Philosophy Friday

This Friday’s post is really a follow-on from yesterday’s blog in which I set out a short and optimistic vision of the future. As we already know, I am unashamedly an idealist, but as the song from “South Pacific” goes, “you’ve gotta have a dream/ if you don’t have a dream/ how you gonna have a dream come true?” Sports psychologists would agree.

Some people believe that the visualisation may be enough on its own – that by seeing it, meditating on it, and praying for it, good things will come to pass. That is fine. That is their way.

Me? I tend to take the view that while everything may come to he who waits, it will come a good deal faster to he who gets off the couch and does something to make it happen. I am a big fan of the To Do list.

When I decided to row the Atlantic, I had no clue how to do it. I knew how to row, but I hadn’t been to sea, and rowing across an ocean is more about seamanship and survival than it is about the finer points of rowing technique. So I sat down and wrote a huge To Do list – who to talk to, what books to read, what courses to take, what to buy, how much money to raise, and so on. If any single item on the To Do list looked too intimidating, I broke it down into smaller steps until it seemed more manageable. I knew that the list would grow as I went along and learned more, but at least I had a starting point.

Obviously, there is a world of difference between preparing to row an ocean – big though that challenge is – and manifesting a future for the world, or even for a single country. But just because the task is too big for a single person is no reason to give up entirely and resign oneself to being a mere passenger on this runaway train. We are all making a difference – it is up to each of us to choose what kind of a difference.

I know I am preaching to the converted here. From the comments on this blog, I know that many of my readers have already seen a vision of the future, and have carved out a niche where they can make a positive contribution towards making that vision come true – through supporting good causes, organic farming, campaigning against plastic, civil disobedience, raising their children to be environmentally responsible citizens, or whatever.

But there are still a lot of people out there who don’t believe in their own power to make a difference. They feel helpless, or hopeless, believing that anything they do is just a drop in the ocean, infinitesimal and insignificant. If I had to make a single wish for the world, it would be for every human being to realise that everything they think, say, and do MATTERS. With every action we are creating our future. We have the free will to choose our actions, and hence to influence the future of the world. There is no point in worrying about the future – it is so much more constructive, empowering, and exciting to DO something about it.

Other Stuff:

Today has been a vivid example of the longest journey not only beginning with a single step, but requiring a lot more single steps to reach a conclusion. A second day of calm weather, meaning no miles for free. Getting there slowly, one oarstroke at a time….

Quote for the day: “Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.” (Dean Acheson)

Photo: a gorgeous sunset while I was writing this blog.

Sponsored Miles: From now on we will be thanking two groups of people: Those who have sponsored miles recently covered by Roz: Chris Ferreira, Alexandra Stevens, Hans Verwey, Ian Hamby, Julie West; those who have selected numbers beyond her intended destination: Nick Perdiew and Alexandra Stevens.
We greatly value the many people who are supporting Roz in this way.


  • I’m with you, Roz, in not waiting around for some wonderful future to arrive on its own. There’s an old saying “All things come to he who waits”, to which I add “Even death if you wait long enough.” The world will not fix itself. But you first have to figure out where it’s currently headed, and then decide how you can kick it in the right direction. It’s like the method for getting out of a rip current: don’t fight it directly, but swim (or row?) to one side to escape the current and (eventually) reach your destination.

    • Actually, Tom, I think the world will fix itself. It’s just that we humans and a few thousand other species may not be part of that fix if current trends continue.

  • Thank you Roz!  I’ve been following your journey since you completed your Antigua row & glad to have meet you in San Francisco.  Admittedly, I was the person in the stands watching others take action.  Not because I didn’t care, but because I thought change came from controversy (which is not how I handle things).  I can’t force my beliefs on others but I can change the way I do things and hopefully influence others by my actions & integrity.  That in itself is positive!  Here’s to a wonderful & safe journey!

  • Ok, I’ll try and re-join this cocktail party again! Glass in hand.
    News for Rugby lovers (and don’t forget the Rugby World Cup has commenced in New Zealand) is tha UWA Rugby 1st’s, 4th”s and Colts all won their respective premierships this year! Raise a glass, people!
    Roz, marvelous blog, keep up the good work, and may you keep rowing well…

  • Roz, I wish I could be lending more financial
    support right now, and I will as soon as we’re clear of this smallholding
    purchase and funds get a little back to normal. Safe traveling to you, Roz!


  • Roz, I was so happy to read your blog today. You give me a lift when I am down. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and this morning a friend posted this article from the New York Times which did me in: “Going Green But Getting Nowhere” at … 

    It starts out: “You reduce, reuse and recycle. You turn down plastic and paper. You avoid out-of-season grapes. You do all the right things. Good. Just know that it won’t save the tuna, protect the rain forest or stop global warming. The changes necessary are so large and profound that they are beyond the reach of individual action.

    And it concludes: “High school science tells us that global warming is real. And economics teaches us that humanity must have the right incentives if it is to stop this terrible trend. … Don’t stop recycling. Don’t stop buying local. But add mastering some basic economics to your to-do list.” 

    There is more, but briefly (to conserve on bandwidth — hat tip to Texino) the author is suggesting that we, the global community, must figure out a way to make pollution pay it’s way and cover the damage that is being done now, in real time (I believe — this is my interpretation)

    Hope you are making a beeline to landfall.

    Row bee-like, Roz!

  • I know that I will survive and will continue to do my best to save the world by small individual actions, and hopefully people will see and follow as people tend to do what is right.
    I will be devastated by the end of Philosophy Fridays and ask that Roz continue this blog-day past her landing. Please Roz Please!
    BTW history is chaulk full of stories of how some thing was supposed to happen and something else did. Like a guy named David up against One Big Philistine soldier. I could enumerate everything from George Washington crossing the Delaware to keeping the faith at the Alamo. From the V-2 bombs whistling into London and stories of French Resisttance, How the Roman Army was stopped by a small band of guys. All the way up to and including,,, Wikipedia. My favorite of course, is the girl that would row three oceans. Do you know how big one ocean is? Wow!
    Tomorrow may be the last of your solo mid-ocean full moon sunsets.. Good vibes to you from all of us (snuggled in safer surroundings) Cheers!

  • Dear Roz,  I think I saw on television a Trireme some people had built somewhere on the shores of the Mediterranean sea.  It is a replica of an ancient Greek ( I think ) ship with many oars and a sail.  Do you think they would mind if we borrowed it for a quick visit and ocean party with you?  Of course we would have to promise not to provide a tow.  Your latest blogs are great!  Thank you.  Beautiful sunset too.
    Speaking of the future, has anyone seen the book Ecotopia?
    Row well and live Roz!         Cheers,   Stephen

  • Roz, I’m a believer that small actions will add up to make positive change.  Sure it may take awhile and I may not be around to see that change but I’d rather being doing something (anything really) than giving up hope and not taking any action at all.

    Today’s topic reminds me of a June Jordan quote, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”  The group Sweet Honey in the Rock turned it into a song emphasizing the message – it’s not someone else who is going to change the world, it’s you.

    Happy rowing, happy philosophizing!


  • I think when people read stories about people, like you, doing incredible things like rowing across oceans they forget about the incredible (and often extremely challenging) journey that got you there. I enjoyed reading about all of the things you had to do before you set off to row. 

    Thank you for reminding me that we all have to power to create change, to do good, and to be better.

    I wanted to share this video with this community. It’s a video of Michael Fishbach, co-founder of The great Whale Conservancy, out on a photography trip with some friends and family. He comes across a humpback whale, entangled in fishing nets, and needs saved. 

    This remarkable video will truly make you smile.


    • Thanks Mary! I shared it on my FB page and so many people are commenting on it … actually, I have seen it before and really like it … glad you posted it!

  • Evening / morning Roz, It is always feels like sitting across the deck when we talk/ type / listen and share. Even though you have the sun burn and rowing blisters. solo. The moving real life you create – we can not totally appreciate. None the less – your ripples are creating waves, of change. I think many citizens of the planet do not know , what they do not know.  They have habits and fears. Fear often pushes people back to their old habits – for better or worse. Humans are afraid to fail, even small ones , prevent them from moving forward. The more outspoken each individual can become . The more positive truth practiced globally , it will correct the present course of our public choices. There will always be more followers than leaders. I personally believe the planet is a product of our educational system . The global system teaches – trust that leaders will solve any problem that arises. Leaders are human. Humans are full of flaws and filled with equal amounts of loving potential. That is the challenge of the balance. Humans rely on values to predict the final outcome. I think honest knowledge spoken daily  and by the masses will prevail . We have tried to globalize labor . The resources, humans and planet have suffered for this ill thought out experiment. Local is the solution . Big box stores are not the solution to our global product / service delivery system. Computers will not grow our food. Love our family and friends. Return wasted resources to the earth. In the USA , 2011 was the hottest recorded summer in 75 years. Sadly the folks and leaders in washington , dc are reactors, not responders. So the work is left to a few to educate the many . Government is not the answer or the fastest path to our global solution. Every rower, hiker, gardener , parent , child and citizen is the solution. Our future is worth daily action to bring about awareness .  Looking forward to the day your boat hits the shore . Your feet hit the dock. Your travels allow you to continue your quest to share a message of hope. uhmmmm is that arrive detestation ever going to be safely made public ? How to plan a welcome in a time blender? Respect the not knowing . The ice cream is melting…. 🙂

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