Today’s TED radio podcast was ‘On The Edge’, about these people walking on the poles of our planet, in the deepest caves or crossing the oceans. There is this woman, Roz Savage, stuck in a 9-5 job in London and she comes to the conclusion that this makes her unhappy. She starts making plan and decides to row across the Atlantic Ocean. She starts by making a list of what could help her getting there, what she needs to know, what she needs to get, and she does it, step by step.
The Atlantic Rowing Race runs from the Canaries to Antigua, it’s about 3,000 miles, and it turned out to be the hardest thing I had ever done. Sure, I had wanted to get outside of my comfort zone, but what I’d sort of failed to notice was that getting out of your comfort zone is, by definition, extremely uncomfortable.
This sentence resonates in me as in every of my rotary speeches, I talked about getting out of one’s comfort zone to embrace adventure. And it pinpoints one of the things I’ve been feeling but unable or reluctant to talk about: getting out of your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable.
Another quote, by polar explorer Ben Saunders who was also talking during this podcast.
I think, while I was out there, I – you know- there’s – I would say this kind of goldfish memory because I spend so much of my life, you know, counting down the days until the next expedition, you know, just this sort of excitement, like, oh, yeah.
And then when I get out there, one of the very first things I’ll do in the back of my diary – almost like a prisoner, is start counting down the days until I get home, you know, until I’m back to safety and warmth and, you know, dry land. And I think, for a lot of that trip in 2004, it was, you know, the thing I was looking forward to wasn’t really – you know, in a short-term sense, wasn’t the North Pole, it was getting home again.
I love travelling but can’t help encountering this dichotomy, being: once travelling, after some time, comes exhaustion and the will to go “home”. When you’re abroad, you don’t want to lose or ‘waste’ your time by not doing anything for a day, so you’re trying to do something every single day. And you inevitably end up in a half alive state where you still try to experience everything at 100% but you don’t have the energy for it anymore. You want to go “home”.
And once you’re “home”, you reach boredom after 10 hours at the same place and you’re already looking where to go to next.
I put home into quotation marks because I don’t really know where to put my home. This year will be my third year abroad, already. When I say home, I think of this little apartment next to the sea in the Netherlands, not the big house in which I grew up back in France, or all the places that have been in between. When I’m travelling, my home is where my bag is and where I’ll sleep at night. I surprised myself thinking back in January while in Prague, “I’m going home”, meaning to the hostel, after a few days.
I feel a bit uncomfortable saying I already lost the feeling of home when some people have been travelling for more years than I did, but to my own ‘scale of feeling’, this is how it feels. Home might be where the heart is, but my heart being for now, well rested in my chest, all I can say is ‘I’m my own home’. I mean, it’s not too bad, right?
Changing subject, listening to “La Vie en Rose”, I surprised myself drifting to these words “il est entré dans mon coeur, une part de bonheur dont je connais la cause”. I am a strong advocate of ‘romance sucks’ but having experimented a strong contrary of romance (which I guess is blunt crudeness?), I might have shifted to the romantic part of things. Are feelings part of the romantic side? Feelings seem to be a pretty human characteristic and I don’t understand how feelings cannot be included in a human equation.
I don’t think I’m a romantic person but I am definitely someone full of feelings. Does that make sense?