There is a frigid clarity in the Far North. The question was - would it benefit me or bedevil me? Along with the bone-numbing cold and the unimaginable desolation, would there also be insights awaiting me in the barren ice?
I hoped so, and that is why I took two blank journals with me. One would record the daily ordeal of pushing a 42-foot fiberglass sailboat through the 5,000 miles of The Northwest Passage. The other would help me navigate the Inner Voyage.
Throughout my essays I have often spoken of the philosopher’s need for solitude. Without such isolation, it is difficult to distance oneself from the mundane and focus on the meaningful. But on this expedition there would be a paradoxical irony for me in this regard. On the one hand, I would be in a vast geographical area that was almost completely uninhabited. But I would also be in a small sailing boat along with four other people. And this situation was quite difficult when one “needed a little space.” It was not like you could just go for a swim.