Telluride, Colorado

OK, so ocean rowing isn’t directly related to mountains (unless you mean mountainous challenges) but Mountainfilm is about much more than mountains. It is a four-day adventure-fest – adventures of the mind and spirit, as well as the body.

Yesterday I heard someone saying that some people come away from Mountainfilm saying it has changed their life. This made me reflect on my decision to row the Atlantic, and going further back than that, my decision to opt out of the rat race and go and do something more interesting instead.

I started drafting my presentation for Sunday, along the lines that when we each look back over our lives, we see a number of defining moments – it could be as dramatic as a car wreck or the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, or it could be as tiny as a throwaway comment from a friend, or a book you read, or a decision to do x rather than y.

People have asked me if rowing the Atlantic changed my life, and they tend to look rather disappointed when I say that it didn’t. The truth is that the changes started several years ago, when I reached my mid-thirties, and the apparently bizarre decision to put out to sea in a tiny 24-foot rowboat was, believe it or not, those changes taken to their logical(ish) conclusion. For me, deciding to row the Atlantic was an accumulation of defining moments, moments when I chose one path over another. At any point, life could have led me in a different direction.

But I’m rather glad it led me in this one.

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