This is the boat that allowed me to fear death and go beyond it. To face solitude and discover the power of friendship. She made me feel miserable for knowing so little and taught me to embrace the freedom of being young. Every great sailor was one day a beginner in their field. This boat permitted me to begin.
Yesterday, I crossed the Arctic Circle single-handed. One might say this boat is too small, too weak, too old. And one might look at me and say I’m too small, too weak, too young. And I understand them, because before starting this trip, from France to West Greenland, I asked myself if the plan was too ambitious. I would study, practice, ask more experienced people for advice, count on my friends, try it out, learn from my mistakes, and try it again, differently. Once a day, I would write in my journal I was scared. Once a day, I would find out I was capable of doing things I didn’t know I could. The preparation and teamwork made me capable of it.
My arrival to Greenland was surprisingly revealing of the state of our society. After sailing for 13 days between Ireland and the south of Greenland without seeing a face or hearing the voice of anyone, I was excited to finally get to a village and meet humans. As I approached Qaqortoq, I was hypnotized by dark clouds and the red brightness of what seemed to be an active volcano. Getting closer to it, I felt the scent of smoked plastic and realized that the eruption was a mountain of burning trash. It was obvious, but it became undeniable: It doesn’t matter how far we travel, where there is a linear economy and consumerism, there will be trash. In remote areas like here, this rejected material is transported back to Denmark, using thousands of liters of diesel, or it burns by accident, damaging air quality. In less remote cities, it is easier to hide this trash from our sight as fast as possible and forget it. But it still exists, and will keep existing much longer than us on this planet. My first image of a settlement was not as welcoming as I expected. But it was rough, it was real, and it illustrates the problem with having a linear approach to design and consumption instead of an understanding of, and consideration for life cycles.