Monday, January 10, 2005

Megan's second guest post

Megan Folz
HMS Bounty Guest BLOG

Someone once asked me what is the best thing about living on a tall ship. Actually a lot of people have asked me that. I believe that the best thing, the most important thing is that you learn how to live with other people. There is a camaraderie amongst a crew that can be experienced in few other circumstances. As a crew you work together, live together and socialize together. These people become your co-workers, family and friends. When you leave, you loose all of these at once, and it has been one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. The same person told me that they always pictured sailors as independent and separated from each other in some way. I was surprised at this, and told her so, because it is so far from the truth. People that have come and sailed with us have told me that they are amazed at the amount of cooperation amongst the crew and guests. We practiced evolutions today, and even I am amazed at how everyone works together. It is a proud moment when everyone on deck is hauling a line, sweating, pushing themselves, bringing out a strength that surprises even them, all trying to achieve a common goal. Sailing is teamwork at its extreme. We must trust ourselves, and trust each other even more.

I was thinking yesterday and today about what I said about trusting ourselves. Really, I didn’t say very much or even anything at all, but thinking about it and watching people over the course of the trip so far has really made me realize how much of our lives we spend in our “comfort zone”. At one time or another each one of us is presented with some situation in which we feel awkward, uncomfortable, uneasy etc. How do most people deal with that? I guess that some of us reach that comfort zone and become so afraid that we run back before we even fully understand the situation. Others reach the edge and decide that that is enough and never actually step outside. But how many actually jump? How often do we say, “Oh, I wish that I could do that, or had done that” or whatever, but when we are presented with an opportunity, we run away covering our fear with excuses. “Oh, I can’t really do that because of blah, blah, blah.” But once you jump, you find that the ground is actually right under your feet, and it wasn’t as bad as you expected. And then we begin to understand where we are and are able to deal with it, and we jump again, maybe a little further, maybe a little less. I have always loved taking people up into the rig for the first time. People are always so unsure of themselves, so afraid that they will fall. It is just a step at a time, one ratline, one foot in front of the other. I have actually talked people through each step, “ok, now put your left foot here…” But in the end, when they reach the fighting top, there is always that great sense of accomplishment, even though they might not want to stand up. As you take people up more and more they eventually begin to realize that if they just don’t let go, if they just allow themselves to trust their hands and their feet and their own strength (most of which they didn’t even know they had) they are fine. Andy is talking to everyone right now and he brings up the great words of Irving Johnson at exactly the right time. “We didn’t have harnesses back then. We just didn’t let go, it would be stupid to let go.”