Roz Savage, Hay House Inc, 2013, 200 pages
Roz Savages new book, “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific,” is about finding direction in life as much as it is a rowing adventure.
There is plenty of rowing action: stormy nights that roll the Brocade (Roz’s boat) three times in 24 hrs., an involuntary helicopter rescue, avoiding 1,000 foot container ships in a 23 foot row boat, and fighting winds and currents which force a change in final destination twice on the three-leg Pacific journey. And these events are interspersed within an overall message that our oceans are in trouble, and we need to act now to change their future.
Events such as meeting with the floating junk raft, made up of 15,000 empty plastic bottles, on the San Francisco to Honolulu leg and viewing the plastic engorged stomach of a mahi-mahi; cleaning up Hawaiian beaches littered with plastic trash; rowing along the edge of the Pacific Garbage Patch, where plastic particles outnumber plankton by a ratio of 40:1; and meeting with South Pacific Islanders whose home lands will soon become uninhabitable due to rising ocean levels all clearly influence Roz as she begins to find a new direction for her new life.
Readers familiar with Roz’s earlier book, Rowing the Atlantic, know she abandoned a lucrative, but unrewarding, career as a London management consultant to refocus her life on a more gratifying path. When she left on the Atlantic row she felt her future lay in a blur with environmental advocacy peeking through.
On the Pacific, her future as a campaigner for a more sustainable lifestyle with fewer disposable plastic items clogging landfills and polluting our oceans came into focus. In the 240 pages of “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing,” the reader follows Roz as she takes some 3 million oar strokes to cross the Pacific and watches this evolution of spirit.
Within those millions oar strokes also lies the essential message of the book. As you row across an 8,000 mile wide ocean one oar stroke at a time, you can also help solve the nearly insurmountable environmental problems we all face one small positive act for the environment at a time.
By Stan Miller