Michelle’s personal journey, endurances, records

‘Michelle Lee encompasses the spirit of adventure and values her freedom – above all else.

Twelve years in corporate banking and an end to a long-term relationship were the impetus to Michelle giving up her career, along with society’s expectations, and turn to a life of adventure.

Michelle Lee is an adventurer, speaker and mindset mentor who left corporate banking to pursue a life of extreme challenges. She is the first Australian woman to row any ocean solo and the first woman IN THE WOLRD to row the Pacific Ocean solo unassisted and without stopping.

Having completed the one of the world’s “classic” long-distance Himalayan treks (in excess of 160km) in just 9 days, knocking over the famed Kokoda Trail in just 5, setting world records for the fastest woman to row one million metres on a Concept 2 rowing machine, she also just so happened to be Australia’s first woman to row any ocean solo when she conquered the Atlantic in 2019.

That same year she was awarded The Australian Geographic’s Adventurer of the year – just one of only five women to ever receive the accolade.

Michelle Lee is a solo rower who has faced incredible challenges and achieved amazing feats on the water. She is the first Australian woman to row any ocean solo and the first woman to row the Pacific Ocean solo unassisted and without stopping1. She also holds the world record for the fastest woman to row one million meters on a Concept 2 rowing machine2. She is an adventurer, a speaker and a mindset coach who lives by her motto: “Start thinking you can and you will”.

Michelle endured storms, sharks, solitude and exhaustion as she rowed for thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. She also experienced the beauty and wonder of nature, from dolphins and whales to sunsets and stars. She learned to appreciate every moment and every stroke.

Michelle discovered new aspects of herself and her potential. She developed skills and habits that helped her overcome obstacles and achieve goals. She applied the principles of mindset and personal development from mentors like Bob Proctor and Dr. Joe Dispenza to turn her vision into reality. She grew as a person and as a leader.

Michelle Lee is a remarkable woman who has shown that anything is possible with passion, purpose and persistence. She inspires others with her stories and insights.

With influencers in her life including Bob Proctor who preaches that “being dissatisfied is the most creative state you can find yourself in” and Dr. Joe Dispenza with rewiring your brain methods, Michelle continues to learn and grow daily in areas of mindset and personal development.

It is this mindset and unwavering self-disciple that has led Michelle to perform at the highest level, confirming to her that as humans we are capable of so much more than we think. This was proven when crossing the Atlantic Ocean, she noted in her diary: “Day 46 – worse day ever!!!” and then continued to row for another 22 days to reach the finish line.

Start thinking you can and you will, is the motto that has become her mantra.


”Don’t die wondering. Start thinking you can and you will.”

Michelle Lee,

Solo Ocean Rower


The Woman Who Rowed Two Oceans | Both Solo | Non-stop | Unassisted

She smashed a World Record on the concept 2 and is the first woman in the world to row the Pacific ocean non-stop and unassisted. She has survived more than 300 days alone on board her 8-metre rowing boat and rowed a total of 20,000kms. 

The Pacific Crossing

Michelle Lee landed in Cairns after rowing alone across the Pacific Ocean, dodging five hurricanes and four cyclones and surviving a shark leaping into her boat, Michelle Lee was to end an epic 240-day journey at Cairns in Queensland Australia on Monday.

There were many fans, loved ones waiting with a stack of pancakes and a hot shower for Michelle much to her delight. These were Michelle’s first footsteps on dry land in 8 months since she paddled out of Ensenada, Mexico, on 8 August last year.

Strong outgoing tides and the Great Barrier Reef made the final part of the journey very difficult for Michelle but she refused to give up.

The Race Challenge

I’ve done the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – one of the world’s toughest nautical challenges. It’s the ultimate test in mental stamina, physical strength and endurance.

The race was a 3,000 miles (4,700kms) ocean row which started in La Gomera, Canary Islands, and finished English Harbour, Antigua.
This was an international event, professionally organised and fully supported. The race has strict rules and regulations, and the organisers insist that ALL mandatory safety courses are completed prior to racing. Each boat must be built to specifications and be fully equipped with the latest safety gear and navigational equipment.

It was devised in 1966, by Sir Clay Blyth while he was rowing the North Atlantic with John Ridgeway. Their journey was a 92-day battle against hurricanes, 50 foot waves and starvation, proving this undertaking is one of the most perilous sporting challenges on Earth.

More people have climbed Mt Everest than have successfully rowed the Atlantic ocean…..”

I did endure!

  • Extreme Conditions
  • Mother Nature
  • Powered only by human strength, spirit, endurance & determination
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Salt Sores
  • Isolation
  • Solitude
  • Extreme Conditions
  • Mother Nature
  • Powered only by human strength, spirit, endurance & determination
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Salt Sores
  • Isolation
  • Solitude

Other Achievements

Michelle has an impressive history of athletic achievements. She has proven time and time again her ability to push beyond her boundaries – to take on bigger and bigger challenges. She goes through the gruelling training required for every challenge so she can succeed.  These challenges have required not only top physical fitness, but a mastery over her emotional and mental states. Determination and grit are one of Michelle’s underpinning characteristics.

Current World Record Holder

One million metre row 5 days, 21 hours, 35 minutes

Michelle works as a massage therapist and trains daily so her arms are getting continuous workouts.

 2013-14 Sail Voyage to USA, Bahamas and Cuba Two seasons sailing and living on board 42-foot catamaran.

1996 Annapurna Circuit, Himalayas completes 160kms in just 9 days with 14 kg pack.

2012 Completes Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea in just 5 days with a pack

2017 Started rowing weekly doing 40-60km cycles, 14-18km runs, group strength and conditioning sessions.

Featured in International Boat Show

Sanctuary Cove Sydney Brisbane


RYA Essential Naviagation and Seamanship
RYA Marine First Aid
RYA VHF Marine Radio Licence
Ocean Rowing Course
STCW95 Safety at Sea Course

We’re delighted to have been able to host Michelle at the 2017 Aon Sydney International Regatta and to have played a small part in her breaking the world record.

Michael Scott

Rowing Australia CEO

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