What rowing solo across the ocean teaches you about solitude


Roz Savage has rowed solo across 3 oceans—the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian—in a small boat. She earned 4 Guinness World Records.

She was once on my own at sea as much as 5 months at a time, trips she recounts on her website, and in her new e book, The Gifts of Solitude. The insights she supplies about solitude are robust ones, particularly for somebody coping with isolation all through the COVID-19 pandemic.

I interviewed Savage just lately and drawing upon her enjoy at sea, she provides seven sensible pointers for somebody sheltering at house:


First, enjoyment of gradual, deep breaths.

“I came upon the energy of respiring when I used to be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean,” says Savage. “There have been such a lot of life-threatening eventualities that made me panic. For instance, when the boat’s electric gadget went down or the winds have been blowing fiercely, or when my 4—and best—oars broke, I felt panic-stricken. I’d take deep breaths, and that may calm me.”

Panic is a herbal reaction to the pandemic. “But by way of respiring, we will be able to each and every fritter away that concern,” she says. “We can best take one breath at a time, and that breath is at all times in the provide. So respiring deeply situates us in the second and forestalls us from being concerned about the long term.”


Second, take regulate of your interior voice and make it your best friend, no longer your opponent. “During occasions of disaster,” Savage explains, “we might to find ourselves combating with the voices in our head. When we’re on my own, we’re introduced face-to-face with our interior voices, which can also be harsh.”

“When I used to be rowing, I struggled with those voices,” she mentioned, “particularly in the Atlantic, my first voyage. Then sooner or later any other ocean rower despatched me a good looking message: ‘It’s fortunate you’re more difficult than maximum.’ His phrases impressed me, and I in fact rowed to these phrases. With each and every oar I pulled, I mentioned to myself, ‘Tougher than maximum.’ It changed into a relaxing mantra.”

That recommendation turns out to be useful for all people. Whether your mantra is “I’ll get via this,” or “This is a chance for me to be brave,” to find an expression that displays your highest sense of self. Get your interior voice in your facet.


Savage rowed solo across the 3 oceans, however satellite tv for pc telephone communications stored her in contact along with her pals and shore workforce. She posted day by day blogs from her boat to proportion her adventures with outdated and new pals.

While we’re unlucky to are living in an international with COVID-19, we’re lucky to are living in a time when we have now such a lot of tactics to connect to circle of relatives, pals, and co-workersfrom postings on social media to Zoom and FaceTime. None of those portals is the identical as in-person touch, however they’re a excellent antidote to being on my own. So use them.

Pick up your telephone and get in touch with the ones you care about. Call an outdated pal and say, “I’ve been considering of you,” or touch members of the family and inform them you love them. All this goodness is a present of solitude, so make the most of it.


Fourth, focal point on what you can regulate, and take a look at to transport past the spaces you can’t.

Savage advised me: “When I used to be on the boat I attempted to regulate the ocean, however that didn’t paintings. Some days I may just pass 36 miles and not using a unmarried oar stroke. On different days I may just row 24 hours directly and no longer even pass 36 miles. I couldn’t regulate the winds, waves, and currents. But what I may just do was once display up and row for 12 hours on a daily basis. I fascinated about that.”

Bring order in your existence, even if the international stays a distressing position. Set a time table, as Savage did, and practice it. Make positive it contains such things as workout, studying, consuming, circle of relatives, leisure, and no matter provides you excitement and a way of success. Commit to one thing you can regulate.


Next, domesticate your humorousness.

“When I used to be rowing,” Savage says, “it was once arduous infrequently to snigger. But sooner or later when I used to be feeling slightly depressed I checked out myself—utterly bare, as ocean rowers ceaselessly are, with just a solar hat and rowing gloves on, making a song in conjunction with Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” . . . blaring away in the heart of the ocean. I assumed, ‘This is so ridiculous.’ I simply needed to snigger.”


Sixth, to find attractiveness and luxury in nature. “I discovered . . .  that nature can also be harsh, but it surely additionally was once my leisure, particularly after my stereo broke,” says Savage. “It impressed me, particularly having a look at the night time sky, watching in any respect the stars, whose gentle I noticed took hundreds of years to get to us. . . . My personal private frustrations appeared very small.”

When you really feel beaten, glance to nature. Take excitement in the sight of birds, experience a romp together with your canine, or the spring plant life. Relish the great thing about your herbal environment. 


Seventh, observe “woolgathering”a good looking time period that refers to having a pipe dream. It comes from the observe of collecting the free tufts of wool on trees, left by way of passing sheep.

“In the heart of the ocean, it’s simple to daydream,” Savage says. “There’s no longer as a lot sensory enter as we have now on land, the place we’re bombarded with media, dialog, and tight schedules. When there isn’t as a lot getting into our heads, there’s a chance to assume freely, to dream.”

When we’re on my own or sheltering in position we have now a chance to transform childlike and extra open to the wonders of existence. Enjoy the probability you should be away out of your commonplace regimen. Spend time dreaming.


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