The Odyssey Begins.
As The Nanook slices through the blue Pacific, we watch as the Australian continent fades into the horizon. With its departure, we feel the growing distance between our loved ones and us.
Sarah and I have always hated “Leaving Day”. It’s usually at the end of months of training, prepping, gearing up and up-skilling for some remote wilderness challenge. None of it making sense if we both didn’t believe in the cause - be it abandoned children, the wonderful McGrath nurse angels or in Project Zero’s case - the very planet.
Usually I say bye to my kids privately and as a couple Sarah and I head to the launch point - often Cape Town South Africa bound for Antarctica. We have 5-7 days glorious acclimatisation together - almost a rekindling of our relationship pre-isolation and separation. It has over the years been some of the richest time spent together.
Leaving from the Gold Coast this morning came at the end of an exhausting 8 month campaign to get The Nanook ice ready and our team expedition tested, cohesive, geared up and fit.
Even in the mad pace of it, we still hung very close as a family… desperate to grab every morsel of time together. Cloistered together in our farm house savouring time, but the richness of other expedition waiting periods with Sarah was absent.
However to share our exit as a team with close family and friends was something I'll never forget. As our first sunset at sea develops tonight, I scan through all the faces in my mind. Remembered forever, almost like the Burke and Wills dig tree, everyone’s initials burnt into my psyche.
So many will ask “Why” … why not choose an easier life. The answer is complex and difficult, but essentially it is about stretch. In the stretch of life we grow, in long term stasis and comfort we shrink. It’s about wondering, dreaming, visioning and extending beyond our horizons. We are the best versions of ourselves when we reach beyond what we thought possible.
Simply put to sail from home, showcase the delicate parts of planet earth with a solid crew and operate in my chosen wilderness with my son is a dream, one that will buoy me through life. To do so in an attempt to explore carbon consciously and to build a roadmap for change is worth stretching for. Now is the time for change. We can change - this is humanities only option.
So tonight my heart aches for the love of my life - Sarah. For my Jade, Java, Simon and Ru. For my parents, my sister, brothers, nephews, nieces… the entire tribe. In that ache there is also resolve, to make good decisions, to return safe, but to explore new worlds, new boundaries and to return to Sarah a better man. A man happy to live a simpler life for a while...