As I sit here between watches, wedged between my Lee cloth and wall of my bunk, bracing against the sea's force, I find myself reflecting on the profound lessons that my time at sea has taught me. This is my 6th sail across the Atlantic Ocean, this time sailing from the shores of Greenland to Gibraltar.
This journey could serve well as a poignant metaphor for the broader journey of life—a journey that has led me to establish RVIVAL, a venture born from a desire to share the profound wisdom and skills gained from my untamed adventures immersed amongst the elements, the diminishing existence of humanities outdoor practicalities, the need to reconnect to our natural world and a heartfelt plea for change.
The past week has been an intricate dance of strategy and vigilance, as we, the crew, meticulously charter our course around a looming pressure system which is forecast to form a rather large hurricane. This unwelcome meteorological guest has forced us off our intended path, veering us toward Newfoundland instead of our destination, Gibraltar. It's a stark reminder that life often insists we take detours, even in the wrong direction, before we can reach the right one.
Sailing, I've discovered over the seven years I’ve spent at sea, is a profound teacher. It's an arena where the wild, the uncomfortable, the less predictable and often frustrating moments converge to mold us into resilient beings—mentally and physically. It's an apprenticeship that equips us with the unwavering determination to endure life's tempests, knowing that on the other side lies the sweet reward of growth. Just as a formidable storm can menace with a maritime journey, life itself hurls its share of challenges, and we must learn to navigate the towering waves and placid waters alike.
What makes sailing a masterpiece of life lessons is its symbiotic relationship with the elements. It's a humbling reminder that we must harmonize with nature's cadence, recognizing that life is not a sprint but a pursuit of equilibrium—a sustainable rhythm for the vessel, our minds, and our bodies. Resisting this natural order is akin to battling forces far mightier than ourselves. It's only when we embrace the reality that we are but specks in the vast expanse of the ocean, with over 4,000 miles of water beneath us, that we begin to surrender to the environment and embrace the elements. But, make no mistake; shedding the frenetic pace of modern life takes time. It can take me a few days to start to decelerate from the speed of our bustling world. Yet, once we attune ourselves to our surroundings, something extraordinary occurs—we become one with nature's rhythm, we read the skies, surf the waves, harness the winds, and gradually, we morph into an integral part of the seascape.
This communion with the natural world extends beyond sailing. I recall traversing the Scottish Highlands with a trusty pack pony as my companion. The pony dictated our pace, urging me to slow down, to perceive the landscape through her eyes, to notice the finer details, the shapes, the sounds, the smells, and the colours. It was a transformation into becoming part of the tapestry of nature. Similarly, my Arctic expeditions, pulling pulks across frozen expanses in -30°C temperatures, required establishing an enduring rhythm. It was a deliberate, mindful pace, one that preserved energy and avoided the insidious formation of sweat—a pace that propelled me, step by step, deeper into the vast, icy wilderness. It was an exercise in respect, acknowledging that I was a guest in polar bear territory, traversing their realm. And when, at long last, we reached the journey's end, I marveled at how swiftly time had slipped through my fingers.
My life has been an immersion in these wild and wondrous landscapes, each experience bearing a powerful message—slow down. In our modern world, we're perpetually in a hurry, disconnected from our surroundings, and forfeiting the invaluable skills and insights that nature once nurtured in us. We're drifting away from the very landscapes that sculpted our existence, a detachment that I find deeply disheartening. It is this disquieting realization that spurred me to establish RVIVAL—a call to action, a plea for change.
RVIVAL, to me, is more than a company; it's a living embodiment of a lifestyle—a sustainable one that beckons us to rediscover our primal connection with the natural world. It's about slowing down to natures rhythms, and in doing so learning to read the land, to harvest food sustainably and locally, to support the right initiatives and communities. It's an invitation to rekindle our relationship with our surroundings during wild adventures, gaining essential tools and skills from our team of specialists and those who steward the wilder places that still remain. It's about spending time discovering essential skills, listening to the stories, learning about the challenges being faced, and understanding how we can contribute to solutions. Importantly, RVIVAL is also a testament to the healing power of nature, an elixir for our mental and physical well-being.
In a world perpetually racing toward progress, RVIVAL offers an alternative path—a sustainable lifestyle where nature becomes our teacher, and empowerment arises from our deep-rooted connection to the wider landscape. It is a journey that resets life’s pace, transcends materialism, it’s one that reshapes our mindsets and leads us to a more sustainable, harmonious existence. In a time when we are perilously close to severing the ties that bind us to the very landscapes that gave us life, RVIVAL's mission is a clarion call to slow down, reconnect, to respect, and to rekindle the wild spirit within us all. It is a plea to safeguard our planet, for it is not just our home; it is our greatest teacher, our wellspring of strength, and our ultimate salvation.