I have always loved the water. I grew up in it. I spent every summer at the beach. I would stay out in the waves for hours, not returning for lunch or even a sip of water. My family would go back to the house and I would stay. And with my last day of work today, I have an opportunity to return to the water.
I used to challenge my friends to contests, who was willing to swim the furthest, the deepest, stressing the moms out beyond imagination. I always won, fearless of the thought of being so far from shore, enticed by the thrill of the diminishing horizon. I would swim as far as I could dive and still reach the bottom in one breath. I would surface with a fistful of sand and swim further out, eventually giving up in the frigid deep water, but still tempted by the horizon.
I have never gone totally out of sight of the horizon on my own volition. Or at least not without a motor. It tugs at me, the thought of being solo on open water. It brings me an ear to ear grin, arms pumping in the air. But at times it scares the living hell out of me. I wake up in panic, alone, scared, and with no one there to talk to, no one there to comfort me. It is only me, a visitor in the aquatic environment, with only the resident sharks and dorados below. That is some seriously scary stuff. I’m well aware of that. But this planet is here to be explored and I’ll be damned if I don’t get over that horizon.
So here it is, by the end of next week, I intend to paddle a kayak from the United States to the Bahamas, a goal that has been festering for a while and eluding me for months. This is no joke. I know I may sound detached but it is only because I am trying to refrain from speaking too emphatically. This is some seriously, seriously scary stuff. Solo with a twenty-one inch beam kayak with two inches of freeboard in the middle of the goddamn ocean.
Yesterday I was digging through my room trying to find a vaccination record when I stumbled on some old birthday and holiday cards. I read encouragements like “Go on with a spirit that fears nothing,” “The world is grand, awfully big and astonishingly beautiful, frequently thrilling. Take it all in,” “Orville Wright didn’t have a pilot’s license. Go change the world.” I wondered if maybe I took those sentiments a little too seriously. I hesitate, I wonder if I am in over my head. I think it is all crazy, but not for a moment do I consider bagging it. It’s not that I feel I have come too far, told too many people. This insanity is purely self-inspired. I have the best friends in the world; no one would think twice if I abandoned the pursuit. This is my goal, and I know that I can do it.
This past weekend, one of my triathlon course records stood for a third year. It reminded me of the thrill of racing, of challenging my opponents and myself. I thought how tremendous of a transition I made. But what better competitor than mother nature herself? I have never met such a humbling opponent as the mountains or the sea. Nor have I met a more a more beautiful one. I wasn’t the fastest by any stretch, but the racing bug has been hard to catch since I immersed myself so deeply into the natural world. I hope to find something that sustainable again, but for now, the world is my venue.
So the next three months are almost completely up in the air. I could not tell you where I will be next week. Hopefully the Bahamas, but who knows? I’ll be updating my Facebook, this page, my spot satellite page, and my new twitter account @cobbgwc. You can follow this epic adventure through any of those feeds. So, I guess it’s till next time civilized world.