A few days ago I received the unofficial attendee list for the TED Mission Blue conference, where I am due to speak next month. As my eyes panned down the list my jaw hit the floor. My hair stood on end. My heart pounded and my butterflies fluttered. And my mouth expanded into a huge giddy grin of amazed disbelief.

This was the A list. Big time.

With the renowned marine explorer Dr Sylvia Earle, in whose honour TED Mission Blue is being held
The renowned marine explorer Dr Sylvia Earle, in whose honour TED Mission Blue is being held

They and I will be part of a select gathering of 100 people on board a ship for 4 days together. There is every chance I will get to speak with amazingly famous people – or at the very least present in front of them for my own 18 minutes of fame. I was gobsmacked, terrified, and exhilarated, all at once.

Unfortunately I am not at liberty to divulge any of the names. To followers of my Tweets, the biggest name on the list – a major Hollywood star – is now known as “Insert Name”.

Whether or not Insert Name turns up (and I’ll believe it only when I see it), the implications of this are considerably further-reaching than just a one-off event in the Galapagos. I realised that I am moving into the Big League. So I’d better grow up fast and get used to it. This presentation had better be darned good – but more than that, it was time for me to revisit my vision of the future. I had outgrown my current vision.

6 years ago, when I decided to row the Atlantic (and yes, I knew even then that the Pacific was the likely encore) I had a very detailed mental image of how it would pan out: how I would spend my time, what I would do with the attention around my adventures, what I wanted to say, and who I wanted to be and who I wanted to associate with.

Last year on the ocean, one night as I lay out on the deck of my boat when it was too stuffy to sleep inside the cabin, I gazed up at the stars and thought back over the last few years of my life, and realised it had all come true. When I first had that vision, I had no idea how I was going to get from the life I had then to the life I wanted to have. But somehow, little by little, I had consistently taken step after baby step in the right direction, and now here I was, exactly where I had dreamed of being.

So now it is time to figure out where I want to go next. Aspire, achieve, advance. The achievement is not the end – it is just the stepping stone on to the next, bigger and better achievement.

Blue sky thinking - ample opportunity coming right up

This weekend I went for a couple of long walks to think about it all, and have started to evolve a vision for the next phase of my life. It needs work yet, but I’ve got a 100-day thinking opportunity coming right up, so I’ll have plenty of time to refine it and flesh it out until it exists as a vividly real future reality in my imagination. If you can dream it, you can be it. The subconscious can’t tell the difference between something that really happened and something you imagined, which is why visualisation works so well. Success feels as real as if it has already happened.

For more on this, here’s a blog I wrote from the ocean last summer that mentions my obituary exercise, which led directly to my vision of my future as I wanted it to be.

I also found this video very useful – David Allen on Getting Things Done. Or take a look atΒ his website to find out more about how to take a vision and make it real.

Meanwhile, I’m busy trying to figure out how to impress the socks off this prestigious and influential audience – and how to lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks. For some reason my visualisations of a skinnier me don’t help much when my stomach starts rumbling. Hey, I’m only human!


  • Just the photo of you with my hero, Sylvia Earle, is enough to knock my socks off – especially since you are now also someone I admire enormously. You’re doing the things many of us don’t even dare to really dream of (much less visualize!), while we stay caught in our daily lives which often fail to feed and express who we really are. As a woman in mid-life, your posts and ongoing adventures are so rousing and inspiring to me. Thank you. (Is it too late for my childhood dream of becoming Jacques Yves Cousteau??) Susan in Alaska.

  • Roz, I enjoyed reading Day 76 – Positive Thinking: An Epiphany again, especially this: What does matter is What We Really, Really, Really, Really Want – and rising to make that vision a reality. That impacted my life the first time I read it, and now — seven months later — I know it to be true. Thank you for your inspiration.

    I know you will knock their socks off — especially [Insert Name] — and your message will resound over the waves beyond the horizon, greater than mere ripples.

  • Just be yourself. Your presence, your smile, your can do attitude, and a bit of British humor makes you shine very brightly.

    Keep enjoying the ride!

  • Roz, I am so proud of you and because of your beautiful and honest personality, you will be a hit! You are outstanding with us all! Roger

  • Roz, delighted that you’re realising how far you’ve come in beginning to think about how far you’ve got the potential to go. In amongst all of your visualising, please don’t forget that to many of us your role is, and has been for a long time, that of inspiration. You have a gift of being able to inspire others to throw away their pre- and misconceptions to just get on with doing it instead of merely dreaming it! Best wishes, Steve.

  • Hi Roz,
    Just a year ago I had a similar experience although nothing quite as grand as you’re doing. I was notified that I was being inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. I’m sure I got the same anxious and giddy feelings that you are having knowing that I would have to give a little speech. As it turned out I gave my little speech, not eighteen minutes, and I’m still here. These kinds of things are a lot of fun and I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully.
    You go girl and hope to see you soon.

  • Roz, I have seen you blow away audiences of junior high and high school students. Believe me, this is a WAY tougher group to impress than any number of Insert Names.

    Sometimes, my falafel friend, I think you do not realize how truly, TRULY impressive you are. Go in there with your accomplishments and your big heart, your concern for all peoples and all lands and you’re set. They’re VERY lucky to have you at this conference.

    Completely without bias πŸ™‚


  • Thank you all for your messages of encouragement. And Sharon, I think if I ever start thinking of myself as impressive, we will all be in a lot of trouble! πŸ™‚

    As somebody said, humility is being suitably embarrassed while telling everybody how wonderful you are….!

    I’ve just started rehearsing my Nat Geo speech. The Columbia Arts Center has very kindly agreed to let me use their auditorium for rehearsals over the next 3 days. It’s not quite 2,500 capacity, but it will certainly help me get used to presenting in front of a large room. And the fact that they’re now expecting me to turn up will ensure that I actually get my act together and start rehearsing!

  • Well they are all now saying/thinking, “Oh my! I have to speak in front of ROZ SAVAGE!!!”

    You are amazing.
    Go get ’em!
    Laurey in Asheville

  • Roz, standing alone on the stage rehearsing in an empty cavernous Columbia Arts Center auditorium gives new meaning to “standing room only” … may your voice resonate in the “hollowed halls”!

  • Roz, the subconscious has been at work … you know I can’t resist a haiku in your honor … here’s to Monday and Tuesday:

    voice resonating
    vital message strikes a chord
    vibrant ripples spread

  • G’day

    I have 2 jobs, 4 kids, an ex husband, a loan to the bank, and to many days left till the next payday, but even so my 15 minutes of free time…I spend it daily on cool online info and till this day you never made me loose interest.

    Thank you for sweetening my daily routine. Yeah, hard period but all of you remember that we need joy also in our lives.


  • Since this is a place where β€œfans” of Roz Savage and her eco message congregate and comment, I thought I’d pop in and offer my 2 cents as to how all of us could become part of history! This challenge, if we decided to all engage in it, would not only help Roz accomplish her historic solo row across the Pacific, but also help the health of the planet in a profound way! Apart from who Roz just IS intrinsically, she will also become the FIRST WOMAN TO SOLO ROW THE PACIFIC OCEAN … and that alone will cause her to be in even greater demand for educational engagements around the globe. Bottom line: at those educational engagements, Roz will reach countless thousands of people, and then an even more amazing ripple effect kicks in BIG TIME! Okay, the challenge I throw out to all of us — and hope I’m not being annoyingly repetitive here! — is this: to each set aside some personal funds EACH WEEK — funds we’d normally use, say, for a few cups of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts cappucino or latte — or for that extra lunch we bring to work instead of buying in the cafeteria/local restaurant — and SEND IT TO ROZ instead!

    Personally, I’ve become a taxi junkie lately (when I get up too late in the mornings, I rush to work via taxi), so for me, it’s going to be get up earlier, cut off my taxi dependence, and send that extra $$moolah to Roz instead!) I bet EACH of us could figure out a way to engage in this challenge — and I KNOW our Roz will be deeply grateful if we did. I say “our” Roz because for me, I’ve come to feel a “kindred spirit”-like connection to her and her mission — and I know from the hundreds of comments I’ve read here over the months, I am not alone in that!

    Well, I’m heading over to that DONATE button up at the top, right-hand corner of this blog right now. Hope it gets so many hits that it crashes her PayPal!

  • Naomi – you’re a legend! I hope your new idea pays you back in great karma – as well as an even fitter, healthier you! This is a lovely idea – thank you so much for making it public.

    How are your preps going for the Coast to Coast? I think of you often and hope it’s all going well. My sister will be off doing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela at the same time, so I’ll be thinking of all you walkers while I’m busy rowing!

  • Roz … got to thinking about you standing before the illustrious TED audience out on that NatGeo ship (and all those who’ll view the presentation later), and a verse out of the Book of Proverbs came to my mind: “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Being an ole Bible college student in another life, I immediately had to see what the Greek/Hebrew lexicon shows is the actual meaning of the words, so I looked it up. It is speaking of what a man gives to another, his presents, gifts to others (gift = Hebrew word “mattan”). It indicates it’s a “bountiful person” a giver. Then I looked up the Hebrew words for the phrase “makes room for him” and learned that it means the the space around that person becomes wider and enlarged! So why would the space around the giver need to become enlarged? That brings us to the next part of the verse, the phrase “brings him before great men.” That word “great” means “great in magnitude and extent; in number; intensity; in loudness; in age, in importance (i.e., the most distinguished of men).”

    I think it’s clear … your willingness to give, to risk, to share your gift of guts, stamina, talent, resolve, commitment, etc., etc., in behalf of a cause much greater than one’s self has been the gift, the present. That giving enlarged the space around you for one reason … so that many important and engaged people could FIT in the enlarged space and hear what you have to say! Then they will take it out even further to the world. Nothing is a mistake. You belong on that TED cruise speaking your truth to “greatness” — no doubt about it!

    Naomi x

  • Please, everyone, go to http://bit.ly/bZ7lJ2
    and nominate Roz.

    “Roz has rowed, solo and unsupported, across the Atlantic and is about to begin the third stage of her row across the Pacific. She uses the publicity generated by her blogs (rozsavage.com) to constantly remind her many followers around the World of the parlous state of the oceans and their importance to the future of mankind. The responses to her blogs indicate that Roz is indeed having a powerful influence on many people, including many whose actual contact with the sea is minimal.”

  • Right on John, I just saw the link in Roz’s tweet and immediately went and nominated her. Lets rally the troops and get her a thousand nominations!

  • I was there in Seattle today when you did your presentation and I just wanted you to know how inspired I am by you! I an so excited to start following your blog! πŸ™‚

  • Jon, thanks for the link to Oceana’s “Nominate An Ocean Hero.” I just nominated Roz … wrote two paragraphs, but then had to shorten it by half! (only 1500 characters allowed). Here’s the whole thing — but Oceana just got the first paragraph:

    “Well, she’s a hero to me because she has single-handedly gotten me to STOP using plastic cutlery, buy unnecessary plastic items I don’t need, has inspired me to re-use the plastic containers I got daily (and threw out daily) from our office cafeteria, AND has inspired me to believe that small steps, repeatedly undertaken, are what CHANGES the world’s environment for the better — and specifically, our polluted OCEANS! I learned from following Roz’s blog and reading about her incredible ocean solo-rowing voyage across the Atlantic (and now the final leg of her solo row across the Pacific about to begin) that there is a floating island of plastic in the Pacific about twice the size of Texas that is poisoning wildlife and contributing to the pollution of our life-giving oceans. Roz got me to see that what happens in the OCEANS happens in our world at large. She respects the ocean — like scarcely any other human can — as she has been out on it ALONE for months at a time … rowing in communion with (and at times frustrated opposition to) all of its many “moods.” She’s the real deal!

    Also, Roz recently walked from London to Brussels on her way to the climate change talks just held in Copenhagen in an attempt to call greater attention to what each of us, one by one, can do — ONE STEP AT A TIME — to care for the earth. She is an adventurer, an author, and an engaging, articulate speaker; funny, inspiring, brilliant, and most of all, tenacious about her love of sea, land and sky. I think her best feature, tho, is the humility with which she conducts herself, scarcely acknowledging her accomplishments and just how many people she is actually reaching around the world with her simple message: “One oar stroke isn’t going to get me anywhere, but if you take a load of tiny actions and you string them all together, you really can achieve almost anything.” This is the approach she is fostering in me with regard to doing little things every day to help the health of the planet … including our beautiful oceans … and in my own personal life as well!”

    If you feel inspired to nominate Roz as an ocean hero, click on the link John provided just above and let Oceana know!

  • Naomi – how beautifully put. Have taken note, and will check that my TED talk incorporates all your points! Thank you for nominating me, but even more, thank you for reflecting back to me just how I can convey my message in its most effective form.

    All best, and good luck with your coast-to-coast

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