As hopes fade of finding Steve Fossett alive, the question presents itself again: is it ever worth dying in the pursuit of an activity that you love?
In answer to the first – I think it is for each person, adventurous or not, to decide what level of risk they are willing to accept. For some people, flying on a plane is outside their comfort zone, while others have an irresistible urge to climb Everest, where for every 6 successful summiteers, 1 will die.
On 9/11, people died at their desks. In London, commuters have died in train crashes on their way to work. There are no guarantees of safety in this life – so let’s get the risks in perspective, and not allow irrational fears to hold us back from living our dreams.
For me personally, I have a low tolerance for risk and a powerful desire to stay alive as long as possible. I would not row oceans if I thought that the odds were poor. This is also why I prefer to stick to routes near the equator rather than venturing into rougher, colder waters nearer the poles. Prior preparation and learning from my mistakes have helped me mitigate the risks to an acceptable level.
For many years I dreamed of doing something adventurous, but was held back – more by fear of failure than by fear of death. Letting go of that fear was empowering – but also frightening in itself. It was almost more scary to realise that I could do anything I wanted to do than to hang on to my self-imposed limitations.
As the saying goes, Every Man Will Die. Not Every Man Will Live.