Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Report: The Long Way

I'd been meaning to read The Long Way ever since watching Deep Water and this year Eric put a copy under the tree for me. I zoomed through it in about a week.

This book is Bernard Moitessier's memoir of his bid to be the first man to sail around the world single handed in the 1962 Golden Globe Race. Though the book was filled with technical details that were quite incomprehensible to a landlubber like myself, it was also filled with beautiful insights about what it means to be human and what he saw as the spiritual bankruptcy of modern life.

During his 8 months alone at sea, he realized that he could not go back to Europe to accept a prize that he felt was incompatible with the lessons he had learned during his solitude. Instead, he decided to give up his lead in the race and continue sailing to Tahiti.

Besides physical bravery in the face of giant waves and damaged equipment, besides the mental fortitude to make it through so much time without any human contact, I have to admire his courage to remain true to his spirit, even when fame and wealth beckoned. That is real strength.

I wonder what I would learn about myself in the metaphorical sea... Do you ever have fantasies of going off on a journey to sort yourself out? What would your trip look like?

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