the wisdom to know how to enjoy the journey is perhaps one of the most difficult exercises, learnings, and challenges that can be made during a project or a journey, as life itself can be.

All too often, we allow ourselves to be drowned by the worries and problems we face, without having the ability to step back and put them into perspective. Having problems is part of every journey, every path, every life. Knowing this, we need to develop the ability to take advantage of these very problems, to experience them as lessons and learnings.

All too often, the question of the success of a project or one of its stages can haunt our daily lives, to the point where we forget the very reason or reasons why we started the project in the first place. And yet, success is achieved when pleasure and happiness are attained through it.

All too often, it's only later that we realize that it's not the destination that's important, the destination that's beautiful, but the path taken to get there.

So today, whatever stage of your project you're at, whatever difficulties you're experiencing today, live and enjoy the road with all its detours.

See you soon!


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