In the summer of 2004 I was in a very uncertain phase of my life. I was separated from my husband, had no job, and was living rent-free in a Dickensian (aka grungy) flat above an antiques shop in a narrow flagstoned passageway in Richmond. My only sources of income were from baking organic cakes that I sold at a local farmers’ market, and occasional photographic work. The previous year I had been on my first adventure, a three-month trip to Peru, and had written a book about my travels (as yet unpublished). I had left behind my materialistic lifestyle, and was experimenting with a new, more intuitive way of living, exploring new ideas and new freedoms.

Priscilla, Queen of the Road. I was driving my old camper van when inspiration struck.

It was into this fertile void of uncertainty that the idea to row across oceans to raise environmental awareness exploded like the Big Bang, and the course for the next 7 years of my life was set. These years have been incredibly busy, organising, fundraising and executing one major expedition per year as well as speaking, writing, and campaigning.

This year had looked set to be equally busy, first with Trashmobs and then the North Atlantic OAR project slated to take up most of the summer. When the OAR was postponed indefinitely, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a bonus three months on my hands. Of course the diary didn’t stay empty for long – a book deal came along, as well as various professional and social commitments. But spending the summer on dry land rather than slogging my way across yet another ocean has presented me with a welcome opportunity to re-create the summer of 2004. And I hope that it may similarly lead to a blinding flash of inspiration that will determine the course of the next chapter of my life.

At Machu Picchu in Peru

I think of the process this way: in 2004 I took a whole load of ingredients and put them into my mental melting pot: the sense of adventure engendered in Peru, a desire to do something useful in the world, curiosity about new places and new experiences, and the need to make a grand gesture about my new personal and environmental values. The melting pot bubbled away for a while and then one day out popped an idea that met all my criteria. Almost immediately I had a clear vision of where I wanted to be several years hence, and after a few days of battling with the little negative voice inside that was telling me I had absolutely no qualifications or experience for this task, I bowed to fate and announced my intention to row the Atlantic. 7 years later on, that vision is now my reality.

Maybe it’s too optimistic to hope to have two blinding flashes in one lifetime. But it’s worth a try. So I am reading books, and spending time with my journal, and allowing my curiosity to take me where it will. And with a bit of luck inspiration may strike again.

Other Stuff:

We are still finalising the publishing contract for my book about the Pacific. As soon as it is signed and sealed, I will be able to let you know more details about the publisher and publication date. Stay tuned!

I’ll be seeing my friend Sarah Outen in a couple of weeks time. Sarah had a traumatic experience recently when she was severely beaten up by a tropical storm during her attempt to row solo across the Pacific. She was picked up by the Japanese Coast Guard, and sadly has lost her boat, Gulliver. Read about her harrowing experience here. But you can’t keep a good woman down for long, and I know for sure that Sarah will be back out there just as soon as she can.

Next week I have several interesting meetings and events, two at the Houses of Parliament and one at 10 Downing Street. Exciting times!

[Featured image: a mountain in Peru]

10 Comments

  • Welcome back! You have been missed.
    I’m sure that you will come up with some excitingly adventurous activity to keep you busy, help drive your movement and get all us Rozlings involved in some valuable way.
    Meanwhile we can all look forward to your Next Book.
    Keep happy!

  • Hello Roz,
    that is great use of opportunity..and I believe there is actually an unmeasurable amount of blinding flashes ahead for you! 

  • Has it ever occurred to you that you may be the answer that you are looking for? …

    Sorry, .. but you asked..
    What if…Outsidejay

  • Roz, from what I have heard you say about your goals at Yale, I believe those few months will be blindingly flashy with inspiration. You will be collaborating with like minds focused on what all humanity is seeking: how to excite, engage, energize and unite our disparate efforts as individuals; how to denounce deceptive distractions that delude and dilute our effectiveness; how to take personal ownership and reject complacent reliance on others’ to “do it for us.”

    My hope is that the results of your collective study and effort should provide guidance to thousands of us who are all seeking the same thing right now: the tipping point that will coalesce humanity around our collective survival. You will need a fertile and open mind, a womb for the seeds of new paradigms and spark of creativity can interweave in unimagined dimensions and knit into a new unbiased fabric and tapestry for life — from the darkest void of fertile openness.

    meditate with love
    remember love is a verb
    allow it to work

    Go on, Roz, koan!

  • I think the last verse of Robert Frost’s poem says it better than I ever could . . . 

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference. 

    And the path you took and are on has indeed “made all the difference.”

    You are amazing and you have amazing vision!

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