Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blending In

I walked our dog Moss this morning. I liked the way he blended into the landscape. That is, except for his garish hunting jacket. It made me think about my paddling style and how I like to quietly go exploring. I don't like lavish trips with loads of publicity, sponsors and media interviews. Let other people splash their hi-tec paddles and show off their fancy boats. I like the freedom and independence of doing things for myself.

A new sea kayak expedition is being planned for Newfoundland this coming summer. They will be well sponsored by various companies who will supply boats and other gear as is the way these days. I suppose that helps reduce costs and makes a big expedition affordable. It's a bit like the picture of Moss above. He only gets to have a walk during hunting season if he wears his jacket. Like Moss, if that's the only way one can get to go, alright, but it isn't what I think of as kayaking for pleasure. I enjoy the feeling that my paddling trips are all mine, planned and equiped and carried out by me and my partners, if any. No one needs to give me anything, I don't go begging for fancy equipment. When the trip is done and I'm back home, no one will be asking for any favours because I was given something and now they want some pay-back. My freedom to paddle is too precious to sign it away to anyone.

It means my trips are perhaps reduced in scope and not as well equiped, but the satisfaction of knowing I did it with my own two hands gives me great pleasure. I hate feeling beholden to others. When I walk up the beach and shake the hand of a local resident I know we are equals, both there because of our own efforts and not a bunch of freebies.


Douglas Wilcox said...

Michael, you have articulated the sense of achievement gained by doing things yourself very well indeed. My own philosophy is similar. For various reasons I have only done expeditions in Scotland; it's a nice place to paddle, it's close for a short break from work and it saves a lot of CO2 emissions getting there. Finally, some of the most challenging conditions I have ever been in have been just round the headland from my usual launch spot on the Solway, which is 90 minutes drive from the house.

Michael said...

Douglas, thanks for your commment. Nice to know I have kindred spirits out there. I suppose any endeavour requires its well sponsored heros. I'm perfectly happy to be be one of them!

derrick said...

Good point. In planning my first expedition I've certainly mulled this point. I've started with the goal that I can "sponsor" myself. So I don't "need" companies to get me where I'm going. But on the other hand there are companies I've always had good feelings about and if they want to have a sticker on my boat I'm cool with that too. Often the bit we miss is that sponsors often don't give too much especially the smaller ones. . the other part is many of the paddlers who have sponsors also know the company owners as friends. So sponsorships can be just people building each other up. Depends on the paddlers and the sponsors of course, but I don't think a blanket evaluation is quite right.

Interestingly those who depend on sponsors often never actually make their trip. Their heads just not in the right place. IMO. :)

clairesgarden said...

if any coffee shops round the firth of clyde would like to sponsor me I'd be delighted. free coffee, but would that include cake too?
love how Moss is blending into the snow, just thinking when your daoughter was out on Maggie she had her orange jacket on, I used to ride on the roads with yellow reflective bandages on the horses tail and legs too. be safe be seen!!

Anonymous said...

You could only dream to be sponsored! It is an honor to be sponsored! And regardless of what your negative mind thinks, it is NOT giving away your freedom. You are only jealous!

Any paddling journeys I make are accomplished with my two hands too, regardless of whether I'm sponsored or not. You are so narrow minded.