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13 Feb, 06 – 20:41

The perfect adventure

Last night as I rowed along under the full moon, I was thinking about what constitute the ingredients for the perfect adventure. Here’s my theory…

It should involve the achievement of some external goal, ideally at the end of the adventure. This is the problem with mountains – once you’ve reached the summit you still have to get back down. This is at best an anticlimax and at worst the point at which it all goes disastrously wrong.

To heighten the drama, there should be a period of stuck-ness, around two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through, when it seems that obstacles will prevent the achievement of the goal… followed, hopefully, by a triumphant conclusion.

Throughout the adventure there should ideally be little highlights – special moments of beauty to inspire and encourage the adventurer, to be remembered and appreciated when looking back.

And there also have to be tough times. This is the crux of the matter. The adventure should, as well as achieving an external goal, allow the adventurer to achieve a personal objective – to either discover or develop at least one desirable character trait. To do this they will have to step outside their comfort zone, and this by definition causes discomfort and despondency.

My hypothesis is this:

The degree of suffering is directly related to the distance outside the comfort zone. The greater the distance outside the comfort zone, the greater the personal growth will ultimately be.

This is good news. It means that bad times are actually good times, because in the end they make it all more worthwhile. It also means that if circumstances conspire to frustrate the external objective (capsizes, sinkings etc), the adventurer may well have achieved the personal objective so all is not lost. The adventure is as much about the journey as it is about the destination..

I’m quite fond of my theory. It certainly sums up what I hope to get out of my adventures. Feel like I’ve had enough of the hardship/journey bit now though, and quite keen to get to the ‘triumphant conclusion’ bit. This ocean is just a bit too big.

Other stuff:

As you may have gathered from yesterday’s hasty posting, conditions here were finally in my favour. Maybe it was the scream therapy. Maybe it was due to happen anyway. But I’d like to think it was the power of all the good vibes coming my way from all you lovely people. I was quite overwhelmed by all the supportive messages I received after Saturday’s crisis – thank you all very much.

Just as well I made the most if it yesterday – conditions today have been at their most capricious. Frequent squalls have created patchy conditions, with the wind sometimes rising and dropping 10 times in as many minutes. If I was a sailor I’d have been manic – reef in, reef out, reef in, reef out. As it is, my moods have been manic. At this rate it will be a miracle if I reach Antigua a) at all, and b) sane. Mr Atlantic has made it very clear who’s running this show.

Thanks for texts from: Gwenaelle and Hayden, Natalie (ouch! You know how to hit me where it hurts – got me right in the pride!), Sandi (see Technical page for explanation of Sedna. Also happens to be Andes backwards, harking back to my adventures in Peru), Caroline (good questions, I know the answers! Thanks for generous financial incentive – in the nicest possible way, I’ll try to cost you dear!), HSS, AH, Philip Goodier, Kevin, Pascale & Terrence, Pauline, Caroline, Mike M, Kurt, John T, Alastair & Kath, Tim (very appropriate lyrics from the Kinks – thanks – but next time you want to send such a lovely long message would you mind please using the Contact page on my website – my poxy Iridium phone can only hold 29 messages at a time), Bri (thanks for advice. Will try to do so), JB, Frances (great mental image!), Brian (no idea. ask me nearer the time!), Patrick, Lynne, Duncan, Matt at Univ, Bethia Woolf (wise words), Tiny, Jeff, AJ, Westie (plenty to do yet – don’t I know it?! I swear these miles get longer…)

Andy – excellent news that there is some duct tape in my Sailingunlimited Sea Survival Pack. Thank you!

Rita Savage’s PS: Grateful thanks from Roz and myself to people who have recently contributed to the Prince’s Trust Charity through Justgiving and to The Voyage through PayPal. An added encouragement to Roz as she continues on her way with all of its ups and downs.

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

Wind: E, variable (estimate)
Weather: sunshine, squalls
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 12

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