Our welcome on arrival in Qingdao on 15 March was amazing. Loud and colourful with crowds out to cheer us into our home port. Land and some creature comforts were much appreciated. In our final days we had fog, the wind died again, followed by some very chilly conditions and a final blast of wind to get us across the finish line.
I felt the strength of the bonds we have within the team and am glad that I return again in Seattle to join them for Leg 7. Departing 20 April for Seattle with race departure on 29 April sailing south to the Panama Canal – before heading north for New York.
Whilst they do the tough stuff across the North Pacific I take a couple of weeks to tour China and catch up at home.
Writing this now when I am safely back in the UK, I have realised that although we sometimes say, ‘home is where the heart is’, for sure my heart is where my home is. Accessible any time any where. No beginning no end. And of course my spiritual home is at sea – perhaps the expansive nature of the oceans just gives my spirit the freedom to reconnect to itself.
From my travels in China I have many abiding memories, stories, impressions – too many to share here – for those that are curious please connect in the normal way. Suffice to say, as our young guide said ‘seeing believing’. I am lucky to have witnessed the extent to which the Chinese have been transforming and developing over the last 30 years. Their extraordinary evolution with its exponential rate of change has brought substantial alleviation of poetry, economic expansion, some freedom of speech, access to education and opportunities for hard work to be rewarded. They are enormously diverse and now celebrate their minorities and cultural and religious heritage. I remain curious about their development. What will the deep transformation which they plan next entail? Addressing pollution, poverty, corruption: can they and their leaders continue to develop and navigate in the complexity all that has been unleashed?
The Silk Road brought them Buddhism and as a people they are deeply superstitious with many values, rituals and practices profoundly engrained within their psyche.
One poets letter/symbols depicted: “Only kindness brings peace.” How beautifully this resonates.
I will carry this with me.
Please join me again towards the end of April.