Expeditions are normally crammed with new experiences. New places, people, sights and sounds. Your mind fills with precious new memories.
But this row is different. Its power comes more from all that is absent. (In that sense it feels more like a spell in a mediaeval monastery than an adventure – sleep deprivation, rigid routine, rubbish food). Most of our talk and daydreams out here are about what we do not have, rather than what we are experiencing now. Friends and family, long nights’ sleep, pretty girls and fresh food…
I do not yet know how this trip will affect me in the long term. My guess is that the short term struggle of these two months will fade and what will remain is a sense of how ridiculously small and unimportant we are out on this massive, massive ocean. That, plus a better perspective on what really does and does not matter to me out there in the real world. And I hope that the drastic absence of so much out here makes me always as grateful and appreciative as I was this morning:
..to celebrate dipping below 2000 miles to Barbados, Marin emerged from the hatch with four thin slices of salami (our one bit of nice food: thank you SO MUCH David Bardic) and a surprise of a mini BabyBel cheese, sliced carefully into quarters. I took my portion with delighted thanks. I stopped rowing to savour this treat. I lay back in my seat and sniffed the meat and cheese. And when I ate it I almost burst into tears. This probably says more about the state I am in than about the marvels of processed cheese, but I hope I can retain the appreciation and gratitude for nice things when I am back in the real world.