The Voyage: Roz Savage
If You Had 3 Months Left To Live...
08 Sep 2006, San Francisco, California

Thinking more about Ardell Lien... at one point, he was so sick, I'm guessing his prognosis was no more than 3 months. Maybe it was then that he resolved that if he lived, he would embark on a mission to raise awareness of organ donation.

So here's the question: if you had only 3 months left to live, what would YOU resolve to do?

And if it's that important to you, that you would spend the last 3 months of your time on this earth doing it....


You never know what's just around the corner. When I was working in London, I could have been blown up on the Underground on my way to work. Every time I fly, the plane could drop out of the sky. Every time I cross the street, I could get squished. How many people do you know, or how many urban myths have you heard, of people dying prematurely, unexpectedly, before they'd done the things they really wanted to do?

As the second anniversary of my father's death approaches, I recall that the last coherent words I heard him say were, 'I never got around to...' and the rest of the sentence was lost in his pain. If that were you, what would be that thing that you never got around to?

You may choose not to live every day as if it's your last (maybe best NOT to tell the boss what you really think of him/her, just in case) but how much would it really hurt you if you did?

I haven't read this book but it sounds intriguing.

Famous last words - and if this is all getting a bit too serious for you, I would check out Oscar Wilde...

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Steve Irwin
08 Sep 2006, San Francisco, California

The world of the wild and whacky and adventurous is mourning the premature passing of Steve Irwin.

To be sure, he'd been tempting fate for a while, but it was still an unlucky end to a lucky life. It's all the more tragic for the fact of the young family he leaves behind.

If only his companions had known this....

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Ardell Lien: Solo Circumnavigation - After Double Transplant
06 Sep 2006, Waikiki Yacht Club

Ardell Lien is a remarkable man. Doing a solo circumnavigation is an achievement. Doing it at the age of 70 is a major achievement. Doing it with a new heart and new kidneys is just amazing.

I was at Waikiki Yacht Club in Hawaii to meet with Bobbie Jennings (no slouch herself - now 71, she hitch-hiked around the world in the 60's - imagine doing THAT without email or the internet...). She had helped my friend Adrian Flanagan when he had to put in for repairs during his vertical circumnavigation of the world, and I wanted to meet her as Hawaii will be my first port of call en route across the Pacific.

As we were chatting, Ardell and his wife just happened to wander by, and Bobbie introduced us.

Just pause for a moment, and imagine what it must be like to be sick enough to need a double transplant. He must have been at death's door, but thanks to a card-carrying donor he received 3 new organs and went on just 2 years later to tackle this challenge - his objective being to build awareness of organ donation.

I was just about to start preaching here about how important it is to carry a card, when I realised that in the course of my travels (and largely due to my habit of regularly losing my purse) I no longer have a card myself.

So after a quick Google, I can now tell you to click here to find out what to do.

Ardell's slogan?


When you meet someone like Ardell, and see what a difference organ donation can make.... well, need I say more?

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Maui Writers' Conference
06 Sep 2006, San Francisco, California

12 hours into the Maui Writers' Conference, and I was wondering if was all a spectacular waste of time, money, and aeroplane fuel. 36 hours in, and I was very glad I came.

I'm not going to count any chickens yet, but with a little bit of preparation and a lot of chutzpah, I managed to see all the agents and editors that I wanted to see, and made a few new friends besides, like Catherine and Paula (see above), specialists in bereavement and mental illness respectively.

Maybe predictably, I met them in a bar next door to the hotel.

Only time will tell if my last-minute decision to go to Hawaii pays dividends in terms of a book deal, but there seemed to be a good reaction to my book proposal (pulled together in a hurry, but none the worse for it - in fact, I was rather proud of the results) and I am hopeful that at least one of the leads opened up may come to fruition.

Even if not, the trip was well worth it anyway - apart from Catherine and Paula, I met yet more remarkable people. See next dispatch....

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