“Our journeys are food for our spirits, clean air for our souls. We don’t care if they are firsts or farthests; we don’t seek sponsors. They are neither a vacation nor an escape, they are a way of life.” (Fredston, XV) Why adventure? Well this is clearly why. Fredston’s account is, clearly, the best relief we have gotten from the goal/summit oriented way of life. We have talked a fair amount about whether or not these adventures are a sort of second world; an escape. Janelle always cautions us something along the lines of- if we view adventure as an escape, then is the rest of “real life” something that inherently needs escaping?” On the other hand, is a vacation just a necessary escape, or is it an outlet for fun, or do vacations actually add a different kind of meaning to our lives. I honestly think that every setting we are in is a new way for us to learn about ourselves, and the accumulation of all these settings, along with the frequency which we are placed in them, accounts for our general outlook on life, our general personality and attitude. For Fredston, what she has experienced whilst rowing is not a side adventure, but a huge defining factor of who she is and what she values. If we talk about adventure as an escape, then is it contradictory that we learn more about ourselves the farther we are away from society? Fredston states, “With hours to think, it is also a little harder to escape from ourselves.” (Fredston, XIV). So is an adventure an anti-escape, a confrontation of our true selves, without the distraction of the rest of society? Yet this is again problematic because it means separating nature and wilderness adventures from how we define society.
Fredston looks to the oceans not as an unknown land she wants to conquer but as a part of this world that “seem(s) even bigger and more compelling because I know I can never explore them.” (Fredston, 100) The world is fun to explore precisely because we can never see it all, can never figure out all its mysteries. On a similar note, Fredston believes that, “The finiteness of a lifetime adds intensity to our search for truth, for beauty, for happiness, for love, for ourselves” (Fredston, 99/100). I can relate to Jill much more than I’ve been able to relate to any of the other authors thus far. For me, conquering something takes all the magic out of it. We have to learn to appreciate what we cannot obtain, and therefore love the world because we get to stand amongst its mysteries and wonders. For these reasons I really enjoyed what I have read so far of “Rowing to Latitude”, and am looking forward to reading the rest in hopes to find a definition of adventure more like my own.