British-born Roz Savage thought she had the perfect life. She was 33 years of age, married, and a high earning job. She and her husband enjoyed expensive vacations.
She wore designer clothes, but underneath the facade, she felt a vacuum. Something was missing, and that something was adventure. She evaluated her life and projected two incomes that she viewed as an obituary. One obituary outlined a dissatisfied life that resulted in just letting everything remain as it was. The second, she was sure, would result in no regrets for a life where she took challenges. The year was 2000 and she realized that all her material possession were meaningless.
Roz packed a suitcase and left everything behind. This included her husband and her career. They later divorced.
In 2005 she set off to realize the dream she had been incubating and physically preparing for – to become the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean. She achieved this accomplishment by spending 103 days alone at sea, rowing an average of 12 hours a day to achieve her goal.
Roz went on to row her way across other oceans. She holds the Guinness World Records for ocean rowing, including the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The hours and miles of rowing are incredible numbers.
She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oak strokes, and spent more than 500 days at sea in a 23- foot rowboat. Such feats resulted in National Geographic in naming her Adventurer of the Year (2010).
If you think she wrote a book, then you are correct. It is called “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific.
When interviewed about what she had learned in these feats, Roz replied, “I found out that there is no challenge so big that you can’t achieve it is you just take it one oar- stroke at a time. It took me about 2.45 million oar strokes to cross the Pacific, and every one of those oar strokes counted. In other interviews, Savage speaks about stepping outside of comfort zones.
Many astronauts have been able to look down on the planet and gain a different perspective. This seems to have happened to Roz when she was looking across the vast expanse of ocean. In her book she explains her perspective on the environment.
“I rowed around the outskirts of the North Pacific ‘garbage patch’ and saw plastic pollution thousands of miles from land,” she says. “I was on the ocean when the Gulf Oil Spill happened half a world away, and as I looked over the side of the boat at the fish that usually hung out under my hull, I felt like apologizing to them for the horrible mess we’re making of their home.
“We’ve got to start taking better care of the Earth because on a finite world, what goes around comes around, and increasingly it’s not just the wildlife but ourselves that we’re poisoning.”
Well done, Roz.