Monday, March 22, 2010

Voyagers: Past & Present

So on Thursday I finally finished A Voyage for Madmen which was a fantastic book. By the end, it really got me thinking about how a voyage like that could change a person.

Even though Robin Knox-Johnston was pronounced "distressingly normal" by the psychologist who examined him before and after the voyage, it seems like he is one of the few who kept their same basic frame of mind during the course of the race. I don't want to ruin it for you but its definitely worth the read.

Would a trek around the world really change who you are that much? I have to imagine that it would. You've just sailed around the world! Its something that very few people can say they have done and something I imagine many wish they could. Its testing yourself and a good dose of luck against the world and coming out on top. How could you be the same person?

Now, I've never met Sir Robin Knox-Johnston as Adam Turinas of Messing About in Sailboats has, but when I visited New Zealand on vacation with my family a decade ago, I was lucky enough to meet Sir Edmund Hillary of Mt. Everest fame. My brother had written a book report about him for his 4th grade class and had been obsessed since. Actually getting to meet and talk with him about his experience was purely amazing. I remember thinking at the time that talking with him was a lot like sitting down with my grandfather and listening to his war stories; full of excitement in a downplayed and humble kind of way. He was an extremely kind and calm man and we (my family) talked with him about everything from Mount Everest to Boy Scouts (encouraging my brother Allen & I to stick with it and explore the great outdoors) to life in general in New Zealand; well at least thats most of what I remember. We didn't want to take up too much of his time so we didn't stay too long but it was certainly a great experience and one that, now that I think about it, was probably pretty formative for me regarding my plans for a circumnavigation.

[I'm working on finding the pictures]

Two men pushing the boundaries of human achievement yet being able to return home. Sometimes I wonder if when I circumnavigate, if I be able to come home or if I'll only return just to shove off once more like the nautical Joshua Slocum.

Speaking of exploring and voyages, my girlfriend Danielle & I went off the beaten path this weekend and explored a nifty little town in northern Maryland; Chesapeake City.

View Larger Map

If you look closely at the map, you can see the shadow of the bridge on the water. The town is mostly known for the bridge since when the original bridge was constructed, it was to connect the town that was being split for the making of the C&D canal. Anyhow, the current bridge was built after a freighter crashed into the old one. At least that's what Wikipedia tells me. If you are interested, there is more complete information about the bridge and the C&D canal at the town's website and an extremely detailed overview available through the Army Corp of Engineer's website.

Anyhow...the town is very quaint and inviting. Danielle and I were able to enjoy a belated St. Patrick's Day Parade and accompanying bar crawl. We got to explore a bit beforehand and all the stores were really interesting and had some crazy things for sale; just off the wall stuff. 

It was a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday.

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