Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
"Done things" just for the doing
The Call of the Wild - Robert Service
I wonder when all this is finished and we are looking back at those days on the great bend of the Yangtze river. Will we view them as the defining moments of this expedition ?
Never before have we lived with such a sense of fear. Never have we questioned the subtle line between courage and stupidly or had days so full of exhilaration. At the time we craved safety but were aware that these moments were special. These were the moments that got us into this way of life, these were moments to remember.
We have now entered the final section of our expedition. The white waters and adrenaline filled days of the upper river lie behind us. Our new challenge is a familiar one, a final test of endurance on a flat and heavily populated river.
There is still a possibility we won’t complete this expedition. That we won’t get a chance to stand in Shanghai and remember all the agony and ecstasy lining the roads and river banks across Asia. That some unforeseen event will stop us so close to the end. It would be horrible to fall at this final hurdle but it would no long ruin the expedition.
Don’t get me wrong, finishing is still hugely important and we will be throwing all we have left into this final test. We will approach it with the respect and determination required. Im sure it will be an amazing time and an opportunity for us to thank all the people who have made this possible.
It will be memorable. But as we have always found, the great days aren’t the days spent posing for pictures. Finishing lines don’t bring some sudden uncontrollable excitement and they don’t make an expedition. The moments we end up remembering are the quiet ones on mountain passes or after great rapids. They arise after fierce struggles and are spent gazing back towards the setting sun. They are filled with an illusive feeling that if only for the briefest of moments, and if only for the sake of doing, I had done.