Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Today I turn 41 years young. It has taken me many years to forgive my parents for giving me a birthday so close to Christmas (really - what WERE they thinking back in March 1967? No - don't answer that one - this IS my parents we're talking about... ) - but now I'm quite reconciled to it, especially now that, thanks to the power of the internet, it no longer matters that there is nobody around to celebrate my birthday with me because they've all gone home to their parents for Christmas. In the e-world that I largely inhabit, we can party online. A huge thank you to everybody who has written to wish me a happy birthday - thanks to you, it has been!

I've had birthday e-cards, birthday wishes on my Facebook Wall (41 at the last count - one for every year of my life - and rising...), birthday Tweets, and some wonderful gifts too. Such as:

- Marcus Eriksen of the JUNK, made a gift of the $500 manual watermaker they loaned me several hundred miles east of Hawaii after I ran out of water

- my good friend and social media guru Ellen Leanse sponsored some Kiva micro-loans in my name - as a birthday gift that keeps on giving. She wrote, "I've used Kiva.org to help find two start-up businesses in the Pacific Islands and fund them with micro-loans. Both of the businesses are farms; I tried to find businesses as low on the production chain as possible in keeping with your vision for the environment."

- Podcast Sister Anna Farmery sending me some fantastic quotes about growing older, errr, more mature - which I'd like to share with you here...

The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet.
- Robert Orben

Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.
- Maurice Chevalier

I'm at an age when my back goes out more than I do.
- Phyllis Diller

You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime.
- John P. Grier

If I'd known I was going to live this long (100 years),
I'd have taken better care of myself.
- Ubie Blake

Age is a high price to pay for maturity.
- Tom Stoppard

And finally, for a big smile, major wanderlust, and some rather dodgy dancing, please check out this seriously feel-good video.

Well, folks, it's goodbye from the birthday girl. I'm off on a Gaia retreat for the next 6 days, and laptops and mobile phones are strongly discouraged. How will I survive?! There may have to be the occasional Tweet sneaking its way out under the barricades....

But just in case - HAPPY HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS/WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY! And I'll be back on Dec 30th. Hasta luego....
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Power of Positive Words: Walking for Pleasure

I was walking back from the gym today on the lane that meanders across the Cookridge golf course, my hands shoved in my pockets and my shoulders hunched against the cold wind, when a car pulled up alongside me and the window rolled down. "Are you walking for pleasure, or would you like a ride?" the driver asked.

"Err, thank you," I said, "but I'm walking for pleasure." The window went up and the car drove on, leaving me pondering on this.

Up until that point I had just been walking home. Now I was walking "for pleasure". It made all the difference. Immediately I felt warmer, and stopped hunching. My shoulders went back and I stepped out with renewed enjoyment of the exercise, my mundane little walk transformed.

It reminded me to be careful in the labels that I apply to things. When you attach the right words to an action, it can seem wonderful. Attach the wrong words and it becomes a drudge. I wonder if I can manage to think of enough good words to keep me going through another 100 days of rowing next year...

If you'd like to start supplying me with positive, life-enhancing words by posting a comment to this blog, I would be most grateful. Let's see if we can come up with enough good words to get me from Hawaii to Samoa!

[photo: a shorter-than-usual row, in a smaller-than-usual boat, courtesy of Leeds Rowing Club, Roundhay Park]

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tom Hernon: Whirlwind in a Wheelchair

A few days ago I was in a state of mild despair. I was receiving reports back from the electrician in Hawaii about the state of my boat's wiring - and the news was all bad. Chartplotter antenna - "corroded". VHF radio - "damaged beyond repair". Radio and amp - "I would change them out". And so on... "a nightmare"... "a complete mess"... "really rough shape". He ended with the rather puzzling question: "Did any of this equipment get exposed to lots of salt water???" Errr, well, yes. That's what tends to happen when you roll your boat in 20-foot waves. Repeatedly.

Just when I most needed it, I received this email:

Hi Roz I contacted you just before stage 1 of your trip offering to fab anything you need in my machine shop, I am also a engineer and can help you solve any mech problems you might have...all I ask is a link to my web site www.back2sports.net.

thanks and good luck Tom

My knight in shining armour had arrived. Enter Tom Hernon, the latest recruit to Team Savage. I checked out his bio and read that at the age of 34 a dirt bike accident had left him paralysed from the waist down, but that he had gone on to compete at a high level on the mono ski and luge - hitting a top speed of 79mph on the luge (imagine it!).

And luckily for me, Tom is now bringing his incredible energy and problem-solving abilities to bear on the beleaguered Brocade.

Since that first email 4 days ago, he has visited his local university in Michigan to pick the brains of the professors of engineering and metallurgy, teamed up with a local rowing club to "find out what is fashionable", produced sketches and designs, and peppered me with questions to get himself up to speed on the unique challenges facing equipment on board an ocean rowboat. As my friend Steve Roberts once quipped, "Water corrodes, and saltwater corrodes absolutely".

My "job" occasionally seems tough and lonely, but it always seems that just when obstacles appear insurmountable, life gives me a break, the obstacles disappear, and my faith is restored. You might call it luck, or you might call it the law of attraction, or you might say that I worked blimmin' hard to throw myself in the way of good fortune - but whatever you call it, it makes me glad to be alive. It is the biggest perk of my job - to have special people like Tom wanting to share in the adventure.

Speaking of which... thank you to the hordes of people who are sharing in my adventure by signing up to receive this blog by email through Feedblitz. It's brilliant to know that you still care, even though I am deep in the off-season at the moment. Believe me, there is much in gestation, ready to burst into life next year - not only the new website, but the Atlantic book (now titled, finally, LIMITLESS HORIZON: My Unlikely Adventure From Office To Ocean), the accompanying short film, new merchandise, an iPhone application, an iGoogle Gadget, and a very important and exciting new challenge that I'll be inviting you to join - I can guarantee you there won't be a dull moment!

[Photo: Tom Hernon on his luge. He appears to have his eyes closed, but so would I if I was going at 79mph with my head 6 inches from the ground!]
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Launch Party


Over the past three years I've got quite used to launching boats, but it's been a long time since I launched a new blog. I've been sharing my life and adventures since 2003 over at RozSavage.com, but when it comes to Blogger I'm a newbie.

So, to my old readers, welcome to my new blog.

And to my new readers, welcome to my world.

And what an interesting world it is - not many people row across oceans for a living, and even when on dry land my existence as an off-season ocean rower is different from most. I'm rarely in one place for long, and I get to meet the most interesting and inspirational people - both on and offline. Life is rarely predictable, and certainly never boring.

I feel it would be selfish of me to live a life that I love without sharing it around a bit - hence my compulsion to blog, podcast, photo, video and Twitter, from sea and land. I hope you'll come along with me - to share the adventure and enjoy the ride!
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