Arriving Antigua 2006

There was a sentence in the concluding chapter of “Buyology”, by Martin Lindstrom, that made me smile today. He commented that to avoid corporate branding, you would have to stock up on food, retreat to your hideaway, turn off your TV, disconnect your high speed internet connection, and not talk to anybody.

Yes, exactly. And here I am.

Speaking of branding, my friend Anna Farmery has a great podcast called “The Engaging Brand“, which originated in marketing but often leads into the question of what makes human beings tick. Anna has had some fascinating guests, and occasionally, in desperation, me, on the show. She asks great questions, and came up with a real corker in the comments on this blog the other day:

“As you know I am an avid reader as well – sometimes I wonder whether reading makes me think too deeply and complicate life or helps me distil life and make it simpler….when you are at sea you obviously have a huge amount of time to think, to listen to books etc…do you think that makes you make life more complicated or simpler when you are back on terra firma?”

Hmm. One of the attractions of coming out to sea in the first place was the hope that it would give me the time and space to think. On the Atlantic I didn’t have audiobooks, so all the thinking had to originate in my own head, or from comments on my blog. And I duly did do a lot of thinking – a lot of it rather self-absorbed, but I had to get my own house in order (or at least clear out some of the clutter) before I could start thinking about wider issues. By the time I reached Antigua after 103 days at sea, I reckoned I’d figured out a few things, partly from books that I’d read in the few months before I set out, and partly ideas that just came up from inside me.

After the Atlantic I was concerned that I might have taken my own thoughts about as far as I could without outside assistance, so that is where the audiobooks came in. Over the years I’ve gained so much from books, both in print and in audio. Truly the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. People recently have mentioned “Conversations With God” and “Ishmael”, both of which were very formative for me, as was “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight”. The bits that resonated with me have duly been incorporated into my worldview. (There is a list of my favourite books here).

I suppose that, paradoxically, I do all this mind-bending reading and thinking in the hope of arriving at an ultimate simplicity. What I’m really trying to do is to distill all this input into a crystal clear vision of a happy and sustainable future – both for me individually and for humans collectively – that I can then do my best make a reality.

So, Anna, to try and answer your question: the reading and thinking serves my overall life purpose, and having a strong life purpose makes everyday life very simple. If something will help further that purpose, I do it. If it doesn’t, I don’t. Priorities become very clear.

And, incidentally, simplicity is also at the heart of the happy and sustainable future that I envision, so the simplicity crops up on two different levels. First, the single-minded pursuit of anything makes life simpler, and second, simplicity also happens to be the thing that I am pursuing.

Errr, does that make sense?! Great question – certainly got me thinking! Looking forward to discussing further over a cold beverage next time I am in Yorkshire. In fact, it might take several bevvies to really get to the bottom of the question….!

Other Stuff:

Today was a good day at Purple Palisades. I covered over 50 nautical miles, more than making up for the devastating minus-twenty the other night. I also improved the repair on the electrical system, and now have much more confidence in its ability to continue functioning. The only bad news is that I can’t find the spare recharger for the Xacti waterproof camera, so from now on I will have to rely solely on the GoPro cameras, and they’re pretty basic. And in the search for the recharger, I found that my laptop bag, despite being inside a supposedly waterproof outer bag, is going mouldy. Something to deal with when conditions calm down.

Thanks for all the great suggestions on how to warm up my feet. Ummm, I suppose this brings home the point that it is important to ask the right question if you want to get the right answer! I really want to know how to keep my feet warm while I am rowing. Once I’m in my cabin I’m fine, and once I’m in my sleeping bag I’m even finer. The problem is while I’m still out on deck – and that goes tenfold for the North Atlantic next year. Mind you, it did make me smile to picture myself trying to lie on my back and cycle my legs while simultaneously rowing – that really would be a challenge of coordination!

Bruce – I loved what you wrote (in connection with the hereafter) about all living creatures sharing a common connection to each other. Everything is, indeed, connected. I somehow feel the need to include rocks in the web of connection too, even though they are not conventionally “alive”. What do you think?

Happy Birthday to UncaDoug for June 16th. We won’t ask how old! 🙂

Photo: Arriving Antigua March 2006, a changed Roz after 103 days at sea.

Sponsored Miles: Richard Miller, Eric Anderson, Larry Grandt – with grateful thanks for their support.

40 Comments

  • Roz, I really connect with this: “…reading and thinking serves my overall life purpose, and having a strong life purpose makes everyday life very simple. If something will help further that purpose, I do it. If it doesn’t, I don’t.”  Agree totally!

    On a more mundane and “fun” note, did you catch a glimpse of the eclipse last night, or even see the full moon.  As I was leaving a nearby coffee shop where I access wifi (sound familiar?) and happened to catch a glimpse of the full moon peaking through the treetops … 9:23PM PT …

    purple black blue sky
    nine twenty-three precisely
    balmy warm cool moon
    Hoping you caught a glimpse too, Roz!

  • I am glad your electrical system is back! If you have a tester you can touch the probes to the end of the part that connects to the camera. If you have 4 to 9 volts at that end it is not the charger. If there is no voltage, it is your camera recharger that has the problem: maybe you can cut the wires and connect them directly to your battery . If you do not leave it connected long, but hit it alternatively for 5 seconds on and 10 seconds off several times you should be able to charge the battery in the camera without a problem.
    Good luck!
    Note, a happy and sustainable future is generally fine, until conditions change, then a new paradigm is needed!  🙂

  • Yes, simplicity is one of the more complicated persuits, I find!

    Blob! Do you want to borrow my camera?

  • Yes, simplicity is one of the more complicated persuits, I find!

    Blob! Do you want to borrow my camera?

  • I spend a lot of alone time on the road and enjoy time just being alone with my thoughts, as questionable as they are. I’m finding that I leave the radio, audiobooks and podcasts off more and more the older I get … but then again I’m not alone for days on end, just 8 hour drives a couple times a week!

    Glad your electrical issues are improving and hope that the ocean continues to embrace you … although with perhaps a bit more warmth.

  • I spend a lot of alone time on the road and enjoy time just being alone with my thoughts, as questionable as they are. I’m finding that I leave the radio, audiobooks and podcasts off more and more the older I get … but then again I’m not alone for days on end, just 8 hour drives a couple times a week!

    Glad your electrical issues are improving and hope that the ocean continues to embrace you … although with perhaps a bit more warmth.

  • I spend a lot of alone time on the road and enjoy time just being alone with my thoughts, as questionable as they are. I’m finding that I leave the radio, audiobooks and podcasts off more and more the older I get … but then again I’m not alone for days on end, just 8 hour drives a couple times a week!

    Glad your electrical issues are improving and hope that the ocean continues to embrace you … although with perhaps a bit more warmth.

  • Two quotes that have helped me in this ‘thesis review of literature’…Virgina Woolf: “we read to leave behind the tether of a single mind…and deviate in the mind and bodies of others.”  Clint Willis: We also read (and write) to examine the stories other people tell about themselves and each other, and to ‘repair’ or rethink those stories as well as our own.” 

  • Rita, it appears that about 13 comments were left while the system was down … the blog page shows 20 comments, but this page presently shows 7.  Is there a way to retrieve the missing comments?

  • Happy Birthday Doug!  Roz, Jon Bowermaster had some harsh comments re K Whelan in a blog titled “…is naked adventuring necessary?” He also referred to you as “his friend” and stated you were also rowing the Indian Ocean.  Anyway, his issue seemed to be people doing adventure stuff for the sake of publicity rather than pure sport. He did not vilify you, but perhaps your mum can send you the story to see if it makes sense to you.

    Best of luck, Tomas

  • Roz. We ARE the rocks! Just temporarily in a different form. We don’t own the earth! The earth owns us!
    My thought of the day: Mankind is going nowhere! Just faster!

  • Hi Roz,

    I was wondering about your foot problem My advice on keeping feet warm applies to vastly different conditions and the ability to keep dry socks. If you can wrap your feet in dry cloth and water proof them somehow it would help. Then you need only change out the cloth every 4 hours or so with some foot powder. As for marketing, you could do worse than study America’s current master of it: Stefani Joanne Anglina Germanotta. A.k.a. Lady Gaga. I’m happy to hear you’re gaining distance.

    -Eric

  • I love that single-minded pursuit of purpose, or find a simple purpose and single-mindedly stick to it. There is much fulfillment there, and it works to 1) make one a happier person and 2)make the world a better place. it is a metaphor of life, really. Life is made up of pretty intricate relationships of beings and things that have very simple roles, on an individual basis, to play. Love this post!!!! woohoo!! Can’t wait for that beer and chat we’re eventually going to have!!!

  • This is a great blog for retweeting!  I am a big fan of Mutts Comics and was in a facebook chat with the creator today. Suggested he do a strip on Roz–they care about the same issues. His character  Crabby the crab maybe could meet Roz! Anyway, it’s not everyday you get to talk to a hero and genius. Hope Roz will do a facebook chat when she is back on dry land. 
    Happy birthday, Doug!

    • Susie, thanks for helping it be the best ever! I like the idea of Roz the Rower reconnoitering with Crabby the Crab. Would be a nice tribute.

  • Ah – keeping your feet warm while rowing (I imagined you waking up and turning around to stick your feet out of the cabin and biking on your back to welcome the morning) – shift weight alternately between heels and toes, flexing the ankles and slightly rotating them at different angles – that’s possible on a weight machine . I’ll try it on a Concept 2 rowing machine!  

    Today I met Angela Haseltine Pozzi (http://www.washedashore.org) at the Marine Mammal Center (worth a visit north of the Golden Gate Bridge for those not in the San Francisco area).  She was setting up an exhibition of sea creatures made from plastic debris – she said she’d met you at a conference.  A crane was piecing together a whale skeleton made of white polystyrene – some very large pieces were waiting to be assembled.  So I’ll stick some pics on your Facebook page.  

  • Warm feet: Good for warming: Neoprene. You have Neoprene? If it is serious, i would cut me two socks out of a sleeve or something. Get some knobs under you ball of foot to have a massage each time you pull 🙂 For you next row i would try to get some heat-foot-mats for shoes and standard water resistant thermo-socks. There are a few working with electrical power, and others activated by cocking em in water for a few minutes. 

    The cam: If everything fails: Should be a 5Volt, 2 Ampere charger (depends on model of course). You could try loading it over a USB slot (5V, 1A or 500mA) or with a different charger same Voltage. Just cut the connectors. I guess this is the most stupid advice you ever got: But the battery of your sat-phone is probably the same voltage (3,7V) – take this info and when hell comes down it’s good to know 🙂 

  • Spent the morning making offerings to the buddhist monks, visiting temples and learning more about Thai buddhist teaching.
    Rings well with our goals. It’s up to US to make the difference not some external, THEY or THEM.
    Not sure about Douglsa Adams’ heaven …… But I think I know the address …. It’s forty something …. 😉
    Jim Bell (Chiangmai Thailand)

  • Spent the morning making offerings to the buddhist monks, visiting temples and learning more about Thai buddhist teaching.
    Rings well with our goals. It’s up to US to make the difference not some external, THEY or THEM.
    Not sure about Douglsa Adams’ heaven …… But I think I know the address …. It’s forty something …. 😉
    Jim Bell (Chiangmai Thailand)

  • yes i agree all things on earth are connected, even the rocks, the wind & the water. everything on this plant effects the other. we have to care for all things to save our Mother Earth. if we care for her, she will care for her children,us.  hugs to you Roz. peace.

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