5 Feb, 06 – 20:54

Some texters have said they are envious of me. Why?! It’s not exactly a barrel of laughs out here.

But I know what they mean – there was a time when I was envious of people like me too. I was living in London, doing a job that didn’t seem in tune with my values or my abilities, but I thought I needed a certain level of income and this job was the only way I could see of achieving it. I felt trapped. I would sometimes escape by reading books about mountaineers, polar trekkers and other adventurers. And yes, I would envy them.

It was this envy that gave me a clue my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. One day I did an interesting exercise – I wrote two versions of my obituary – the one I was heading for if I carried on as I was, and the one I really wanted. The contrast was startling.

It still took another 3 or 4 years of gradual changes before the two obituaries started to converge, but I’m getting there.

The first thing is to figure out what it is that you’re envying. If you envy me, is it because you actually want to row an ocean? Or is it the freedom? The adventure? The personal challenge? The opportunity to get fit and healthy? Or is it just that the grass is greener, and you simply want an escape from your current lifestyle?

And if you want to do something about it, what’s stopping you? If you really, really, really wanted to do something about it, would you let anything stop you?

As George Eliot said, ‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been’.

Here’s a little ditty I made up while I was rowing today…

As I row across the sea
I’m very happy to be me
Life is simple, life is free
Oh what better way to be!

There are many ways to live your life
Some are easy, some may bring strife
But please don’t say, when you are through
‘There’s still so much I wanted to do’

Other stuff:

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

The latest on the eddy/swell dilemma – it was a tough call, but I decided to try and get further north (or at least, not go any further south) before the northerly swell kicks in tomorrow. This means I’m dicing with the worst of the eddy. It also means heavy, heavy going. I’ve worn out a pair of rowing gloves in record time. The next 2 or 3 days will show whether or not I made the right decision.

Note for Sean Chapple re my ExplorersWeb Contact 3 setup:

I’ve found it great. It’s very basic software, but it works – which is all I want!


1. Do as Tom suggests and prepare your dispatch using Pocket Word. If you have to reset your iPaq (which I have to do quite regularly) you will lose your dispatch if you’ve done it straight into Contact 3.

2. Look after the kit carefully, especially the HET cable. Mine got damp and didn’t like it. But it did recover after a few days.

3. I initially had a problem with the iPaq going into sleep mode in mid-upload. Set the auto-sleep to max (5 mins). If you’re uploading photos it may take longer than 5 mins, so touch the screen from time to time to stop it going to sleep.

4. If at first the Iridium link doesn’t work, keep trying. I quite often get errors, but it usually works eventually, and sometimes even at the first attempt! Remember, technology knows when you’re in a hurry… allow enough time to do your dispatch, and all will be well…

Texts: thanks for the messages from HSS, John T (Chicago? Or Boston? Sorry – not ready to give you a clue as to my project. Still need to check feasibility, and research opportunities rather limited at the moment!), Caroline Haines, Margaret and Bob, Sandi (nice idea about listing my favourite nursery rhymes, but it’s far too long since I was a child and I can’t remember any!), Brian (thanks for letting me know re Shaolin monks – they were awesome!)

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

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