Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the stars have a way of turning even the simplest of men into philosophers. There are more visible stars out here than any place I’ve ever been to and rightly so, since there are no man-made lights to be seen for hundreds of miles. In voyaging, we are taught to use the stars for navigation. They are our guiding lights as well as our teachers and they’ve spoken to our ancestors for as long as humans have been on Earth. Tonight, those same stars are speaking to me and, in my weary state of mind, the echo of the night sky is louder than ever. Here is what I’ve garnered from the past few hours of staring into space.
There are times in every voyage, literal and metaphorical, where your will is tested. When the squalls hit one after another and you are soaked from head to toe, or during the late night watches where every ounce of your body wants to shut down, that’s when the universe shines a spotlight on you to see what kind of person you choose to be. It was during the challenging times on this voyage where I witnessed firsthand what it meant to be truly strong, brave, and enduring.
I witnessed my captains lead with a quiet confidence and teach with great patience. I witnessed my fellow young crewmembers rise up to become leaders. I witnessed global leaders commit to a common cause and challenge other leaders to follow suit. I witnessed communities who had the least give the most in hopes that the rest of the world would listen and follow.
Lastly, I witnessed my own personal growth accelerated by the power of the Worldwide Voyage. When my own limits were tested, I drew upon the strength of the strong individuals around me and, in doing so, found a part of myself that I didn’t know existed before—a stronger, grittier, more resilient version of me.
Perhaps that’s what the Worldwide Voyage was meant to do all along. Whether you’ve sailed multiple legs or you’re seeing the canoes for the first time, this voyage allows for you and me to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It provides a chance to bear witness to the hard work and dedication of amazing individuals from all walks of life. Furthermore, it challenges us to dig deeper than we thought possible and, in doing so, find a piece of ourselves that we’ve either lost touch with or didn’t know existed.
So, as I sit and bask in the brilliant glow of starlight, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the experience to learn, grow, and voyage with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Most of all, I’m grateful for the “space” to work on being a better version of myself as we all collectively navigate towards a better future for the Earth.Master navigator, Kālepa, and watch captain, Timi, share stories and laughs while watching the sun rise. (Photo by Daniel Lin)