The one and only time I came near death I was in a kayak. In 1998, the flooded Danube shoved my boat under a pontoon dock. I slipped out of the kayak and couldn’t come up for air. My whole life flashed before my eyes as my head kept hitting the bottom of the pontoon above me.
Eighteen years, a wife and three kids later I felt it was time to get out on the water again. I wasn’t lacking thrills or wanting to get away from my family. I was craving the peaceful solitude of the water and the physical challenge that comes with long distance kayaking. At 46 I started worrying about the future of my muscles, joints and bones. I already feel every muscle in my body after 90 minutes of surfing. These days, any mildly strenuous activity comes with two Advils. The other day I hurt my shoulder just by disconnecting a USB cable.
Recently, I also started reminiscing about the free spirited adventures of my younger and less vulnerable years. I fondly look back to the days when I would just grab my bike and a friend and wouldn’t come home for a week.
I knew it was time to do something physically demanding, something difficult and something that slightly defies the odds. It was time to grab a self powered vehicle and not come home for a week… or two.