Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Paddle dragging news...
So... I'm not anywhere on the list! Now what? The link to the list is on Justine's site and is all about keeping track of expeditions indicating who went where, when, first and how. Looking through her listings, circumnavigating Antarctica is nearly the only challenge left for us hardcore paddlers. Are we at an impasse, now forced to think up new ways to paddle old routes? Will we be seeing 'Oldest Guy Around Cuba' or first to paddle around 'Borneo Backwards' on the list soon?
What's it really all about anyways, this business of long distance paddling? Why do people go?
Some will say, 'Because it's there'. For many people that's the challenge. After paddling around Manitoulin Island when I was 60, I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to have my story published. I wanted to be on a list someplace so everyone would stare at my name in awe. Then, I discovered another paddler, who having done the same trip, simply looked ahead to his next expedition. He felt very differently about his accomplishment. It was not a glory trip, but a thing of quiet inner joy for him. That realization hit me then and stays with me now.
It's actually why I had paddled around Manitoulin Island in the first place. It wasn't for glory. It was so that I could feel something inside. Not getting published and not presenting a slideshow at a major Outdoor Show has not changed the joy I still feel about what I was able to do as a 60 year old. Perhaps that's what going on long paddling expeditions is really all about for me. It's about making connections in my life between the things I dream about and the things I can do. It's about connecting the dots, living the mystery, nurturing my insides. It isn't the publicity or the job offers, although those don't hurt if they come. It's just not why I leave the shore in the first place.
So I won't be doing something crazy just to get my name on Justine's expedition list. It isn't my goal at all. Paddling my dream is much more important. I'll focus on that, the rest will come. Perhap's even a slot on Justine's list!