Friday, 19 August 2022
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

Invictus - the unconquerable soul

Written by  Gillie Sutherland Aug 29, 2021

Spending summer in Croatia sounds like a dream, just one long vacation, but I have to admit I find myself looking forward to when it all calms down a bit!

Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic for all the businesses here enjoying a much-needed boost this month, but increasingly I’m finding myself longing to be on a boat, just me and the open sea.

My inspiration this week has come from a young woman called Katie from Devon who just became the youngest person to sail single-handedly around the U.K.

For safety, she had her father in the boat behind her, at a safe and manageable distance. Yet she was on her own the whole way. Tracking her own course. Following her own path. At the age of 14.

A true hero’s journey, an epic achievement at any age, but what a remarkable mission to have chosen at this age - she is a true role model for courage, purpose and dedication, especially in such difficult times.


Watching her journey on social media ( you can follow Falanda Sailing on Facebook to get all of the exciting instalments), I was reminded of the poem “Invictus”.

“I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul”.

Not following the crowd, being who you are, and walking your own path, staying strong in the face of adversity, these are all choices we can make, but it’s not always easy.

Needing to be like everyone else, wanting to fit in, and not daring to be different, seems like the easy way, but it’s never going to be the most rewarding, nor I believe is it the route to happiness or a meaningful life.

In mindlessly following the crowd, we can stray from the path, what’s right for others isn’t necessarily right for us, and the only truth that really matters is our own.

To me, that is freedom.

Even if it feels like we are in a “tribe of one” in what we believe in, or how we live our life, we are only truly free when we follow our own path. It’s the only way.

Even Einstein had something to say about this:

“The person who follows the crowd will usually not go further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has been before”.

Katie McCabe certainly did this. She went where no one as young as her has been before, and she did it on her own.

I am sure that every person amongst the crowds that welcomed her home on last week had the same overwhelming admiration, and I am sure that this young woman will continue to inspire with her courage and remind us of the power of “Invictus”.

I wonder whether that’s why I’m craving boat life. That sense of being Master and Commander, away from the endless “policing” of our choices in life.

At school I never wanted to be part of a “gang”, I always admired the ones that stood up to bullies, and those who weren’t afraid to be different.

I think what makes a person strong, what takes true courage is standing up for what you believe in, whether it’s the popular choice or not.

To track our own course, and to not care what others think. Perhaps that is true courage, and the only route to freedom and happiness.

And to the feeling of Invictus - “the unconquerable soul”.

Read more Gillie here...  


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Cavtat. A professional Wellness Consultant she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

To find out more about Gillie go to

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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