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For my first diary, rather than something political I thought I would write about something that inspires me.  Something that demonstrates that the "one person can make a difference" line that we hear all the time can in some circumstances be more than a platitude, and crystal clear in its accuracy.

Katie Spotz is a 22-year old woman from around my hometown.  As I write this, Katie is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, more than halfway between Dakar, Senegal and Georgetown, Guyana.

Katie is by herself, in a rowboat.

She's been rowing for more than 60 days, eating dehydrated foods and sleeping in a small watertight space in her specially designed rowboat.  Every once in a while she checks for sharks and, seeing none, jumps in the water to clean the bottom of her boat (to cut down on resistance to the smooth flow of water).  She's really by herself - there's no support team or other boats nearby.

She spends most of her time rowing, but periodically posts updates and pictures to her blog via satellite.  In a recent blog entry, she sadly noted that "Edd," a large fish that had been following her boat and whom she considered sort of a friend, had been eaten by a dolphin.  

Katie is doing two things.  First, she's trying to become the youngest person to complete a solo row across the Atlantic.  Second, she's rowing to support Blue Planet Run, a foundation dedicated to bringing safe drinking water to people that don't have it.  This journey is only the latest in several endurance challenges that she's met.

Katie's goal in supporting this foundation is stated simply in her blog:  to raise enough money to provide clean drinking water for life to 1,000 people.  She's very close to raising her target amount; I've donated.

Our local press has done several stories about Katie's journey, but there has not been much press nationally.  I think that will change once she reaches the other side.

One person can make a difference.  I don't know Katie personally, but I'll think of her the next time I'm grousing about getting up early to staff a poll, or thinking I don't have enough time to volunteer at my local health clinic.

If you want to read further about Katie's amazing journey, click here.

Originally posted to Tailfish on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 10:55 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If she just gets unlucky, and gets hit (0+ / 0-)

    by a major storm, won't this whole thing be sort of stupid? Yeah, it's all very inspirational, as long as she lives, but there is a reason people don't cross the Atlantic all by themselves in a rowboat. This seems to me to be crazy risky, and I can't bring myself to be supportive of this kind of quasi-suicidal behavior.

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 11:24:21 AM PST

    •  The same arguments were raised against Dove (0+ / 0-)

      Robin Lee Graham set out, as a teenager, to sail around the world in a 24-foot sloop.  When he reached Africa, he traded it in for a 30-foot sloop, and completed the journey.

      His voyage was a success, and he, too, was the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe, at the time.  He was 16 years old when he set out.

      His success was preceded by a failure.  The year before attempting this, he and a friend jury-rigged a small sailboat, sailing it from one Hawaiian island to another, and almost died in the attempt.  Afterward the newspapers were full of letters from people condemning the act.  But one writer praised his acts as embodying the best of us.  "It's obvious these people never swam a forbidden hole, or walked the top of a tall fence."  

      If she dies, you would call her stupid?  If there's risk, there's danger.  You would not have people risk?

      I hope she's taken all the sensible precautions she can.  I don't encourage foolhardiness, and no-one should do something suicidal, or ill-prepared.  Safety has its place.  

      But so does this young woman.  I agree with the diarist: she's my inspiration too.  I hope she succeeds with flying colors, but if, God forbid, she dies untimely, she'll still be a hero to me.

      "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

      by Villagejonesy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 01:41:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Take a look at her site (0+ / 0-)

      She's taken a lot of precautions and has a large amount of safety gear.  Her boat is designed to withstand 30-foot waves.  She's clearly not intending her goal to be semi-suicidal.

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