Fredston's amazing wit gripped me as I was reading Rowing to Latitude. Her style of writing was one of the most interesting we've read all semester. I loved reading about the relationship between her and her siblings, her childhood, and her journey in life before talking about her journeys rowing in Alaska, Canada, etc. I really felt oriented in her life and how she relates her adventure experience to her "normal life" experience. We haven't been exposed to this much detail of an adventurer's dormant life, or at least that I can remember.
This writing really emphasized the idea that we have been getting at the last few weeks -- how we can each have our own adventures. Fredston really puts it into the context of her relationship with Doug, her family, and so forth. She handles adventures with such grace and strength. We can be as quirky by living an "unconventional life", as the back of the book so appropriately puts. Adventures are put on a pedestal in that people seem to devote their life to a goal, instead of enjoying the journey itself. Fredston does exactly that.
Perhaps it is the structure of the book -- that she focuses on a series of events rather than just one that convinces me this is a more luxurious or lifestyle text. She comments on the process in the text: "We had always prided ourselves on savoring the process of traveling and exploring rather than focusing on reaching a particular place" (Fredston 134) So much of our course has been based on the concept of success or failure. Some adventurers such as Herzog put the summit as the only source of true joy or accomplishment. Fredston reminds herself to enjoy the journey.
Reflecting on the past semester in this class, I can take a few points home from Fredston. Instead of focusing on a goal, such as getting an A, or answering a question such as , "How do we define adventure?" it may be better to relax and enjoy the journey. We can learn so much just by reading the books and experiencing nature, so how much more could we possibly want? Trying to get a good grade or answer these philosophical questions are important, but instead of getting wrapped up in questions concerning adventure, we should go out and live adventurous lives.
I want to get to a point in my life where having adventures isn't a goal to be achieved, but a process I seamlessly immerse my normal life in. Obviously, that sort of lifestyle takes lots of funding, so if anyone wants to donate to my travel-the-world fund, go ahead. 50 years from now, I'd rather have many fond adventure memories than one seminal conquering adventure moment.
Fredston's text also didn't hurt to have absolutely gorgeous color photos. While it may seem like an insignificant detail, Rowing to Latitude had hands down the best photos out of any text we've read this semester. I appreciated the inclusion of a very diverse set of environments. The photos really emphasized the idea of an "unconventional life".