On this date in 2000, I began paddling around Newfoundland. That first night, I only made it up to Pouch Cove but the next day I crossed Conception Bay and the journey had begun in earnest. For the next three months, I lived out of my kayak, paddling in fair and foul conditions (mostly foul, for the first month or so), keeping the island to my left. 1800 miles and 91 days later, I returned to the starting point again, paddling slowly back into the quiet little harbour in St. John’s, closing the circle and giving me the greatest summer of my life.
It would be impossible to overstate the effects that expedition has had in my life. The simplicity of the task, combined with its sheer immensity, taught me the value of incremental progress. I learned to savour each mile and to celebrate each victory, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Big accomplishments are made up of many little victories; they do not just appear, as if by magic.
I wrote a book about the trip. If you haven’t read it, there’s still time to get your copy. In fact, there’s a deal going on through the end of the month. Until May 31st, for every donation of $25 or more, the Ikkatsu Project will send you your copy of Around the Rock; A Newfoundland Sea Kayak Journey. Click here, and include your mailing address when you donate. Even if you have read it, it makes a great gift.
(In honour of the 20-year retrospective, some words in this post are presented with their Canadian spellings.)