La Pine, Oregon

There is a quote that was brought to mind by my recent bout with frostnip (plus other residual bodily damage – bruised shins, toenails falling off after last September’s hike of the West Highland Way, muscles sore and aching due to start of punishing new gym regime, etc etc).

The quote goes: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO what a ride!”

(I actually prefer the “martini in hand” version, but bearing in mind my younger readers I thought it best not to encourage consumption of alcoholic beverages, which obviously is something that I would never dream of doing…)

But back to the point of the quote: my poor long-suffering 40-year-old body certainly takes a pounding from time to time. I use it and abuse it and largely take it for granted that it will continue to serve me well, if given regular exercise and fed a nutritious diet.

Life is not about sitting on the sofa watching TV, because “it’s dangerous out there”. Life is for living, and living up large. A little collateral damage may be inevitable from time to time, but this is infinitely preferable to wrapping myself in cotton wool and quietly dying of boredom. I am proud of my bruises and battle scars, because they show I’ve put myself out there in the way of adventure – and if adventure occasionally leaves me feeling as if I’ve been run over by a truck, then so be it – provided I live to tell the tale.

I have been assured by various palm-readers, psychics and wise people that I am destined to lead a long life. I do hope that they are right. Whether my life is LONG may be largely out of my hands, but whether my life is HEALTHY is largely within my control – so that is what I am focusing on.

[Thanks for all the notes encouraging me to write a book of motel-room recipes. Alas, this is not high on my list of priorities right now – I have the Atlantic book to focus on, a speaking tour of New Zealand coming up, plus the Pacific row to prepare for – plus various other projects such as an educational section for this website and a documentary about my Pacific row. But I will keep the idea on a back burner for future reference – just as soon as I have a quiet moment, maybe in about 2015?!]

[Photo: for the dog-lovers out there, here is a shot of the Inuit husky dogs that we used on our dog-pulk trip. They have thick double-layered fur, and thicker footpads than domestic dogs, both of which help keep them warm. They drink little water, getting most of the hydration they need by eating snow. All in all, they are much better suited to the cold than I am! Click here for more information about the Wintergreen dogs.]

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