Damian Browne is consumed by a passion and purpose to pursue his potential. Many of us will remember him from his exceptionally impressive, accomplished and formative career in rugby. Damian is also a renowned mentor, speaker and adventurer. Most recently, the world closely followed his journey with Project Empower as he became the first man to row unsupported across the Atlantic from New York to Galway.

 Transitioning from 112 solitary days at sea and then arriving home to hundreds of people welcoming, chanting, and filming you at Galway harbour, is not for the faint hearted. Although he was grateful for the support, Damian reflects on the impact of this, ‘I have to say it wasn’t easy. I found that first 48 hours quite odd, but after that, it’s been a slow wean back into society. Acclimatising himself to life on land, meant that he was looking forward to the little things, which were put into perspective out at sea. ’A huge complement of your thought process when you’re out there is around everyday  events and actions. A lot of the long endurance adventures that I do are low-level states of discomfort, so what comes up in your mind are the low level states of comfort which you crave. A cup of tea, sitting on the couch, taking a shower, and not having to row eleven hours a day, all these things pop into your head. When you return, you’ve been almost pining for these things, so you have a deeper sense of thankfulness for them, which makes life more enjoyable.’

During his time in the Atlantic, Damian was also away from his loved ones, including his partner Rozelle and young baby Elodie. This took a great deal of work, communication, and planning prior to setting sail and the magnitude of distance was constantly apparent. apparent. ‘No matter what happened, it was an incredible journey away from them. It wasn’t as if I could hop on a plane tomorrow and be anywhere in the world within probably 48hrs. Even if that ship comes to me and picks me up, it still has to travel half the Atlantic to get me to where they are.’ 

Read the full feature with Damian Browne in our latest January/February issue of Galway Now magazine on shelves now.

Image: Emilija Jefremova