The Blazing Need Not To Be Ordinary
A lot of people ask why I set out on these often crazy trips and to be honest, I don’t know. They take me away from my precious family and I miss them every second I’m away. And I know they worry about me when I’m gone. So why? Are they fun? It depends how you define fun, I guess. Adventures aren’t really adventures unless there’s some element of danger. They can be gruelling. Mentally and physically they can grind you down until all you can think about is just putting one step in front of the other. You’re either freezing in sub-zero temperatures or your skin is blistering from the heat even when you’re in the shade. They push you far beyond limits you never knew existed. It can be heart-breakingly lonely and there have been a few times when I thought I’d never get home. But the call of adventure is so strong that it’s a need. Fulfilling that need makes me feel blazingly alive.Some people have to travel beyond the known horizon every now and then. I’m one of them. But what’s even stronger is the call of family and they are what keep me going and what always brings me home.
If I’m going to row across the Atlantic, I want it to be for more than just my own personal need for adventure. My wife, Sarah, and I both had the opportunity to attend MIT – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the famous private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Not a lot of people get to do that. What’s tragic though is that in South Africa, even after twenty-one years of independence, not every child gets the education they need. It breaks my heart when I hear stories like Judy’s. There were times when Judy’s mother wasn’t able to pay the electricity bill and their little home would be plunged into darkness. Judy loved school. She wanted to do well. She wanted an education and she wasn’t going to let a lack of electricity stop her from getting it. She would take her schoolbooks and go sit on the pavement and finish her homework in the light of a streetlamp. Her determination paid off. She ended up going to Columbia University in the USA and was also a Mandela Rhodes scholar. Recently, she bought her mother a new home.
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