Crossing an ocean puts everything into perspective. Obviously, it makes you understand just how vast the ocean is. Those times you cross the ocean on a flight to another country, how can you really comprehend the size of the ocean when it comes and goes in a matter of hours? You cant. Its impossible. But when youre sailing 6-15 nm every hour, and youre literally watching the miles pass by, replaced by more and more blue, you begin to understand just how big and powerful the ocean is, and how small and insignificant you are. Its a humbling feeling, being tossed around on a rocking boat in the middle of the ocean with no other sign of humanity in sight. In those moments, its really easy to understand how you depend on Argo and her crew, all working together to survive.
Living like this, so far from the rest of society, you begin to realize what matters and what doesnt. Small things matter. A good meal can lift the spirits of the whole crew, and a less enjoyable meal can do the opposite. Living by ship, shipmate, self matters. Appreciating what you do have can change your life. With a new perspective, suddenly, it isnt so hard to fight through the tiredness and get up on deck on time for watch or sacrifice precious sleep to study.
Leaving a life of constant movement, laughter, friends, and purpose are hard. Its especially hard when its being traded for a life of social distancing and staying in your house. When I left Argo for the last time, the things that I hated most were buildings and cars. Looking down on Toronto from the plane window, the buildings were little boxes keeping people closed off from the outdoors and each other, lit up by lights ruining any possible view of the stars. The cars were specks, speeding effortlessly from place to place, stealing all experience of the journey from their passengers. Seeing these things after living on a boat for so long, its easy to wish for life on Argo back, but we cant have it.
The way I see it, the best we can do is try our hardest to bring the lifestyle of Argo back on land with us. Maybe we cant have watch (and a thousand other things), and we wont always be able to see the stars, but why cant we spend less time being distracted by whats happening everywhere else in the world and spend more time with the people we care about? Lets all stop rushing places and slow down and appreciate each moment for what it is. Living on Argo was amazing. It changed us all. But whats the point if were constantly longing to go back and never buy in to being on land again?
To my fellow shipmates:
No matter where we are, lets never stop learning, doing hard things, searching for adventure, dancing through the rain, appreciating the small things, and looking out for each other. Lets never forget those 68 incredible days we had together.
Thank you, Argo and crew, of spring 2020.