Artic Rowing

Questions for Artic Rowing
On February 14, 2008 Jill Fredston contributed the following questions to QuestionsForLiving®.

QFL Interview Question:
What are the primary questions that you ask yourself, for arctic rowing, which have enabled you to successfully travel over 25,000 miles?

Jill Fredston's Answer:
The essential problem when making go or no go decisions is one of uncertainty. Is it safe? Is the timing right? What are the alternatives and their potential consequences? Because nature's rules of engagement are fundamentally and irrevocably different than our own, we have developed some strategies for taking the subjectivity out of our decision-making. We use a checklist approach to evaluate hazard and we assign each critical piece of data a colored light. Red lights say, Stop! Danger! A hazardous situation exists. Green lights say, Go, it's okay. Yellow lights indicate Caution, there is too much uncertainty or conditions are changing. We apply the so what? test to our decisions. For example, we are tired of lying in our tent on the side of a cape for a week while the wind rages and the waves crash against the shore. So what, does the ocean care?

What questions do you ask yourself, when engaging in an expedition to maximize the safety of that expedition?

What are the likely objective hazards? Are we prepared to deal with them? What is our purpose?
It is important to identify the goal of the trip because that becomes the yardstick for success, which in turn, has a direct bearing on the level of acceptable risk. Trying to do a first ascent of Impossible Peak is going to necessitate taking greater risks than an afternoon stroll. Years of long wilderness trips have definitely made us more process-oriented than goal oriented. For us, these trips aren't expeditions or adventures; they are a way of life, a way of being. They are more about what we see and experience along the way than they are about getting to a particular point. A greater challenge than taking risks has been learning to minimize them - it can be harder to be cautious than to be bold. We have found that if we carry a lot of food, give ourselves a lot of time, and make sure that no one is expecting us at a particular place and time, we build fluidity into our decisions and can move as the wind, waves, and ice allow. When dealing with objective hazards, the subjective thinking our society values - How do I feel? What do I want? - can kill, because Nature doesn't care about the answers. Our assumptions, schedules, goals, and abilities make no difference to a stormy ocean.

What are the primary questions you ask yourself in life that have led you toward a life of adventure and exploration?

On these journeys, there is a tremendous focus that comes with simplicity. We have everything we need to stay alive and if we don't, we're going to have to figure out a way to improvise. Really, the hardest part of most journeys is ending them because we always want to know what is around that last cape we can see in the distance. My life has largely been driven by the same curiosity.


Looking forward to read more

benjbong22's picture

Looking forward to read more of your post and updates in the future. increase soundcloud re-posts

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