Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific

By Kayla H.

Roz Savage rows across oceans. Four years ago, she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, and since then she's done two out of three stages of rowing across the Pacific Ocean - from San Fransisco to Hawaii, and from Hawaii to Kiribati and soon, from Kiribati to Australia. After she has accomplished this, she will have officially rowed over 8,000 miles, taken over 3 million oar strokes and spent more than 312 days alone on the ocean, on a 23 ft. rowboat. It's quite the accomplishment, but why did she decide to do this? In this talk, Roz Savage explains just that.

"For 11 years, I conformed. I did what people from my kind of background were supposed to do. I was working in an office in London as a management consultant. And I think I knew from day one that it wasn't the right job for me. But that kind of conditioning just kept me there for so many years, until I reached my mid-thirties and I thought, 'You know, I'm not getting any younger. I feel like I've got a purpose in this life, and I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty certain that management consultancy is not it'". It's clear that Roz Savage was certain that she did not want to continue with the way her life was, but how did she put it into perspective that she wanted to row across oceans, starting with the Atlantic? She explains this by stating that "I sat down one day and wrote two versions of my own obituary, the one that I wanted, a life of adventure, and the one that I was actually heading for which was a nice, normal, pleasant life, but it wasn't where I wanted to be by the end of my life. I wanted to live a life that I could be proud of. And I remember looking at these two versions of my obituary and thinking, "Oh boy, I'm on totally the wrong track here. If I carry on living as I am now, I'm just not going to end up where I want to be in five years, or 10 years, or at the end of my life." And with this statement, and with logical thinking, Roz Savage decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Roz Savage continues to explain how she crossed the Atlantic Ocean, notifying everyone that it definitely was not easy. The route she mentioned she took was from Canaries to Antigua, which is about 3,000 miles. She explains it was hard because she had to get out of her comfort zone, which is indeed a hard task to accomplish. Not only did she just have to struggle with her comfort zone, it was 2005 - the year of hurricane Katrina. Roz explains that there were more tropical storms then ever before, and that her oars had snapped numerous times, each time having to find a piece of material to help keep them together for as long as she could while rowing. After suffering from tendinitis on her shoulders, and salt water sores on her bottom, Roz Savage finally made it across the Atlantic Ocean, and after such an accomplishment, she was feeling pretty good. People cheering her, she mentions it made her feel like a movie star, and that it was worth all of the work. But Roz had to think..how do you top rowing across the Atlantic Ocean? Well, the answer is simple, just row across the Pacific.

It sounds simple enough, but there is one slight complication that Roz advised to the audience. On the world map, the Pacific Ocean is on the left and right sides. Now if you look on Google Earth, it gives you a better perspective. Turns out the Pacific Ocean covers about half of the Earth, 65 million miles to be precise. So it's definitely more of a challenge, as Roz mentioned while showing the audience on Google Earth. Because it is quite impossible to row straight across the Pacific, Roz mentions that she split her journey into three pieces, until she will eventually make it to Australia. She mentions that she's already finished two of the three stages across the Pacific, and that she did have some difficulties, but she has still been successful. So, after all of this talk about herself and how difficult it is to row across these oceans, etc...why exactly is she rowing across the ocean?

Roz Savage explains to the audience that naturally, she's doing it for the environment. "If I'm successful, I'll be the first woman ever to row solo all the way across the Pacific. And I try and use this to bring awareness to these environmental issues, to bring a human face to the ocean". "If the Atlantic was about my inner journey, discovering my own capabilities, maybe the Pacific has been about my outer journey, figuring out how I can use my interesting career choice to be of service to the world, and to take some of those things that I've learned out there and apply them to the situation that human kind now finds itself in". This line is shown through Roz Savages' idea to bring human face to the ocean, and how she is to launch a new initiative called "Eco-Heroes" where the idea here is that all Eco-Heroes will log at least one green deed every day. It's meant to be a bit of a game. There's going to be an iPhone app out of it. Roz says that "We just want to try and create that awareness because, sure, changing a light bulb isn't going to change the world, but that attitude, that awareness that leads you to change the light bulb or take your reusable coffee mug, that is what could change the world".

All in all, I found this presentation considerably encouraging. It makes you realize how someone can stand up and make a realization...that you are capable of doing something beyond what you are use to doing...it truly is inspirational. This is shown by Roz very well. She gives an understanding of peoples average lives, and when she shows how you can step outside of your box and make a difference, you really begin to understand what she's trying to say. Although, my only suggestion that I have is for about 3/4 of her presentation she talked mainly about herself, while the title of the video is why I'm crossing the Pacific Ocean, and giving reason to this statement. She did not talk very much about why she was doing it (which was for the environment) but more about herself, and how much of a struggle it was to realize she should step out of her comfort zone, and do something worthwhile. It is still an important message, but I felt that she could still talk more about why she was doing it, but overall still a well done performance.

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