Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Roz Savage proves that age has no limits

One of the amazing things about my life at the moment is that my work allows me (almost requires me) to meet some of the best, most inspiring people in the world. This will continue probably until the end of the year, when my contract ends. But while it lasts, I will enjoy every bit of this.

I came across Roz Savage in the same way. Roz is a slight, 40-something woman, from the UK who once lived the perfect life - an Oxford graduate, complete with high-flying corporate consulting job, perfect house, handsome husband, perfect car, and a dog - to today being absolutely penniless and homeless, living on a 23 foot rowboat. Yet, she says, she's the happiest she has ever been.

Roz realized after 11 years of running the corporate life that she wasn't happy. A passionate environmentalist, Roz practically woke up one day and decided to row across the Atlantic to raise awareness about the environment; she was the 6th woman to row solo across the Atlantic. If you want to get a taste of what that is like, look here:

Having successfully completed that, Roz is now rowing solo across the Pacific. You can follow her blog and get updates on where she is and what she is upto. Should she succeed, she will be the first woman ever to have done that.

What struck me most about Roz is the deep humility and awareness with which she has approached her work. When I spoke to her, I was immediately moved by her unassuming nature. She didn't make much of her achievements, actually downplaying them significantly. A nerd who came into athletics very late in her life (in college), Roz insists that she wasn't in anything close to the physical shape she needed to get into when the idea first came into her head. But she was committed and driven, and she stuck with the training. That was the key. She insists that she is like everyone else and wants to serve as an example to other young girls and women that anything is possible.

"Living on a 23 foot row boat for days on end, puts you face-to-face with the grim realities of what you really need to survive... You become exceedingly aware of your input and output," says Savage. It was from that type of living that came the realization of needing to live consciously, of understanding the consequences of our actions.

There was something about Roz that touched me deeply...something about her genuine earnestness, and the depth of her heart. Rock on Roz-y! :)

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