After being at sea for 7 days New York is now only some 650 miles away and the end of my race is drawing closer. Some of the round the worlders are counting down the days until their journey finishes in Liverpool at the end of July. I sense they are weary and are very much on the way home, whilst those like me that are only doing one or two legs are appreciating just what an incredible journey this is – realising we have only a few more days to go.
Our initial days upwind at a silly angle were as uncomfortable as ever, not helped by poor ventilation down below and a level of humidity that was and still remains quite horrible. One of our crew has renamed our galley, the rainforest cafe, as our bodies do what they can to cool us down. Last night when it was quiet I felt a sense of guilty pleasure when I found the time and a small amount of fresh water to wash. At breakfast today, now we are downwind sailing, we were able to joke about how dehumanising conditions are down below.
In amongst all of the obvious discomfort, we are sailing in glorious sunshine, with blue skies and seas, and it is impossible not to appreciate small things every day. From glorious, infinitely varied sunrises and sunsets that never cease to delight, with one particularly exquisite sunrise from behind a small island between Haiti and Jamaica which brought tears of joy to my eyes and will stay etched on my retina and the scripts of my memory. Night skies are equally remarkable. How often in our daily life do we fail to notice the treasures around us everyday, that are absolutely accessible, if we only pause, open our eyes, minds and hearts?
There have been moments when I have felt unwell as my body struggles to adjust to the food, the heat and humidity and I have acknowledged my immediate vulnerability. Others have helped and through their simple gestures of care, kindness and support I have quickly recovered to enjoy the next day. I know that every day is a new day and I am blessed that these moments pass. What I won’t forget is that we are all vulnerable in different ways at different times and little, subtle things make such a huge difference – and I am profoundly grateful for these reminders and to those for whom simple kindness and compassion comes easily.
As a team we had some dysfunctional moments, mostly petty bickering, some of which relates to old issues that resurface, that have not been addressed or resolved and it is too easy to adopt a default and somewhat childish behavioural pattern. Humour and some distraction provide a different perspective and after some much needed sleep or rest in our different ways we resurface to continue on this epic journey – each with varying levels of interest, motivation and orientation to our individual needs and those of our team, and equally different abilities to see each other’s perspectives, how they interrelate and then act on this awareness.
These are just some of the less obvious challenges we face every day. I remain open and curious as to how these perspectives and challenges evolve.