This Christmas, I won't be eating turkey with my family, unwrapping presents and watching panto. I'll be eating dehydrated power food, wrestling with an oar, and watching nothing but the endless waves of the Atlantic ocean.
This is all because earlier this year, my best friend Luke and I decided to push ourselves further than ever before. We decided to row across the Atlantic, and if we succeed, to become the first ever pair to do so, both of us aged 21.
Luke and I are both very ambitious people, and we are always searching for ways to push ourselves. We have been this way since we first met at the age of seven. Always trying to beat one another at swimming, cross country, the rugby captaincy (they ended up making us both co-captains) and of course the girls. We have a relationship more recognisable as brothers than friends I think. The reason I think this, is because neither of us have issues telling the other that they are wrong, acting irrationally or being an absolute pain in the ass. We also are completely honest with one another about everything. This bond of love and strength will be tested more than ever on this particular challenge - we'll have absolutely no one but each other for company.
I wanted a challenge so taxing physically and mentally that after I had finished it, I would know my strengths, my weaknesses and I'd be well educated to make a decision as to where I should head next in my life. I thought of climbing the Everest and crossing Antarctica but for these trips it's advisable that a very good amount of mountaineering experience is acquired before setting off. An Atlantic row, as far as I can imagine is the hardest thing a human can endure, but the training is also achievable in just under a year - anyone can, in theory, take it on.
We have fundraised to help pull together the costs for the challenge, and we are hoping to raise £100,000 for Breast Cancer Care on top of this. And it's the idea of bravery that really spurns me on. Bravery is the trait I respect most in people. Irrelevant of class, background, ethnicity, age, gender and religion, bravery is universal. Anyone can aspire to be brave and achieve it. Life is short and precious and although it doesn't seem like it as we go about our everyday business, our time on this earth is limited and with so much that we want to do, we should try and do it as soon as we can, as soon as we are ready. It's all part of our development, the person we eventually want to become. When it's my time to go, I want the big man on judgment day to go through my CV and say, "you've been busy, you have pushed yourself and made a difference."
One of the things that defines Luke and I is our passion for jumping in at the deep end and dealing with what gets thrown at us. You've got to have guts to attempt something like this, especially at our age, but with discipline and respect for the elements and our equipment, we believe that we will succeed. As an old Roman proverb says, it's 'better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand days as a lamb.'
If you want something bad enough and you're willing to sacrifice, in our case comfort and safety (and a year of university), then stop at nothing to achieve your goal, because there are no walls, only obstacles, and these can be overcome.
Follow 2 Boys In A Boat on their cross-Atlantic adventure at www.2boysinaboat.com
Follow Jamie Sparks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/2boysinaboat