Q: What scares you? What are you afraid of in life? What fears do you have? How much are they part of your day to day decisions? Do they motivate you? Have your fears changed over the years?
I was asked this question by the Growing Bolder radio show, and I thought it was such an interesting subject I've decided to share my answer via my blog. Here it is...
A: Just because I've completed two major solo ocean rows - the Atlantic and California-Hawaii - some people mistake me for a courageous person. But I'm really not! I don't think I'm any braver than anybody else.
But what I do have is a very strong sense of purpose, and this overrides my fears.
When the idea first came to me to row across oceans to raise environmental awareness, my first thought was - that's perfect! My second thought was - I can't possibly do that. It's WAY too scary.
But the idea wouldn't let me go - it was so perfectly in tune with my values - and eventually I realized I just had to give it a try. And the good thing about rowing the Atlantic was that as soon as I set out from the Canaries I was in the trade winds blowing me towards the Caribbean, and there was no way I was physically able to turn back. Blind optimism got me out there, and stubborn pride (as well as the trade winds) kept me going.
So even though it was the hardest, scariest thing I had ever done in my life, once I had started I had to carry on, and just had to learn to deal with the fear, along with the pain, solitude, breakages and constant discomfort. It is really amazing what you can adapt to when you have no choice.
And of course, having now done it, I have no excuses for not doing it again. That is the best and the worst thing about getting outside your comfort zone - once you've done it once, you have destroyed all your own excuses! You are faced with the prospect of your own unlimited potential - and that in itself can be quite terrifying, because you realize the only limits are the ones you impose on yourself.
So now I'm hell-bent on destroying your excuses too.... Act in faith, not fear, and you'll never regret it. I promise you.
The environmental message for Stage One of my row, which took me from San Francisco to Hawaii, skirting the North Pacific Garbage Patch, was about reducing, re-using and recycling plastic, to stop any more plastic pollution getting into the ocean. I urged people to use reusable grocery bags, coffee mugs and water bottles.
Stage Two, which launches in May next year and will take me across the Equator and into the South Pacific, will be all about green energy and going carbon neutral. I will be working with various companies and organizations to make it fun for people to reduce their carbon footprint by using more environmentally friendly forms of transport and switching to greener, cleaner, energy sources.
What does this have to do with the oceans? You may be wondering. Well, I'd still be saying the same things even if it had nothing to do with oceans - all the aspects of our environment are interconnected; air, land and sea - but as it happens there is a strong connection between carbon dioxide emissions and the health of our marine world.
And see this website for more over the coming months about the facts, the science - but most importantly what we as individuals can do to help.
If we pull together, we CAN make a world of difference!
A friend sent me this quote from a book, and I loved it so much, I just had to share it with you.
If I wanted to be free, truly free, I had to choose. There were many points on the compass rose; I had to locate the few that were meant for me. Not any destination picked at random or reached by happenstance would do. I had to head for those that summoned me with a passion, for they were the ones that gave meaning to my life. I had to ignore the warnings of friends, the cautious ones who would tell me why I couldn't do what I wanted to do - and why.,/i>
Richard Bode, First You Have to Row a Little Boat
Yesterday we held an invitation-only fundraiser event in Woodside, California, at the home of Carol Mone and Roger Choplin. Thanks to our generous hosts for a memorable afternoon - and thanks to all the guests for coming along.
Carol and Roger's son, Jacob, put together an impressive technological show - guests could click on any of my YouTube videos to watch them on the huge home theatre screen. We handed out brochures and pledge cards, and Bill Chayes (documentary producer) and I both stood to say a few words.
And we were entertained by Eric Beattie - neuroscientist and amateur musician with the Party Ants, with a song written specially for the occasion. It is rather special, so I thought I'd like to share it with you. See the bottom of this blog.
I'd like to create a "party pack", as I often receive offers from people wanting to host an event to raise funds for my mission and my message. It would include brochures, pledge cards, video DVDs and reusable grocery bags.
And if I was unable to be there in person, we would set up a video link via Skype or similar, so that I could speak live to the assembled group and take questions.
Event organizers would need to cover the up-front costs of the materials, but could then reclaim this from the proceeds of the event.
If you would be interested in hosting such an event, please write to me using the contact form on this website.
Now, for the song...
The Soul Of The Sea
Eric Beattie 10/19/2008
Red sun over waters shine,
was that a voice or just a trick of the mind?
or call from the soul of the sea?
"won't you please be good to me?"
White foam crashing on the sand
some hear the voice and they make stand
speaking out for the soul of the sea
calling out "won't you row along with me?"
Rising, come along with me
Rising, pull along with me,
Rising, row along with me
And together we're the soul of the sea!
Deep blue rolled big today
and the brave still work the waves
pulling strong for the soul of the sea
sing a song for the soul of the sea.