I enjoy stories about wayfinding. Individuals oriented towards a vision that will forever change their worldview, regardless of success or failure. I read an excerpt from The Sun is a Compass in the New York Times and immediately downloaded the book. I found myself engrossed in a remarkable journey. As an adventurous couple prepare for a 4,000 mile journey across Alaska and Canada, they navigate the perils of planning and encountering the unknown. Caroline and Pat, embody something of a modern Lewis and Clark mixed with the spirit of Klondike Gold Rush, and channeling the naturalist John Muir. The story follows their epic adventure, one which I cannot easily fathom.
They capture the essence of wayfinding throughout the quest.
Pat has never regarded a to-do list as a worthy endeavor. Perhaps it’s how he maintains his optimism, working as hard and as fast as he can, dreaming only of the outcome, not the possibility of failure.
Imagine dreaming so big that the scale cannot be represented without being distorted.
I create a giant timetable of what needs to go where and on which date. Pat tapes dozens of topographic maps to the wall and trace our intended routes on each of them. When the maps begin to tilt crookedly, I snap at Pat to be more careful before he calmly informs me that it’s not his sloppy taping job, but the curvature of the earth that’s responsible. The scale is that big.
They embrace disruption constantly.
In order to stay on schedule, we have to follow the ocean’s clock, not our own…at the edge of a volatile and unforgiving ocean, waiting is our safety margin.
And, they recognize the importance of adapting to the real world, despite what the map suggests.
Now I realize a line on a map is only that. We’ve planned our route around elevation contours and river bends, but we have no idea what we will find really. Everything can change in a day. In an instant.
What are you working on that is so big that it cannot be fully visualized? What feels monumental? What is holding us back from striking out into wild territories, knowing that the journey will transform us and those we seek to inspire?