I am in awe of those who set themselves dangerous projects, especially those associated with water.
Today’s local newspaper, The Mercury, reports that a group of mates ‘the injured, ill and wounded former and serving Australian soldiers’ have successfully kayaked across Bass Strait. This is the wash of wind-blown, wild water which separates the State of Tasmania from mainland Australia. This is the patch of water which, when the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race passes across it each December, masts may be broken, yachts overturned and sailors drowned.
At the narrowest and easiest route, the distance is 330 kilometres. The kayakers left north eastern Tasmania on March 14, were delayed in the Flinders Island area for 11 days with bad weather, and arrived yesterday in Victoria after 24 days. ’The challenges don’t come any tougher, with elite kayakers referring to the Bass Strait route as the “Everest of the sea’.
There is no doubt this was an extreme project undertaken by a group of people who might otherwise have believed they had limits on what they could do in their life.
I see it as a strong reminder that our bodies are capable of so much more than we push them through, and that it is our minds which sets most limits. So when I hear people say things like ‘I couldn’t do that or I couldn’t do what you do’, there is nothing wrong with saying that as long as their next sentence is something like, ‘but what I can do is ….xxx….’ The scale of the project doesn’t matter. Whether a ‘Mt Everest’ or a tiny mole hill type goal is set, the important thing is to do something that pushes you even slightly outside your comfort zone. It is so enriching to do something that, after you have finished, you can look back on and think ‘I did that and no-one can ever take away that achievement from me’.
You may be surprised to know that I am terrified of the walk ahead of me to Lake St Clair. I realise this ‘Walking the Derwent’ is a puny project by comparison with the Bass Strait crossing by kayak. However, in my own terms, this is my ‘Mt Everest’ sized project. I have never talked in this blog about my physical characteristics, but if you had my size, age, gender, health situation and other personal characteristics you might think that attempting this project is crazy. My antidote to the fear is to remind myself to think of the small steps and not to concern myself with the big distances, the isolation and the impenetrable bush. I tell myself that I only have to put one foot after the other, and that because each step is always okay, the whole distance can be achieved.