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Water Wisdom

I’ve been prepping for an upcoming talk at the Rainier Club in Seattle. Answering the specific question of ‘WHY paddle alone through the Arctic?’ Pondering that question has jogged a lot of ‘personal stuff’ loose from the depths. It’s all part of the work I guess.

The learning never ends. I’ve spent most of my life pursuing deep experiences that leave me changed…and better than before. This project has done that since the moment I sank my teeth into it. I came back from the Arctic this time…feeling less tolerant of BS than ever. For those of you who know me, you understand that I have never been very tolerant of BS to begin with. The smell of entitlement and the ‘everybody gets a gold star’ culture we have built feels so…FALSE, it turns my stomach. Sometimes you get your ass kicked. No gold star.

I yearn for the purity that traveling alone in places like the Arctic demands. It only asks for the most brutal form of honesty you can imagine. There is zero room for playing kick the can. Whatever bubbles up…must be handled openly. There are rules.

My life on water, and outdoors in general, has taught me a lot of things. Here’s a few tidbits I’ve been pondering lately in prep for this talk.

  • always pull your own weight…PLUS a little more than that. Drafting off the effort of others is not acceptable at all.

  • avoid a busy lineup in the surf. Go find your own wave. Running with a crowd will only limit you.

  • don’t paddle too hard to catch a wave. If it’s meant for you, it will be easy to catch.

  • when it’s tough…and you’re not sure you belong here…it will get better. It always does. Keep working at it.

  • if you paddle and miss a wave…it’s all good…more will come…it sure is pretty out here…

  • it is always better to be alone, than to lower your standards. Keep working hard to get better, stronger. Nobody else can do the work for you…so get after it. (see about drafting above).

  • naysayers are about as meaningful as a pebble on the beach, when you’re out in the surf and looking for the next big green one…

In four months or so…headed back north. Can’t wait.

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