Weather permitting I’ll be leaving next Wednesday. I’m going to sail about three and a half thousand miles, across the South Atlantic, from Cape Town to a tiny group of islands called the Falklands off the coast of Argentina. I like to think that the reason I am doing this is obvious and for most of my friends the reason seems obvious too.
Though, every now and then I get asked “Why?”. As if it would be simpler to just fly there. Which is true. It takes 44 hours to fly from Cape Town to Stanley on the east Falklands. 44 hours and 5 separate flights. Sailing there takes 25 days and you sail through some of the roughest seas on the planet. The Falklands are about as close as you can get to Antarctica without actually being on Antarctica.
Is it dangerous? Of course. There are more dangerous things one could do, but when you’re 2000 miles away from the nearest hospital and in a very unpredictable environment, anything can happen.
Will I miss home? Of course! I’ll miss my wife, my cats, my comfortable bed, being able to take a warm shower whenever I want, deciding what I want to eat, being able to be alone, going out to get a coffee etc etc. I’ll be stuck on a 75 foot yacht with 7 people I barely know.
So why am I doing it? I don’t really have an answer. I have answers. But the sum of all those answers is not the answer.
I want to stretch my mind. I want to sail away, leave land behind, wake up in the morning and have to check a map to know where I am. I want to be surrounded by nothing but sea.
I want to learn to be a better sailor. We live in a world full of experts who know nothing. Rockstars who learnt everything they know in the previous 3 weeks. We’re all bullshit and truth bending. Teach yourself brain surgery in 24 hours. When your life is in your own hands you’re forced to be honest about your abilities.
I want to push myself and see where the cracks appear. I want to be bored and be forced to write. I want to spend an idyllic evening on deck eating freshly caught fish. I want time to think. I want to be scared. I want to ride out a storm and watch the sun rise on a perfect morning. I want to see land and long to touch it. I want to have a story to tell and to write those stories that are banging around in my head. I want to miss my wife, my friends, my family and my country.
I want to fly home and know why I sailed away in the first place, but I’m sure I won’t, and that is why I am doing it.
You can, satellite gods willing, follow my adventures here http://arbitrarysailor.tumblr.com/.
3 thoughts on “Why we do what we do.”
Jonathan, I just want to wish you all the best and to be honest wish I was standing in your shoes. You are so right in that we should stretch ourselves from time to time and see where out boundaries are. We tend to accept things so easily.
Hope you will be able to blog about your experience … will definitely follow.
Have a fantastic time. As someone who has recently spent 7 days on a train (without a shower) crossing thru parts of Russia, Mongolia & China, I know that the fun can be just as much in the journey as the destination.
I just came across your side while researching my next phone upgrade online. Glad you put your HTC experience up – something to consider.
The purpose of this comment is just to say: keep it up! You sound like a cool guy. I like your style. I think you’re a little like me.
Enjoy the sailing trip!