Final blog of Aldo Kane. Team Essence.
I’m writing this as we row into our final week at sea. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions; fear, boredom, excitement, extreme fatigue and above all an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie and achievement. When we look at the Inmarsat tracker we are literally blown away with what we have achieved and what we have come through both physically and mentally. I’m not clever enough to write some profound life changing phylisophical statement but I will try and get across some of the main observations and ramblings of a man who’s been at sea too long.
Firstly, let me say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout our Atlantic Campaign. Whichever way you have supported us from sponsorship to tweets, we want you to know that we genuinely could not have done it without you. We have been truly blown away by the level of support we have gained. Special thanks to Inmarsat who have been without a doubt a key safety service and major supporter in our record attempt. Out here its really easy to feel like we are on our own and isolated, especially as we engage beast mode in the last week, weakened by fatigue and general life at sea. It’s at these times that we realise we may be a tiny boat in a huge ocean but we have the support of the world driving us over, for that we are truly grateful. We would love to thank our support team back in the the UK who have made all of this possible, huge thanks to the one they call Silver Fox, he’s been our shining light when times were tough. Daily he has kept us in tune with mother nature and advised us how to dance with her. Also massive thanks to the “support Boat” back in the UK who have rowed almost half our distance already! You are all truly amazing and all of you belong to this new world record we are setting. Every single one of you are helping us help the NSPCC to make childrens lives a lot better, that deserves big love.
Out here I am reminded more than ever about the power of our own brain and how we can effectively use it to literally dream our own reality. Here we are rowing into the record books, stroke by stroke, through chaos and high water, this is our reality but 2 years ago this was just an idea. Rowing the Atlantic was first of all a dream, then an idea then reality. We literally become, have, see and do what we think about. I feel this is so important that if you read nothing further in this blog this should be the main point: WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT. Our reality is 100% shaped by the conscious and unconscious thoughts we feed to our brain. Decisions we make or don’t make have lead us to exactly this point in time, 100% responsibility lies with us.
T.E Lawrence perhaps said it more eloquently than i: All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
Dreams and ideas are the building blocks of your life, they are the seeds of change and without doubt as Lawrence mentions above, those who dream with their eyes wide open nearly always tend to achieve their goals and dreams. The problem that I can see from my tiny smelly cabin out here in the Atlantic is that when we have an idea or dream, we often don’t give it the time of day! Since we became adults we have almost deprived ourselves of the dreams we once had as a child. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and i’m sure they won’t leave you feeling bored. Ideas and dreams need wings and there is no better time to give it wings than when it’s hot in your head! Who cares what other people say, you owe it to yourself to give every idea and dream it’s best chance of becoming reality. Our idea to row into the record books was born in a drunken night as most great ideas are. We had no idea how to progress but at this stage of the process it’s immaterial. The fact is we had the idea and set the wheels in motion without care or doubt that we wouldn’t achieve it.
Once you’ve had the idea or dream you are half way there, that’s the good news! Just by turning it over to your unconscious brain you’ll find things start to happen and the idea/dream starts to take shape.The key is to start now, procrastination is the ultimate dream stealer. It appears to me that our brains have an amazing feature in fact, it could be said that our brains have the most powerful success mechanism known to man.It literally almost always achieves what it wants to achieve. The huge problem for us humans is that it does not care what information you feed it, positive or negative, it’s is a success mechanism and will achieve whatever you tell it to. We must always be aware of our conscious and unconscious conversations with ourselves because the brain will act on it regardless. It could be likened to a piece of soil, perfectly fertile and expectant. If we deliberately plant orchid seeds and nurture the soil we will be rewarded with a garden of beautiful flowers. If we plant no seeds and don’t tend to the soil, it will grow weeds, just as beautifully as the seeds we planted. The soil is a success mechanism and works to the best of its ability with positive or negative results. Our brain is the same with ideas and information, plant the right seeds and use the brains most powerful asset to cultivate and design your dreams.
Through all of this process one should be aware of the dream stealers and nae sayers. These people aren’t your enemies usually, far from it, more often than not they are people that we know. Of course they don’t want to openly stop you being successful but in their case, they may want to stop you getting hurt or dissapointed. Never give up on your dreams and goals and remember that sometimes the most expensive advice is the free advice often given by dream stealers and nae sayers. Have courage in your convictions once you have given your ideas wings, stay the course and see how you are rewarded long after others have quit on their dreams. We came across it a fair bit with our challenge where people thought we shouldn’t be doing it for various reasons, in fact the reason we chose this route was after being told we couldn’t do a more conventional route/race because of the number of rowers we had. If the rules don’t allow for your dreams to become reality, write some new ones that do.
It has been a tough challenge living and breathing with 5 other men in a tiny little boat for well over 7 weeks, however it’s an experience. It’s not a thing. Experiences and material things rarely last forever, that’s a fact but what I have noticed is that the time, energy and money spent on material things is rarely if ever fully worth its value. The material thing most coveted once owned, holds very little value and it’s on to the next thing. Not so with experiences, I have yet to spend time, energy and money on an experience which has not then become over the years a valuable part of my DNA, the very building blocks of who I am. With every experience I have, good or bad, it adds to the complex weave which is my life, adding always multitudes of value in an expenential way. This world record row is no different. I will take so many things from it which at this point I have no idea how they will help me in the future, but I know for sure, at some point they will be called upon. Take experiences always over things, build a new you through engineering your very own building blocks.
My last rambling point has been forced upon me over the last 7 weeks and I will try and take it with me into normal every day life when I leave the boat. I was thinking about Marlow my dog one afternoon when I was rowing and I was thinking about how much I missed him. I was wandering where he was at that exact moment and if he was missing me too? Of course it was the end of a long arduous shift and I knew the reality. He was with Brian, another Scottish Black Labrador at the farm with10 other bonkers dogs! He wasn’t missing me because he was eating bones and mooching about with Brian. Right now Marlow was exceptionally happy, he wasn’t thinking about me (sadly) he wasn’t worrying about his past life and he certainly wasn’t thinking about what he was going to do tomorrow. He was basically just very happy Right now. It made me think whilst toiling with the oars that day that I should be more like Marlow, happy with right now. Here I am mid Atlantic rowing to an amazing place with some cool people. Life is extremely simple out here and sometimes can be difficult, but as I pulled away towards the West with the evening sun on my back, I resigned myself to the fact that I was actually happy out here. Toil or not, I am here 100% because I want to be and I am 100%happy with that. There is no other way to row an Ocean, there is no past and there is no future, just now. Life at best is short and like Marlow, I plan to enjoy the right now for what it is, one day soon this toil will be just a memory.
To finish my long nonsensical ramblings, I’d like to thank my shipmates with a full heart. It’s been genuinely epic in every sense of the word. From the early days of full capsize and rolling terror to sun downers rum lashings Mid Atlantic, we have have seen it all. There’s no point in seeing the full spectrum of delights the ocean has to throw at us on our own, these are best shared with shipmates, together in Adversity. Ross Johnson, Matt Bennet, Jason Fox & Oliver Bailey, the Rogues of Ocean rowing.
“We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” Tennyson.