Date

Day Eight – Breathing. Just breathing.

I’ve heard people say little happens in a day, not much in a week but what can happen in a year is remarkable. While at most times I’d agree, I think it also depends on the day. On the surface, not much happened today, but at an inner level, I can feel seismic shifts underway. My mind is slowing. I take great pride in doing nothing for hours and allowing the world to slowly unfold around me. The ocean is now far calmer and the impact this is having on my soul is profound. I’m open to the change and letting it chart its own course, trusting in the universe and the inner wisdom of the subconscious and my body as a whole that it knows what it needs far better than my conscious self may assume.

I’m hearing rumours about the chaos and mess that’s unfolding in the world, both in Hong Kong and the broader issues between China and the US and it only reinforces why I fastidiously curated a protective bubble for this trip. I only gave my satphone number and email address to a select few so I could develop deeper connections via letter writing and one on one communications, while having no communication from work, social media or news of any kind. I wanted to open my inbox in the same way I used to skip to the letter box as a boy. A sense of excitement and anticipation in each step, wondering if there would be a letter for me and if so, who it would be from and what exciting adventures I could get lost in. The joy of opening the envelope, savouring every word and rereading it later. It made you feel special. At least it did to me. Letter writing is an artform that’s dying. We have too many people who want something from us, so we spread ourselves too thinly and write to those who shout the loudest, who are work related and who we think are important. All the while forgetting the ones we love, the ones we’ll think about on our death bed and the ones who truly care for us. Well, not for the next month and not for me. I worked hard to create this space. This bubble. This alternate world where values and information flows are more akin to another generation. When we had time to digest news before we responded.  When there were clear lines between work and personal life. When work was work and you could leave it at the office, the yard or the clinic at 5pm and then focus on the aspects of your life which were truly important. It didn’t chase you down the street, into your living room demanding a conference call while you should be having dinner with your family. No, not here. Not in the Pacific. My oasis. My sanctuary. My home.

I’ve been heading due east on a course of 90 degrees for days now, the wind direction unchanged. As I get further from Hong Kong the winds are getting calmer, ocean flatter and my inner and outer world more peaceful. The weather seems to be reflecting my own emotional state, or perhaps it’s the other way around. It doesn’t really matter. Each day is a little slower than the last and I automatically calibrate with the energy. Dawn greets me on the bow as I drink a cup of coffee at 6am and slowly watch it rise. By midday I’m completely shaded by the Bimini and can rest and read and write. In the afternoon the sun then sets directly over the transom so all I need to do is sit on the other side of the seat, face west and slowly say goodbye to my friend the sun for another day. I feel a little like a human sun dial moving at a celestial pace. At my own pace. The right pace. It does mean the sun gets strong around 4pm so I move to the bow and read in the shade while the waves gently rock my heart, like a mother lovingly rocking a child in her arms. The bow is now a place of respite where I can feel close to the sea and watch the waves rolling by. I spent hours on the bow tonight star gazing. I wish I’d brought a book to learn more about the cosmos while I’m out here. I didn’t anticipate how much I’d be captivated by the night sky and happily lay there gazing into the abyss while time slows down, listening to music and getting lost in the lyrics, the message and the emotion. I remembered today that Venus is in retrograde right now. A time of transition. A time for change. A time for growth.

At a more practical level I fixed the generator today, which was a huge relief and did my first load of washing. I read before I left that you can wash clothes in saltwater and that once they’re dry, the salt flakes can simply be shaken out, so you don’t waste any precious potable water. I use the windward lifelines as a clothesline. My shorts and T-shirts softly billowing in the afternoon sun only adds to the sense of peacefulness. As I peg each item on the line I think of my beautiful mother and the times I would help her as a child with household chores. Such simple acts but looking back as an adult, so powerful and important. Mum sends me a message each morning, just at the time she knows I’m sipping a coffee and watching the sunrise, while dad plots my day’s progress on paper charts and reviews the weather for the day ahead. I love waking up to Mum’s messages. It’s like I’m a child again and her loving smile is the first thing I see as I slowly emerge from slumber and we chat around the kitchen table over breakfast.

No surprise that mum and dad didn’t think it was a good idea for me to do the trip, though both for different reasons. I don’t think any of us realised how much it would bring us together though. Yet another wonderful unintended consequence of this trip.

I think a lot about my childhood out here. About how supportive my parents were of all my crazy ideas, always believing in me once I’d made up my mind, no matter how much they disagreed with the course I was taking. The world likes to celebrate success as the triumph of the individual over adversity, but that’s simply not true. Having a loving and supportive family and partner, a good education and committed friends are all crucial and in many cases it’s simply a matter of luck whether you have them or not. I know that I wouldn’t be the man I am without my wonderful parents and all they’ve done for me.

I love you both very much and I’m so grateful to have you in my life.

I originally thought I’d write this blog for Mum and Dad and for Mel and the boys, never thinking anyone else would actually be interested in my ramblings. I heard from my bestie Lachie overnight, who’s posting these blogs for me, who said there are now 200 people reading this each day. Who are you dear Reader? What’s your story? And why do I feel so comfortable opening up my inner world to you? I’ve never written for pleasure before, but I’m starting to gain such enjoyment from writing each day and I want you to know I’m truly grateful you’re listening. How could one feel lonely out here when surrounded by so much love?

3 Responses

  1. Following carefully every mile, Mate!
    We daily talk about you and your days, even yesterday for the Solaris rally at the end postponed due to the weather. We invited Mel but she doesn’t want to leave the boys and we fully understand. Anyway you were with us. My short video of you leaving the dock had more than 2500 view and nice comments.
    Have a great day.
    Ciao Enrico

  2. I am one of those 200 readers following your writing and sharing in your adventure and experiences… both Physical and emotional…As your journey unfolds. Your friend Anthony suggested I follow your blog, and after reading your thoughts I fully understand why. Pity we were not introduced while we were both still in HK before the turmoils of the recent events. Perhaps one day we will have the opportunity to meet in person and exchange our thoughts and experiences on self revelation and understanding through solo traveling… And how some hours in a day during such inner journeys can impact us more than years busy living the life in a cacophony of the metropolis.
    Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts and adventures in the days to come… Safe sailings !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More
articles

Rory Hunter
Sailor

Bio

Entrepreneur. Chief Executive Officer, Song Saa Collective. Pioneers of sustainable development in South-East Asia. The collective includes Song Saa Resorts and Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. 2006, co-established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve, Cambodia’s first-ever marine protected area. The reserve has since expanded to 400 square kilometres and has gained the support of Monaco’s Prince Albert II. 2013, founded the Song Saa Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to preserving Koh Rong’s underwater sanctuaries, providing alternative means of livelihood for its residents and bringing much-needed healthcare and education to the region. Speaker at international conferences, including the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014. World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organisation. Former advertising executive and worked for multinational firms including Saatchi and Saatchi. Graduate, Harvard Business School; studied sustainability and resilience, Stanford University: Global Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; BEcon, Sydney University. Completed the Coast to Coast in 2015, one of the world’s toughest endurance races, set in New Zealand, in 17 hours; offshore sailor, downhill skier, long-distance runner and proud dad of two boys.