Have you ever thought of crossing an ocean? Most probably, you have already done it, but thought little of it because for the most part, we cross oceans at 600 miles per hour, several tens of thousands of feet above the surface of the water (which sounds rather intimidating if you think about it like that). In this situation, we rarely get to see the ocean, let alone appreciate it – it is more of an inconvenience than anything else.
What if, instead of seeing oceans as obstacles to bypass, we saw them as challenges to enjoy? What if we stopped focusing on the end goal and took the time to enjoy the journey so that we could obtain satisfaction for having completed a journey? I read an article titled, How You Climb A Mountain Is More Important Than Reaching The Top, and I fully agree with the sentiment – oftentimes, the journey truly is worth more than the destination and going slow is a way to enjoy the journey.
How could you slow down an ocean crossing enough to make it enjoyable?
For many people, the thought of a luxury transatlantic cruise would be the most appealing option. For a week or two, you live aboard a floating hotel with fancy restaurants and swimming pools. I have never had such an experience, but it is something that many people are very fond of. As a kid, I used to take the ferry to France (and back) with my family almost every year and I found the experience fascinating – it was considerably shorter than a cross ocean cruise, but there we were on this great beast of a vessel, surrounded entirely by water.
Something that constantly intrigues me, is the notion of sailing an ocean. Using natural power and having the freedom of the ocean at your fingertips sounds like a joyful experience (although Torre DeRoche may beg to differ – read her book, Love With a Chance of Drowning, it’s wonderful). The wind, the rain, the nature… the quiet of nothing but the gentle waves and passing wind – that’s how I imagine it to be (plus seasickness, storms, and an endless void all around you). To start my sailing experiences, I am helping to build a sailing boat with a view to (maybe) crewing on it for part of its worldwide journeys. Being on such a tiny vessel in the middle of the ocean sounds exhilarating in both the best and worst ways. When a storm kicks up, it would be terrifying, but oh so beautiful to see nature at its rawest and most terrifying. At that point, I may change my mind about how beautiful it is.
This takes me to another idea, one step further – people row oceans. I am intrigued by stories of people who do this due to the iron will, dedication, and persistence that it must take to do such a thing. Stroke after stroke, you power on until several weeks / months later, you have crossed an ocean under your own power. Human powered journeys, both on and off land, fascinate me. Last year I had the pleasure of speaking with Roz Savage who has rowed three oceans all by herself, making her the first female to ever do so – both the conversation and reading her books were an interesting insight into her thoughts and the mindset of someone who takes on such an epic journey. People such as her inspire me to want to do more.
I am not suggesting that everyone should start sailing or rowing oceans, but next time you have a journey to take, how could you do it differently? Instead of taking a car, could you cycle or walk? Even if it it took you several days to do so, I am sure that you would remember it far more. I, for one, am slowing myself down in different ways in the hope of getting a new angle on life. It is not a better way to live, just a different one – one that I think will work for me. Do what works for you. And enjoy the ride. For it’s not where you go that matters, but how you get there… or should it be the other way around?
How do you like to cross oceans? How do you like to get to where you’re going? Does it even matter?