Why do I do what I do? Why, having had a life of relative ease, comfort and affluence, have I now chosen to put grey hairs on the head of my poor long-suffering mother by rowing alone across oceans?
It’s a good question, so I’ll try to give a good answer.
By 2004 I had figured out that money wasn’t everything, that maybe who I was mattered more than what I owned.
So I had already quit the office job and was looking around for something more fulfilling – and for me, “fulfilling” had to involve making a contribution to the greater good. I was doing a lot of reading about philosophy and religion, and was especially influenced by the prophecies of the Hopi tribe, which foretold dramatic consequences if ever humans lost touch with their spiritual life, and started to overexploit the resources of the planet rather than living in harmony with nature. This made intuitive sense to me, and I resolved to live my own life in a more spiritual, less environmentally damaging way.
When I started to live this way, it felt good. I thought maybe I should spread the word – not in a preachy way, but just by making my life an example, showing that there was a viable and enjoyable alternative to the materialistic kind of life that I had been living before.
I toyed with several ideas – setting up an organic coffee shop, riding a motorbike around the American Southwest to write a book about the native culture, converting a tugboat to a liveaboard home using only sustainable energies. But none had seemed quite right, or required more money than I had.
I hadn’t been particularly looking for a big adventure – but when the idea of rowing across oceans came to me in a flash of inspiration one day, I just knew, with a scary certainty, that it was the Perfect Project.
Believe me, I tried to talk myself out of it. I thought it was too big, too ambitious, that people like me just didn’t do things like that. But the idea refused to go away, until I really had no choice but to do it, or spend the rest of my life thinking “if only”.
So here I am, aged 40, homeless and usually penniless, bobbing around in a tiny rowboat about to be hit by a Force 10 gale. Hmmm, interesting choice.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This morning I recorded another podcast with renowned TV/radio journalist and podcaster Leo Laporte. Do check them out if you haven’t already. I can’t see my website from the ocean (I have email but no internet browsing) so I can’t tell you exactly where to find the podcasts, but hopefully they are fairly evident.
Today I squirted the watermaker liberally with WD40, according to a suggestion from Spectra, the manufacturers. It ran OK for about half an hour and then stopped again. The pressure seemed rather low and the tone of the pump sounded rather feeble. It’s still a major cause for concern, although now at least the Bag Balm seems to be stopping the compartment from flooding again.
The weather was quite pleasant for most of today – sunny, although the wind was still too strong to row against. But in the last couple of hours there has been a marked deterioration. The skies are now heavy and grey, and the waves are getting larger. Is this The Big One? I am bracing myself…