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Grieving Woman Sets Out In Kayak To Complete Late Brother’s Last Adventures.

A two-photo collage. In the first photo Katie Carr sits in a kayak with "Moderate Becoming Good Later" in her hands, open. She's smiling. Three others in their own kayaks are next to her smiling as well. In the second photo Katie Carr's hand can be seen holding out a bookproof copy of "Moderate Becoming Good Later." The background is of the water with various boats.

When Katie Carr lost her brother Toby last year, she became the only one still alive in her close family. Her Dad had a heart attack in 2010. She lost her Mom to mental illness in 1988. And her other brother, Marcus, passed away in 2017 from cancer caused by a rare illness called Fanconi Anaemia. Toby had this very illness, too.

Both Katie and Toby took the passing of Marcus hard. It also prompted Toby to find hope and joy through nature. In fact, he challenged himself to kayak all 31 sea areas of the Shipping Forecast – this is a weather forecast covering the sea, and it includes the United Kingdom and Ireland. In taking on this adventure, he planned to write a book. In fact, he got a publishing deal with Summersdale Publishers from a proposal and three sample chapters.

Unfortunately, Toby never got the chance to complete either of those goals. Devastated over the loss of her last brother, Katie made the decision just five days after his death that she would finish his book, “Moderate Becoming Good Later.” She was hopeful he made a decent amount of progress but, when she opened the file for it on his external disk drive, it was empty.

Days later, however, Katie discovered notebooks full of details Toby had recorded of his adventures. And because he was able to complete 21 of the kayak trips, there was enough material for her to get started.

“So, I sat down for months with Toby’s notes, his blogs, his phone, his photos, his voice recordings and his videos and pieced together the book,” Katie wrote for the Huffington Post. “When I look back, I feel like I was staring down a lion … I knew that there is no running away from grief. Why not then turn to face it?”

Piecing together the last year or so of Toby’s life so she could write his book was not easy, but for Katie, it was absolutely worth it.

“I had to go back and plot his journey on Google maps to write the book,” Kate said. “I even had to know what he had for lunch, it was like being a detective but it was also very emotional for me.”

During Katie’s writing journey, she began to uncover a desire for a second adventure. Like Toby, she began to feel the urge to spend more time outdoors. She wanted to be more adventurous like her brother.

Then, a note that Toby wrote six days before he died began to stick with her. In it, he shared his thoughts on his own journey and the book he hoped would accompany it.

“It’s been a special experience that has shown me what can happen when you open the door to new adventures, perhaps asking what if?” Toby wrote. “rather than why? …I hope that the journey can help others to find ways to connect with nature and imagine different realities.”

That’s when it hit her: Not only did Katie want to finish his book, she also wanted to finish his kayak journey. With kids and absolutely no experience in kayaking, she knew the challenge wouldn’t be easy – but that didn’t stop her.

With “Moderate Becoming Good Later” having just published this month, Katie can shift more of her focus on this next adventure. Luckily, she won’t be doing it alone. With the help of her Aunt Nicky, she’s got a timeline for her travels and, in all of them, she’ll be accompanied by experienced sea kayakers.

In the meantime, the release of “Moderate Becoming Good Later” has been a success. Just five days ago, she wrapped up quite a large book tour!

“On my way home after an emotional, exhausting but lovely book tour,” Katie shared on Facebook. “Ten days, 6 talks, 13 signings, 977 miles driven, 4 online coaching sessions, 6 hours filming with the BBC, 2 paddles, 2 online classes, 1 annoying cold, 1 nice electric car, no idea how many books sold but still. Thank you all for your love and support (especially those who made the effort to come out/ meet up/ help).”

Katie believes that it’ll take her about two years to complete her brother’s kayak journey. Although she says that Toby never planned on her taking over for him, she can only imagine how proud he would be if he knew.

“He would just be delighted that his story is going to be told and that people can be inspired to get outside and to get in a kayak, to go and explore, to even think ok, I’ve got a life-limiting illness what can I do within those limits,” Katie said. “And I think he’d just be delighted.”

You can find the sources of this story’s featured image here and here.

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