Preview: The Sculptor Within

The following was written by Tom Robinson, upon landfall on a tiny S. Pacific atoll after rowing 5,000 miles on his first leg rowing across the S. Pacific Ocean:

An immense task no doubt, rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t expecting it to be all sunshine and rainbows out there, and it certainly wasn’t. However, what I didn’t expect, what nobody had warned me about, was just how hard things would be back ashore, how hard it would be to come to grips with the outside world. So, what was it out there that changed me, that made me quetion it all and struggle to cope with society?

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15 Responses So Far to “The Sculptor Within

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    Glenn Holland says:

    Thank you Tom. As has been said already, in a few months you have found profound truths that most do not discover within a lifetime. May God continue to be with you.

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    Wayne McCallum says:

    Tom, Tom Jackson, editor of Wooden Boat magazine once said, ” If there is safety in numbers, there is wonder in solitude. And you can’t know one without knowing the other.”

    You have just demonstrated that there is much more than wonder in solitude, Tom. You have a wisdom that could only come from one so young after spending so much time in solitude on the ocean. What a wonderful teacher.

    Another quote. John Muir said when talking about interpreting nature to an audience, not to give too much information but “put there but a spark. If there is any good stuff, it will take.”

    You are made of good stuff.

    Congratulations and thank you for such an inspiring piece.

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    Jerry McIntire says:

    Good on you, Tom. Stay true to that voice within. I remember returning from my first wilderness trip, a month of canoeing on the northern border of Minnesota. When I returned it had forever changed how I saw my hometown, my country, and “social obligations.”
    The next year I returned to the wilderness for a longer period, this time backpacking. Subsequent trips for months among other cultures eventually led me to drop my Facebook and Twitter accounts. You’ve shared with all of us a good reminder of the importance of time alone, and a simple life. Thank you. I’m glad that you landed at Penrhyn for your first stop, where there was space to digest your experience and have a slower re-entry into the madness and contradictions that characterize our well-meaning society.

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    Patrick Filardi says:

    Tom, you have learned at a young age what it took me many decades to figure out. Thoreau said it right “Simplify!” . While I am not a hermit I do treasure my time alone out on the marsh in my canoe and try to remember “fewer people, fewer problems”. travel safe my friend

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    Patrick Filardi says:

    Tom, you have learned what took me many decades to figure out. Thoreau said it right, Simplify! While I am not a hermit I do treasure my time alone in my canoe out on the marsh and try live by “fewer people, fewer problems” travel safe friend

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    edward mcmahon says:

    What beautiful words! Education has missed the most important thing – the ability to think. It’s clear that is taught somewhere on the wide Pacific. Congratulations and thank you.

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    Arthur Winer says:

    Clearly the entire row was one long meditation towards self realization. Thank you, Tom, for sharing that profound experience with the rest of us.

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    Steve Kelleher says:

    It has taken me 60 years of life to realize many of the things you’re learning in your early twenties Tom. Thank you for sharing this. It will be interesting to see where this introspection leads you in life.

    As I approach my later years, after a whirlwind of a life, much of my energy and focus is now inward. And I relish this opportunity much like you’ve done during your voyage.

    But I still realize life has different seasons to be lived, each with their own yin and yang. If I were to give you a piece of advice as you reenter civilization, it would be for you to treat the sculptor within with much kindness and compassion. It will help you maintain that ocean of calmness inside regardless of what’s happening outside.

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    Peter Damon says:

    Tom – I’m sure many of your readers have many sea miles under their belt, but only a few can approach your tally and of those, countable on one hand ,are those that are close to you – that have actually seen the light and would actively spread or teach your message to others.

    You have a powerful, message here – make the best of it.

    I’m frequently citing words or experiences from my own blue-water experience – teamwork, determination and creativity are among the chief themes of my contribution to your support.

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    Ralph Waldo Emerson writes about Michael Angelo. “The common eye is satisfied with the surface on which it rests. The wise eye knows it is surface, and, if beautiful, only the result of inner harmonies, which, to him who know them, compose the image of higher beauty.”

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    Ed Altonji says:

    Tom, you’ve given us all so much taking us on your journey and sharing how it’s shaped you. I hope you find a short path toward enjoying our complex bewildering society that just as easily allows you to return to the peace you’ve found in your inner self. That bridge between your now two worlds is the next challenge I suppose. I hope you decide to put pen to paper, literally no computers, and scribe your journey in detail. For yourself to read in 50 years and for the rest of us should you wish to publish it. You don’t know me but I feel I’ve come to know you through your writings and videos, I’ll miss that.

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      Robert Kunzig says:

      Tom I would like to add to what Ed has said with a slight change – pick a date and every decade reread your writings, so as to not let this “world” gain too much control or change.
      Thank you Tom.
      In so many ways. As we all are trying to find that wisdom, that inner peace on our own paths.

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    Walter Curran says:

    This was truly a fascinating log of introspection.