Thursday, February 1, 2007

We, the Privileged Few

Every now and then I click on my little Cluster Map on the right hand column to see where my blog visitors live. Not too surprisingly North America and Europe show the most visitors, followed by Australia. There is a scattering of other places with dots, but sadly they are few and far between.

I say "sadly", because it makes one aware that not everyone in the world has the same access to kayaking. We live in a world of kayakers and non-kayakers, split between those with the leisure time and the money to be able to kayak and those for whom kayaking is only a distant dream, one they are probably unlikely to reach.

It is one of the reasons I have mixed feelings about paddling in certain places where I may be seen as flaunting my status. I also have mixed feelings about the business of sponsorships, especially those which include boats, travel expenses and other expensive items. While I realise that manufacturers need to get their equipment out there to be tested by well known paddlers and be seen in exotic locations in order to market them, it bothers me. It's a lingering, uneasy feeling, not a down-right disgust. I'm just happy to blend into the background when I paddle. No big fanfare for me, thanks.

That's one of the reasons I am happy to go paddling knowing I paid my own way. In a sense knowing that I spent years working and saving for the right to paddle makes me feel better about heading out when I know that many cannot. When I look at the Cluster Map and know most people in the world don't have that same privilege, I paddle a bit more quietly, soaking up the experience I am very lucky to be able to have. Meanwhile I work quietly to see if I can't help a few more dots light up on the map, but that's been very difficult to achieve to date and it frustrates me a lot.

Note: Did you turn off your electricity this evening for 5 minutes? We did! Let's hope everyone did.


suburude said...

I agree very strongly!

Silbs said...

What you said. In the end, being out in a kayak, especially alone, is all about self reliance and judicious risk taking in order to experience the simple act of being out there. By the way, that is a spectacular photo.