Today, to my immense regret, I finished listening to Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. I will miss the soft Scottish accents, and am already pining for the dashing Jamie Fraser, surely one of the most pantingly sexy heroes ever to grace the pages (bytes?) of an audiobook.

The main character in the book, Claire, is on holiday with her husband in the Scottish Highlands in 1945, celebrating the end of the war, when she slips through a time portal and finds herself in 1741. At one point in the book she has to decide whether to stay in 1741 or whether to return to her own time. I won’t spoil it by telling you which she decides.

It made me wonder why we (some of us, anyway) love historical novels so much, and if we secretly yearn for a less complicated time.

Let’s look at the pros of the respective eras.

NOW:
– Modern medicine
– Sanitation
– Education for all
– Comfort, heating and air conditioning
– Rapid travel
– Greater social and geographical mobility
– Easy access to food and clean water
– Better justice and legal systems (e.g. no witchcraft trials)
– Technology (mobile phones, computers, etc)

THEN:
– Less hurried pace of life
– Closer to nature – and more nature to be close to
– Stronger social and family structures

Hmm, I’m struggling. There’s definitely something appealing about historical times, but either this is nostalgia for a world that never actually existed, or I’m just not managing to put my finger on what it is we are yearning for. On the face of it, it seems we are so much better off now than we were then.

But really, how much happier are we?

So I have 3 questions for you:

1. Would you rather live now, or live then?

2. If you’d prefer then, what is it about that era that appeals to you?

3. How can we combine the best of the past with the best of the present, to create the best possible future?

Okay, these are rather big questions, especially the last one. But I’d be really interested to hear your views. Don’t worry if you don’t have an answer to (3) – even feedback on (1) and (2) would be very interesting to me.

My next book promises to be rather different – “Red Mars”, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s about the colonisation of Mars, and starts in 2026. All this zipping around between the centuries (not to mention planets) is getting quite dizzying.

Other Stuff:

After days of relentless sunshine, this morning was overcast and this afternoon brought torrential rain. Always too much of something. Ooh, and as I was typing this, I heard a huge rumble of thunder. Maybe I’m best off hanging out in the cabin for a wee bit longer.

No sign of Alf today. Neither Alf I or Alf II. They’re hiding from the rain if they’ve got any sense.

Hello and goodbye Nauru. I passed about 20 miles to the south of it today. Couldn’t see it, especially in all the rain and murk. I don’t know anything about Nauru – can anybody enlighten me with a few facts?

Thanks for the feedback on the moonbow. Glad I wasn’t just seeing things. Always good to get a sanity check once in a while out here.

Hi to Sybil, Nick, Bill, Matthew, Dave, Gigi, Paul, Ellen, Joan, Stan, Rachel and Ken. Thanks for your comments – and your support!

And thanks especially to UncaDoug for the trail of carrot$ strewn across the Pacific. Joan – have alerted Nova to the wonky Widget. Thanks for issuing the rallying cry for the foundation fundraiser. It’s important to me so I hope that this summer we can make big strides towards making it happen.

Steve – StarWalk is my favourite iPhone app for starspotting, but my phone is staying safe and sound in its waterproof bag for the duration of my crossing!

Special thanks today to Lemon Lady Karen Morss for the lovely jams and marmalades, made from her own fruit and made in her own kitchen. I had some of the plum jam today with crackers and some very average cheese I bought in Tarawa. The jam made up for the deficiencies in the cheese. And thanks for the inspiring quotes too, Karen – much appreciated!

31 Comments

  • Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation and has a population of about 14,000. It was once a German colony, was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, and finally gained independence in 1968. The main industry is phosphate mining, but 90% of the population is unemployed. There is an airline which serves Nauru, flying to Australia, New Zealand, and Tarawa! 🙂 Apparently, the airline encountered some financial difficulties in 2005 and the island was without any air access at all for almost a year — the only way on or off was by ship. The island is surrounded by a shallow coral reef. The population is predominantly Christian, and the literacy rate is 96%, but the the population has a high rate of obesity and the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world.

    “A traditional activity is catching noddy terns when they return from foraging at sea. At sunset, men stand on the beach ready to throw their lassos at the incoming birds. The Nauruan lasso is supple rope with a weight at the end. When a bird approaches, the lasso is thrown up, hits or drapes itself over the bird, which falls to the ground. The noddy is then killed, plucked, cleaned, cooked, and eaten.”

    Thanks to Wikipedia for most of the above info, which I paraphrased and quoted here. 🙂

  • Questions
    1 – no doubt, I would rather have lived then even though it means we would probably never have met – I’d like to think of you as the lady traveler even then so you might have come to the US
    2 – I prefer the thoughtfulness of earlier times – you had to think, very little technology to do it for you. Also your knowledge of your own particular world was greater because you knew very little of the larger world
    3 – Focus more on your own bit of the world and on those around you. In an odd sort of way, you have created a community of those who follow you (the Rozlings) and our community is taking care of our world. If each of us does it in our own space, the whole world will be better off.

  • Roz, I just watched your Mission Blue talk on the TED site. It was awe inspiring. You did great, and I’ve emailed the link to all of my friends and family. I’m not sure if anyone has told you, but you’ll be happy to hear that they did a great job of editing out the part where you “reached” for your notes. Although, I think I can tell where it happened.

    “…we can make it socially unacceptable to say yes to plastic in the checkout line, that’s just one example in this worldwide community… The other point… …it’s about taking responsibility. For so much of my life I wanted something else to make me happy…”

    I have a feeling the “peek” at your notes happened when the video cuts to a different camera angle, because you suddenly have a bit more of a smile on your face, and I think I can see that you are just a tiny bit redder.

    Don’t worry about it though, because it was an awesome talk. I know your story like the back of my hand, and I still got goosebumps when you told it. It is a powerful way to drive home the message of environmental awareness. You certainly do have a gift for public speaking. It’s one of the best TED videos I’ve watched, and as you know, that’s saying something. Way to go!

  • Now, I’m not one to be pessimistic, particularly here in Roz’s inspiring company, but sci-fi in general, and time travel in particular, are passions of mine, so let me speculate on Roz’s three questions. Consider it food for thought on those long days with only sea and sky (and the occasional floating plastic) for company.

    As a dedicated child of modern technology, I very much prefer the present. The past might be a nice place to visit for a little R & R, but I wouldn’t want to live there. More disease and ignorance, less medicine and tolerance. In fact, even a short visit would be filled with danger. Imagine if you will a person setting off to row across the Atlantic in a regular rowboat, with insufficient supplies or preparation. Even a more recent period, such as the 1950’s, is different enough, culturally speaking, to be alien and inhospitable to the modern individual. The hazards are many, as are the opportunities for a misstep.

    The past might seem romantic, peaceful, and bucolic, but I doubt very much that any of us would live long enough to enjoy it (or return safely).

    Just give me my nice warm house, the local food market, and a skilled doctor. In other words, the modern world, where “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” is only the punch line of a joke, not a fact of life.

  • Ditto Karl P! BTW that transition is at 15:30 and to me the last two minutes had a sense of animated euphoria. And did you notice the elapsed time in her 18-minute talk was 17:20? Hmmm … As I said before. BRAVA !!

    I’ll get to the questions later … gotta run catch the light rail to work … better than running after a squirrel or a deer to eat or running away from a cougar also looking for breakfast … on the other hand …
    (to be continued)

  • Outlander (published in the UK as Cross Stitch) is the first in a series of novels (currently nine) by Diana Gabaldon. The book focuses on two main characters, Claire Randall (née Beauchamp) and Jamie Fraser, and takes place in eighteenth and twentieth-century Scotland. (snipped from Wikipedia) This is a fantastic series, shame you only got one of the books, nevermind something to look forward to :o)

  • Keep in mind the large percentage of the population do not have access to things mentioned in the “Now” column. We still have a long road/row ahead of us for everyone to have access to modern health care and clean water.

  • I just heard your TED speech yesterday, and I cannot even begin to explain how your story is affecting me. Thank you for sharing it.

    These are interesting questions you pose. In trying to answer each of them, I discovered one answer that (at least for me) fits all three questions:

    It’s much easier to romanticize a fictional past (or future) than it is to find the courage and strength to change the present. Instead of fantasizing about a time when life was filled with meaningful things, perhaps we could consciously choose to change our current lives so there is more focus on the things that are important to us.

  • Roz those are some good questions. There is something utterly romantic about the past. I think I would love to live back then if I had access to money. When I think about the past I think about the different classes and how there wasn’t much of a middle class. Well that is how it seems in the books I have read. The poor struggled tremendously. However, that is how the authors portray that time. The monotony of work does not exist in the upper-class and their lives revolved around romance and society. Whatever time period you live, the grass is always greener on the other side. I think I would have to live there to see for sure. I cannot wait to read this book, sounds incredibly interesting.

    How can we combine back then with today? If we learn from our past like we should we would already being doing this. I love technology but I think if we were to go back to the past, we would have to get rid of it. That is something we, as a world, cannot do. Therefore, I think if we used it less and find family more important than the world would be a better place. And of course, I am thinking about the most extreme cases. You know the scenario, family goes out to eat and all the kids have gaming devices, the mother is on the phone, and the dad is checking his e-mail. There is a time and place for everything.

    Roz, you are doing so well. Keep up the good work.

  • HI Roz, First off a great big “Well Done” on your TED talk, I loved it!
    I would not like to live “then” for many of the reasons stated above. I would prefer to live “in-between” say around the early 1950’s. That’s when my brother and I grew up and agree it was the best of times. Friendlier people, more trust, simpler and just more peaceful. I sort of compare it to your voyages, “then” (1950’s), is like calm seas and fair winds while today it’s like well, rowing the Atlantic.
    The only way I know to capture some of the past is what we did and that’s move out of the city back to small town America. We still have the modern conveniences but also have a campfire for friends to come sit around and in the Nebraska vernacular, where I was born and raised through my development years, “roll cobs”.
    After you cross the Pacific you’ll have to come relax around our campfire again and we’ll roll some more cobs!

  • Aw, thanks for the shout out. I’ll be watching the TED talk today.

    #1. Rather live now because they had most of the same problems we had but a lot fewer solutions. Call me biased, but a world without America is also a place darker.

    #2. What appeals most to me about, say, the mid 18th Century is the idea that there is still a frontier for Western Civ. Here on land. That, and the organicness of the food supply.

    #3. The Internet epitomizes what is best about this era. And combined with the increasing mobility of capital, information can be shared to such a great extent. Hopefully this is used by people to better understand their choices, to give people choices, and to fuel the imagination to further frontiers, inward and outward.

    Or something like that.

  • Roz,

    Sorry to hear the winds were uncooperative. I’m somewhat surprised to hear you use a rudder (just as I was when I heard you forgot to use the suntan lotion – ouch). My knowledge of rowing is less than encyclopedic, but I thought all you had to do to turn was row with only one oar.

    As for different historical periods, in spite of all the issues you mentioned some were really quiet comfortable. It would be incredible to live in Rome, Byzantine or Ottoman Constantinople, Abbasid Baghdad, or Alexandria when those cities were at their height and at peace. And remember the 21st century is considerably less comfy if you happen to live in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, the Sudan, etc. The real difficulty would by adjusting to the non 21st century cultural traditions. Overall, I enjoy living in the present – all the comforts of the modern world with the usual excitement from the world possibly going to Hell in a handbasket at the same time.

    Smooth stroking,

    Eric

  • Yo Roz: Keep the book reviews coming!! I’m stocking up on audiobooks and I’ve been buying your recommendations. Thanks. Looking forward to Outlanders.

  • Hi Roz,

    tough questions…
    maybe we tend to glorify the past sometimes. It’s true, we lose ourselves in nostalgic thoughts characterized
    by stories and movies. From a distance it seems to be the ideal world. Everything used to be better…
    But: You’ve got a point there. It’s not for nothing that we’re longing for something better, purer…for life itself.
    Present is nothing to get excited about either. If I did a time journey, would I be able to meet challenges?
    I wish I would! At least for a while.
    I’m just about to finish the book “The last American Man”, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
    The story of Eustace Conway, who has made his home in the Appalachian Mountains,
    mastering the art of self-sufficient living, for more than thirty years.
    You can ‘ take a page from his book’ – to live in close communion with nature, to lose
    track of time, to work hard for the next meal, to spend more time with people than with things…
    Sometimes we should break away from our so-called sophisticated culture and get back to the roots.
    Maybe we discover a sense of pleasure that will last a little bit longer.

    Roz, thank you for your seasonal ‘break away’ …inspires to focus on permanent values.
    Keep it up!
    Cornelia

  • I’d much rather live in the present. While I love a historical novel or film, I wouldn’t want to live there. The lack of medical knowledge as mentioned above and the lack of sewage systems are major drawbacks for me.

    I’m going to put Outlander on my Audible list. There was a film that used the same premise for reworking Pride and Prejudice. But I can’t remember the name of it.

    Wishing you the best on your journey.

  • Roz, as the other poster mentioned, Outlander is only the first of a series. I’ve listened to them all and am eagerly awaiting the next book. It’s a great series, highly recommended.

  • Morning Roz,
    To all that read this- if I could wordsmith like I repair homes- your journey would be less painful on the way to the last sentence. Thank you for asking the questions Roz. I like it. 
    Audio books! – A wonderful gift to the brain and soul. In a blink words can break through our self made walls and filters. When we add to our brain blender, all we are plus our unlimited self. Hit the puree with power boost. Take the lid off (safety glasses please) = new- color, texture, flavors and dimensions expanding faster than we can measure them. Whew, nicccce! The beauty of the human brain. Once it is expanded beyond it old experience/ knowledge limits. It can never (except by choice) return to it old self. Book publishers and authors one and all – thank you!
    Roz’s struggling:
    I looked up Noble Savage. Here is a brief…. – well this might explain partly about Savage’s to the layperson. Noble Savage – from- http://www.answers.com/topic/noble-savage
    One of Europe’s most important oxymora, the noble savage was the man of nature who lived according to the dictates of natural law, thought according to natural reason, and understood God and creation by way of natural religion. Unencumbered by the prejudices and partisanship of modern life and thought, the savage was primitive man, remote from Europe in either the most ancient past or the New World. At its very core the concept was self-contradictory: natural man acquired all he knew via sense perception, in Lockean fashion, and the only things that were real for him were those that were visible and evident to the senses. On the other hand, the noble savage’s natural reason was Cartesian, autonomous, universal, and imagined to be uncorrupted by social mores and tradition. The noble savage was a fiction, a literary device that allowed social critics to invert European culture, to point out its flaws, and to suggest ways it might be improved.
    There is more to the read-
    3 questions:
    1- I would live then.
    2- I prefer to have a life (each day) filled with the right combination of the most important, life enriching elements. Back then we worked toward more social tasks that benefited the whole. We lived and consumed in season. Each day food was freshly prepared. Work, laugh, listen, plan, pause, share, reflect, love (family, friends, and world), dream, barter, responsibility, accomplishment and pride. The only thing to tune into was – real life. The healthier life style we lived by choice, was reflected in the quality and often length of our lives. The times where far from perfect. If we are the most advanced species on the planet. Why is our planet so out of social balance? The tragedy of humans- we repeat all patterns- good and bad. Where animal instincts evolve to improve the species quality and length of life.
    2.5- Side note: When I sat beside my Mother Savage (they can do anything-right) on my birthday(s). I asked for one thing- world peace. One time in her later years- mom said, “You have a wonderful request, but you’re sitting in front of the wrong person to grant that wish”. True that MOM. No one person has that power, together we can create any future we choose.
    3-Ownership, currency, farming (food), equality and responsibility. Ownership of items has increased. So has the social price to live it so. The greater the % of ownership. The greater the tension between humans. As cultures have changed from “we” to “me”. The human hours exchanged in measured dollars required to maintain an increasing % of the “owned” items. Accelerates how often each human values each other’s worth. A price is placed on everything and every part of the planet. Each moment is reduced to $’s. Share more – buy less. Currency values that change from country to country create social differences. The fluctuation of prices on a daily bases continues to support the perception of “who’s country is strongest day”. Each time currency is “exchanged” fees are paid. The fees devalue the real worth of both currencies. The countries that have the most closely balanced treatment of their citizens have the strongest truly valued currencies. The assets of each country are a separate matter to currency value. Uncertainty and fear create value change faster than any realities. When I purchase a stud to build a project. I spend the money- I get the item- the stud. If I have hired labor. Every time the stud and any scrap left over from that stud is “touched” or moved here and there. Their reaches a balance point when the scrap is costing me more than price of the stud. The value can move south quickly. Multiply this example times every item created, consumed and left over in our consumption choices. This is what a large unseen source of society’s debt becomes. The paying or price on the back end of societies life choices. Consume locally, buy what you can pay for today, share when possible. As each country improves the treatment and care of their residence, each currency will improve and or find balance. Bank locally. Lend responsibly. Farming was once a local consumption only. Even in our back yards- gasp. The” I want it year round”, transportation and human labor values, changed all that. Because food has a self life. Every day we decide what we will pay our neighbors, near and far, for their growing efforts. It is a constant cause and effect. Like the currency exchange middleman. The food trader makes more than the farmer and retailer. As the food is touched again and again on its travels. Eventually there is a social debt that exceeds the foods present value. If food moves very far- society pays the back end price, every time. Buy local, grow local, consume local. Each dollar that stays in the locally economy multiplies with every exchange. Neighbor buying or exchanging with each other. Every dollar that travels beyond the local economy forces a delicate social balance to readjust. Working more hours for more currency to purchase items others create. It is a personal decision. I have written a simple truth, clue at the end of these thoughts. Equality is the most dangerous of dinner table words that will pass between lips. The greater division of wealth and the social response to it is reaching critical mass. What is every effort of each citizen worth to one another? A life time of words will always fall short to express this human question. I believe it is the cost of teaching each other new skills and or the exchange of knowledge that creates the one of the growing divisions. For every human there is a different story. Here is one. Take a college education. Often the cost to acquire one leaves a big debt. What are school teachers worth that exchange this knowledge? How expensive should the building be that temporally houses this exchange? Is it reality or perception that price equals the value of human knowledge exchange? Depending on the address of the graduation paper, how smart are you? How much should banks profit from the debt of a single individuals education? In the old days people learned on the job form elders or from family. It was required and a normal part of life. I believe that every time someone “touches” the journey / process of the student’s education. The cost to society increases. Why? We separated the process of learning while working. I think when we might return that balance to improve knowledge at a reduced cost. The division of classes and debt to the process of learning. Equality will create its own balance, if we make changes. More clues at the end. Responsibility is equal to the question of morals. No law(s) have ever altered human behavior. Humans are a constant result of learned habits. Easy now- I can hear the keyboards roaring in challenge- that is good. There is constant creation of new “everything”. Original results without prior knowledge are learn-able. Another time for that discussion. What makes a company, made up of people, make decisions that are fully accountable from birth to grave ownership of consumable items? I think it comes down to the “we” and “me”. Humans seldom pay the real time price for choices. For a price, anything can and often does become someone else’s problem. Yes, humans presently choose the value of others and both parties agree under duress that price. With we each change, the whole system will also improve. I hear the soft slap of the oar echoing another yes from the ocean.
    Clues-
    Humans and nature can never do just one thing. Each action, not matter how small, will alter something else. Those tiny, single decisions matter. They always have, always will. In today’s stressed out situation of work, life and global human value. As populations grow. The knowledge and habits of the effluent countries become the role models for developing countries. Hand me a tissue please. Patterns get repeated. I should get a t-shirt printed up- “Bust a pattern- save a planet”.
    Unmet expectations, between humans across the table or across oceans. Is a cumulative and constant source of imbalance? Society has replaced communication with consequences. Listening, communicating and taking responsible actions is an important source to reduce human global suffering. It does make for a more peaceful home, try it!
    Be the change you want to see in others. Simple words. New knowledge is needed for new results. Should start at home, and schools. It needs to begin by electing the best environmental mangers to government offices. This is an area of society that I think would respond well to a small salary with pay for performance. If we hire people to speak on our behalf. We should not complain if and when the house of cards comes down. We cannot have it both ways. We can have the best of our remaining days. When we decide to make personal changes. Vote.
    Take the money out of politics. Are details really needed?
    Reduce the layers and steps between where we are and where we need to be.
    W of the day: prodigal (PROD-ih-gul) extravagant or wasteful; imprudent.
    Quote: Spiritually is a kind of virgin wisdom, a knowing that comes prior to experience.
    Marilyn Ferguson
    I think technology is wonderful , in many ways. I think we need to improve our core values between citizens. Waiting for others to solve problems. It has not worked yet. It is up to us.
    I wish we could , one and all ,sit across the table with salad, bread and wine. For now, electronic words must fill that distance. Tag- your thoughts please.
    bill

  • I prefer living now for all of the obvious benefits of modern living, but I take issue with the idea that the people of previous eras had “stronger social and family structures.” The characters we read about in books and see in movies do, but those don’t necessarily reflect the social injustices or racism and sexism of previous eras. People tend to romanticize the past. They forget that women, children and minorities were treated as property, the rich were able to take whatever they wanted from the lower classes and people died of diseases and illnesses that today can be cured with a single shot.
    Why would anyone want to live in that time? We can get closer to nature in our own time. (try gardening or hiking) We can build stronger families and communities by reaching out to loved ones and neighbors.
    But what I wonder is did the people of the 1700s romanticize the 1500s the same we we do our past? Was there ever a point in time when people didn’t romanticize the past?
    I’ll keep my computer, my internet, my cell phone and modern medicine.

  • A bit more on Nauru…

    It’s a remote (as you of all people can appreciate!) 21 sq km limestone plateau surrounded by a coral reef. It was first inhabited some 3,000 years ago. Nauruans were traditionally a matrilineal society. The original 12 clans are represented in the 12-pointed star on their flag.

    They were early practitioners of aquaculture, acclimatizing ibija fish to fresh water, and raising them in the Buada Lagoon to provide a reliable food source along with staples like coconuts and pandanus fruit.

    First contact w/ Europeans came in 1798 when British whalers stopped by. What followed is a sad and all too familiar story. Traders brought alcohol and firearms. This lethal combination culminated in a bloody ten-year tribal war from 1878 to 1888 that decimated nearly half of the population (from about 1400 to 900).

    The island was annexed by Germany in 1888. After WWI Australia was given a trustee mandate with Britain and New Zealand as co-trustees.

    Phosphate was discovered in the early 20th century. The island was subsequently strip-mined. For a time this gave Nauruans one of the highest living standards in the world. It didn’t last. Reserves were mostly exhausted by the 1980s. As a result Nauru is now heavily dependent on aid from Australia. Much of its environment has also been laid waste to.

    In recent years economic development schemes have included taking part in Australia’s controversial “Pacific Solution.” Nauru operated a detention centre for would be asylum-seekers to Australia in exchange for Australian aid. Following the defeat of the Howard government the centre was gradually phased out.

    Nauru has also “diversified” somewhat, using it’s position as a voting member of the UN to leverage aid from China in return for UN votes in China’s favour. It has also shifted its allegiances back and forth between China and Taiwan a few times in recent years, officially recognizing Taiwan for a while, then reverting back to the PRC, reaping a reward of aid and investment each time.

    I’m sorry to shatter any illusions of a Pacific paradise hiding behind the rain and cloud as you passed…

    Godspeed and be sure to give our love to the whales (and the Alfs)!

    PS I like the present for the most part though I despair at the mess we’ve made. I love the thought of a pristine planet with all of its stunning biological, cultural and linguistic diversity intact and people living lives informed by ancient wisdom that in too many places has been sacrificed for something shoddy and disposable.

  • Hello Roz and Community,

    I’ve been following your posts since reading your book a few weeks ago on a sailing trip to Santa Barbara Island. I enjoyed the book very much and have become a fan. I’m hoping to become an ocean rower myself some day soon, at least in our local waters between Long Beach and Catalina. Speaking of books and rowing, are you familiar with the book Oars Across the Pacific? It was written in the 70’s I believe, by another intrepid, female English rower named Sylvia … (can’t locate the book as I write this.) Anyway, she and her boyfriend rowed an Uffa Fox designed craft from California to Polynesia somewhere (sorry for being vague). As with your endeavors, I really admired her for her courage and dedication to the adventure. I can’t say the same for the boyfriend though. He was an insane muscle man with a suicidal tendency for jumping in the water and attempting to kill sharks with his knife, definitely not Eco-Hero actions. But that was a different time and most people had very different attitudes toward the environment then than now.

    Thanks for turning me on to Outlander and for all of the positive things you are doing to help make our world a better place for future generations.

    My Answers: 1. Now because we have more opportunities for doing good. 2. If I could locate the portal I would explore and visit as many wild, natural places as possible. I think the pubs and public places would also have been really interesting. 3. We have to recognize what has been lost over time, both environmentally and culturally, and begin to take whatever small steps we can to make things better. We need more people like you!

    Keep up the good work, one stroke at a time.

  • Terry Pratchett wrote that the three great benefits of modern life are hot water, soft toilet paper and modern dentistry. In the 18th Century, life for the masses was nasty, brutal and short. A common cause of death was rotting upper teeth leading to brain abcesses. Most people lived in constant pain from occupational or dietary hazards; the first unavoidable for many and the second unrealised. A contributor to the collapse of the Roman Empire was lead poisoning from utensils and tooth decay from sugar. In the 17th and even 18th Centuries lead poisoning was common in the upper classes from the use of white lead as a cosmetic.
    We lose track of how fortunate we are.

  • Hey Roz!
    Way to go Girl! Great progress. Your photo is a delightfully enjoyable window for us to see into your world, thank you. Interesting, with all you have to do you’ve enough time to think about living now or then.

    1. Often the thought of living then has appealed to me.

    2. Perhaps the images are over romanticized but it seems in that simpler time a man had the opportunity to carve out his place in the world. By the sweat of his brow to create, build, nurture and harvest. The virtue of working with your hands is being replaced by paper pushers, or keystrokers. Working on a farm in my late teens was such a rewarding experience. The end of the day brought not only relief to sore muscles, but soul nourishing satisfaction from the days’ accomplishments and visual proof of achievement. Difficult? Extremely! It seems the level of enjoyment, and sense of accomplishment may be directly related to the difficulty of the task. Like rowing across an ocean for instance.

    3. Living our lives simply, humbly. Seeking the beauty and connection with loved ones, and living fully richly and deeply in the moment, with those around us. Being directly connected to our local community. Being thankful for what we do have and enjoying it to the fullest rather than allowing envy or greed to warp or twist.
    Living by the natural cycles of nature, up with the sun, bed soon after dark. Each of the seasons bringing it’s own contribution. Food raised and sold locally.

    Thanks for the challenge Roz. Enjoy your challenge, and connection to nature.
    Peace to You

  • My Answers:
    1: Now is the best time for me. In an interesting way my work and passions are starting to converge and cross. My work relationships are building bridges to my passions. And the technology I need is appearing as I need it.

    Though it if had to be then, I would not mind being in the Musketeers Era. long bears, people speaking in the proper King’s English and a bit of sword play.

    3: Learn as much as you can from history, and your mistakes.
    These are the building blocks to great stuff.
    Use technology to create more meaningful relationships.
    Relationships are the key to EVERYTHING!
    And work to make memorable moments.

    It is not how long you lived, but how well you lived.

  • Roz,
    Just saw the film about your Atlantic crossing tonight at the Banff Film Festival in Portland, OR. I want to say your courageous crossing brought tears to my eyes and offered much needed inspiration to me to “press on”–one row at a time. 2009 saw the end of my 25 yr. marriage and a bout w/breast cancer(now cancer free, thank God). Many changes happening in my life that at times seem overwhelming. So, your film was especially heartening. Thanks for not giving up. I will be praying for you as you continue your journey across the Pacific.

  • Past, present and future. I don’t think we get a choice, because the past has made the future. It is no co-incidence that Roz is British, rather than Swiss or Tibetan. Or that all the islands she is passing speak English. Captains Cook and Bligh went before (for good and ill). We have fantastic resources from the past, which is our toolkit and treasure chest. They drew the maps. They made all those mistakes for us to learn from. Let’s study and learn from the past and pass something good onto the future.

  • Roz, unlike most of your friends, I have actually had a chance to live in the past world and in this current one.
    Yes, I was born with no running water, no electricity other than the hospital, but a wind generator provided the small amount of electricity we needed. Yes, back in the late 1930’s the farmers in North Dakota used wind generators…their only source of electricity.
    Oh yes, the proverbial out house was part of our daily activities,with the Sears and Roebuck catalog for TP (hated the glossy pages…but it beat a stick or grass).

    So, would I go back to a simpler way of life, more rugged, less complicated. Yes, horses are great, but one has to feed and clean up after them daily. Politics were rather simple, but in some areas the “boss ruled” or the “company” ruled. Sorta like the old barons of the ancient English country side. Cross them, could cost you your job. Oh yes, people of a different color or religious view point were not very welcome. In fact they were run out of our small (150 people) town very quickly.

    No, I prefer today’s world…we have huge wars, consume huge amounts of the Earths resources, but we as individuals can prevent that. What about a “Fair trade coffee party” vs a Tea Party…the FTCP would demand peace (cut off all financial funds for war) and insist on consuming less than we currently do.
    Yesterday at the Natural Step seminar in Portland, OR, I ran into a fellow that was the head of Energy for President Carter. He informed me if we would’ve stuck to Carter’s energy policy (actually had solar panels on the White House) we would not be importing any…notice…any oil from outside of the USA. Think of how that would help in global warming and peace in the Middle East?

    Still, here we are, communicating to the world via Satellite with options to have a natural comfortable life.

    Like you, Roz, I am small…….and as a male of the species 5’6″ weighing in @ 155 lbs…and having the “S—t” beat out of me as a youngster…I do like the advantages of this age. We have options here and now, but most of those options never existed in Old Europe/England/Scotland, etc…unless you were mighty fast with a light but sharp sword…with a great horse and bow. OOps I have that…the red 200mph 500+ HP Z06 Corvette is my horse…not sure about the rest 🙂

    Have fun thinking, rowing, reading and enjoying life…………we both miss you………..Luv, Ken & Candy

  • For all of your friends out there…my car gets very good gas mileage unless one wishes to hit that 200 mph (around 22-27 mpg) and our other main car is a Prius.

  • I’m working on my magazine deadlines, so I’m being brief. I think I would have enjoyed living in 1945 more than or as much as now, even though I’d have to be extremely closeted. Women still found each other somehow and enjoyed life. I’m a creature of habit and like simple living, but I’m very much tempted by new gadgetry and such. 1945 offered both of those things.

    I definitely would NOT want to live in 1741, largely due to a lack of good dentistry, painkillers, sewage disposal and hygiene.

  • Hi Rozlings, perhaps, like me, you are a bit frustrated when there is no blog or Tracker update from Roz. She did email me 8 hours ago, the most recent communication from her. She has been struggling each day with getting a good connection to satellites with her satphone, which makes it extremely difficult to send data through. Her support team are working to sort out the problems with the tracking unit, so we can just wait and hope that something more comes through soon. Meanwhile grateful thanks to those who have been sending donations to the Chip In appeal, and taking part in the Go Roz Go Contest to guess when she might arrive somewhere. Rita.

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