From application to interview

Cambridge, 27th November 2000
After filling the forms out, the night before I was due to leave for Northumberland, I didn't get a chance to get to a post box as planned, so took the form all the way north and back again. It was a little strange having the form that could mean so much to my life in my bag, but not telling anyone about it. I'd made the decision to not tell the world yet, since I didn't want to tell everyone then not make it. However, on coming back from this training week I posted the application form. I think I was more confident about it after the week than before; a lot of the course was devoted to self confidence to challenge yourself and working in teams. Just the kind of thing that the Challenge Business were looking for!

The next thing I heard back was a letter saying that I now had a place reserved as a crew volunteer on the 2004-5 Global Challenge! Again, I wasn't sure whether this was actually as a crew volunteer or on the reserve list. There was still this article saying that they'd already filled all the slots available. Still, it looked good. By this time I'd told a few people; a couple of close friends, and my immediate family knew about it as well. They were all encouraging, but I think I only told people that I knew would be supportive! I was then to wait for notice of an interview. This came a few weeks later on, saying that interviews were scheduled for the 23rd of November 2000 in London. I replied, saying I'd prefer the afternoon slot. The whole process was slowly gathering pace.

The day of the interview, with Simon Walker, arrived. Chay himself was in Brazil since the current race had just finished the second leg arriving in Buenos Aires. I'd spent most of the previous day looking through the BT Challenge website, reading most of the crew journals on the site, looking at the amazing stories that were coming out of the race in progress. The idea that it would be me in four years time was still quite unreal. As it turned out I was quite calm the day of the interview. It dawned grey and raining as I made my way to Cambridge railway station to catch the train to London. I took the chance to go and have a look at the Tate Modern, on the South Bank. I was able to wander around for an hour or so. I'm not a huge fan of modern art, or even art in general, but the displays were fascinating - although in my view a little overshadowed by the sheer size of the building!

During this time at least half my mind was going over the kind of questions that they were bound to ask - why did I want to do the challenge?, how would I raise the money? I knew that the interview was only scheduled to last an hour, and was done in a group of 8 of us, so it couldn't be that difficult, could it?! I was not particularly nervous about it; I think doing mock interviews during the course in Northumberland had really helped my confidence.

I made my way to Green Park tube station, and walked over to the building the interview was held in. I walked into the bar area, and found out that since I was a little early I was the first to arrive and Simon was just finishing a business lunch for some of the corporate sponsors of the current race. Having been told to come in casual dress I felt a little under-dressed since everyone else loitering the bar was in a suit! However, fairly quickly other nervous looking and casually dressed people of all ages and sizes were arriving - my fellow volunteers I guessed! We introduced each other, and after a little chat, to find out where we were from, etc., Simon arrived and we went through for the interview.