Signing books in San Diego

Phewee. I’m only just now drawing breath after the whirlwind that was my speaking tour of the US and Canada, so I’m taking a break from this series of motivational blogs to say some well-deserved thank yous.

You might recall that a few months ago I put out the word on this blog that I wanted to travel around North America, with the dual purpose of getting my environmental message out there and raising funds for the Indian Ocean row. A dozen brave souls stepped up to the plate, and many, many emails later (largely coordinated by my long-suffering mother) we had ourselves a tour.

I’m not sure any of us knew quite what we were getting ourselves into. I had never organised a tour before, and neither had anybody else. It was the blind leading the blind in many ways, but as with ocean rowing, it can be good NOT to know at the outset just how challenging it is going to be, or else we’d think of a hundred reasons not to do it.

Miraculously, with an enormous amount of hard work, the tour came together, and resulted in a 12-city, 30-event extravaganza lasting just over 5 weeks. I spoke in front of over 4,000 people (not including unknown numbers on webcasts). I travelled nearly 20,000 miles and slept in 27 different beds. And we raised a total of nearly $30,000 towards the $50,000 I need for the Indian Ocean.

I don’t know how I will ever repay the incredible kindness, energy, and dedication to the cause demonstrated by my incredible team of event organisers. They have built up some seriously good karma points, and I hope to repay their faith in me by succeeding in next year’s mission to row across the Indian Ocean.

I’d like to share a few photos – and memories – of the tour, so you can join with me to bask in the afterglow.

Joan-in-Atlanta-in-a-dress

When other fundraising efforts fell on stony ground, Joan donned a dress to raise the funds to make it worth my while to come to Atlanta. Apparently the first time she had worn a dress in about 20 years. Talk about getting outside your comfort zone!

Joan, I appreciate your sacrifice.

Joan in more usual attire
With Rozta' Bill, also in Atlanta
With Kappy in Asheville

One of the nicest things about the tour was the chance to connect with friends old and new – I met Rozta’ Bill for the first time in Atlanta, and in Asheville a blast from the past – Kappy Griffith, who I rowed with in the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club squad, half a lifetime ago.

Rochelle Poulson in Dallas

Rochelle first started following my blog to give her inspiration through her marathon training. Then she continued following it after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, as she took her chemotherapy and surgery “one oarstroke at a time”. Now cancer-free, she drove from Austin to Dallas (about 3.5 hours) to meet me. Her attitude to her illness has always been that it is a gift, sent to bring good things to her life that wouldn’t otherwise have transpired.

A film about her experience is in production – called “Cancerpants” to reflect her refusal to be a victim. I can’t wait to see it.

TSA Dallas with the "stolen" laptop

All smiles now, but it was the longest 30 mins of my life when my precious MacBook was accidentally misappropriated by another passenger at airport security in Dallas. Fortunately the perpetrator was a big fan of the TED Talks, and recognised my desktop photo (my arrival in Hawaii in 2008) as soon as he opened my laptop. He then found my phone number in my Addressbook application and called me. I didn’t know whether to thank him, or kill him!

San Diego book signing at the Birch Aquarium
With Margaret Lydecker of NYC Green Drinks, and Naomi-in-NY

The danger of listing thank yous is that I will miss somebody out. No doubt I have – and if so, please forgive me. In more or less chronological order, I would like to express my heartfelt and eternal gratitude to:

Angela Hey in Portola Valley

Anna Cummins and her parents in Santa Monica

Jim Salzman and Cindy Van Dover at Duke University

Laurey Masterton in Asheville

Bill Burgess in Greenville

Joan Sherwood and Cindy Abel in Atlanta

Sam Jones and Kathryn Andree in Dallas

Mary Kadzielski, Shaw Thacher and Doug DeMark in Washington DC

Jay Gosuico, Doug Grandt, Reuben Hechanova, Aenor Sawyer, Jamis MacNiven, Betsy Rosenberg and Zenia Laporte at Unique in San Francisco, Sacramento and the Bay Area

Susan Bartlett and Roger Friesen in Vancouver

Timothy Ray and Robert Kibble in San Diego

Kevin Doheny in Minneapolis

Buffy Redsecker, Margaret Lydecker, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelovic in New York

Plus the innumerable others who toiled behind the scenes to make this happen – including, of course, aforesaid Long Suffering Mother!

And, finally, a huge thank you to each and every person who came to my presentations – for the love, the energy, and of course the financial contributions. I hope you came away energised and inspired, and will go forth as footsoldiers into the world to spread those ripples of positive change.

And here endeth the Oscars speech!

15 Comments

  • Way to take the helm! (I hesitate to speak for the others…) The pleasure’s all mine (our’s). Thank you in return…

    Row Girl Row!
    ~ Jay Gosuico 🙂

  • Couldn’t make it to any of them, alas. But congratulations, Roz on a great achievement. You’ve grown a huge following in the two years since you set out from San Francisco and you are clearly making the sort of impression that you sought. I hope we may meet again someday.
    John

    • Hi John, nice to hear from you. I was surprised not to see you in San Francisco, so am relieved to see that all is well. Glad to know you are still watching out for me! Much love to you and Patricia.

      • Sadly, prior commitments intervened (including house-building project) and location in Grass Valley. Patricia, gout-ridden, sends regards; my doctor pronounces me fit as a man 20 years my junior (does that mean I am no longer an “older man”? ;)). As always. John

        PS: Oops! Missed the Reply button.

      • Sadly, prior commitments intervened (including house-building project) and location in Grass Valley. Patricia, gout-ridden, sends regards; my doctor pronounces me fit as a man 20 years my junior (does that mean I am no longer an “older man”? ;)). As always. John

        PS: Oops! Missed the Reply button.

      • Sadly, prior commitments intervened (including house-building project) and location in Grass Valley. Patricia, gout-ridden, sends regards; my doctor pronounces me fit as a man 20 years my junior (does that mean I am no longer an “older man”? ;)). As always. John

        PS: Oops! Missed the Reply button.

  • Roz, reading the numbers and recap … I’m exhausted … phew!
    Seeing you in action on just “one day in the life” … pushing on …
    catching 15 minutes of rest between the string of commitments,
    I admire your dedication, persistence and unrelenting drive …
    which in the end, turned out to be a seamless string of pearls
    Reading your wrap-up Oscars speech and seeing these photos
    not unexpectedly inspires this haiku for you …

    rozlings gathering
    ripples coming together
    abundance of smiles

  • Latest podcast talks cheerily about some sort of “lemon detox diet.” For gosh sakes, are you an athlete or some sort of celebrity fad dieter? Please see NYT article on this actually quite foolish trend:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/fashion/28Cleanse.html?_r=1&ref=fashion

    From the article: ” “Many people are undiagnosed diabetics, and these cleanses can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels that could be quite dangerous,” said Nancy Kalish, a certified health coach in Brooklyn who advises clients against juice cleanses. “In addition, even if you have nothing wrong with you, this kind of cleansing puts a lot of stress on your body. Your body wants and expects food. And as with most crash diets, which is really what this is, your body thinks it’s starving. It doesn’t know it’s going to get more food. So it lowers your metabolism, and if you do this enough, it can lower your metabolism permanently.””

    • Hi Bryan – am I an athlete? no. Am I a celebrity fad dieter? no, not that either. Just a temporarily burned-out eco campaigner who felt the need for a physical and psychological spring clean.

      It seems that a number of my more eco-conscious and spiritual friends are also increasing the frequency of their detoxes. One of them had an interesting theory that she wants to “be the change she wants to see in the world” – as our world becomes ever more toxic, maybe we feel a natural desire to cleanse our bodies and hopefully, by extension, the planet.

      Not sure I subscribe to this theory, but it was certainly food (pun intended) for thought!

      • Respectfully suggest yoga practice and meditation are preferable to “detoxes” and colonics for mental and physical renewal. And more work, too.

        Rowing across two oceans looks remarkably like an athletic accomplishment, at least to most people. Surprising, to me, that you seem to self-assess differently.

  • I think we’ve had this conversation about fasting before. Somewhere around Thailand. Fasting … as a temporary program to clean out the body, and give it a rest from the requirements of digestion … has been around for thousands of years. I’m always skeptical of people who bad-mouth free-and-easy solutions, and instead try and move you in the direction of something they are trying to sell. It seems to me tht a lot of the New York Times article is devoted to marketing products and services. And it always pays to be skeptical of marketing claims. Just sayin’ ……

  • I just got back from my NYC business trip to find this post. Well, it was well worth it I’d have to say. And I earned an extra $4 for you by asking people to donate a dollar to see that photo on my iPhone. I’ll just add it to my next non-monthly donation when you’re getting closer to launch. I may reap some more on my next business trip. For gosh sakes, just don’t keyword that photo. I don’t want anyone to find it in a random Google search. [grin] Glad you survived the tour, Roz. I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to some nice quiet ocean time when the opportunity rolls around again.

  • Sadly, prior commitments intervened (including house-building project) and location in Grass Valley. Patricia, gout-ridden, sends regards; my doctor pronounces me fit as a man 20 years my junior (does that mean I am no longer an “older man”? ;)). As always. John

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