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Our Narrative

Mar 26, 2009

Location: Underway
Author: Chris Uyeda
One of the simple pleasures aboard Argo is the ability to pleasure read’. Take a random view of our crew underway and you’re bound to see at least on person reading solely for the joy of reading. I recently took stock of my latest books: (1) “The Secret Life of Lobsters: How fishermen and scientists are unraveling the mysteries of our favorite crustacean” by Trevor Corson, (2) “Complications: A surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science” by Atul Gawande and (3) “The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge” by Jeremy Narby. In reviewing the list I noticed they all belong to a genre known as narrative non-fiction. Although I just recently learned this term it is one of my favorite styles. Why? Because it is entertaining, educational, gauged for a general audience, and grounded in the happenings of the real world. Which is precisely the narrative of our lives here on Argo. Our world is entertaining. Not only in the obvious sense that we travel from exotic locale to exotic locale, but in simple matters as well. For example, watch the clean up crew in the galley after a meal and it looks more like a dance party than a job of tedium. Life is educational. We take classes everyday (Casey one of our marine educators just gave an awesome lecture on his work in Antarctica), we take advantage of the knowledge of each other (John Dillon just gave me a 2 hour photography 101 seminar), and we learn from ourselves (everyday our actions teach us about accountability, personal responsibility, respect and patience). We are a general audience. No person is here for the same reason. We come motivated by difference factors, inspired by different messages, armed with different expertise, and blessed with various privileges. And finally, our lives are grounded in the world. We learn religion by walking through Buddhist and Muslim cultures; we are awed by the nature when we swim with mantas; we witness the realities of production when we walk through Borneo’s deforestation; and we see kindness in the Balinese strangers that give us directions; and we know the value of hard work when we accomplish the monumental task of keeping this boat clean. This is our narrative non-fiction. And it is one that I am deeply grateful I am able to live, rather than read.