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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Roz Savage

Roz SavageRoz Savage MBE FRGS, born the 23rd of December 1967 in Cheshire, England is a British ocean rower, environmental advocate, writer and speaker who worked as a management consultant in London for 11 years before rowing across huge bodies of water.

Since taking on the Atlantic in 2005, she also completed rows across the Pacific and Indian oceans. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, expending about 5 million oarstrokes, and spent altogether somewhere over 500 days of her life alone at sea in a 23-foot rowboat.

In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. She is a United Nations Climate Hero, an Athlete Ambassador for www.350.org, and an Ambassador for the Blue Project. Roz already holds four world records for ocean rowing, including being the first woman to row three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.

She makes use of her ocean rowing journeys to inspire action being taken on the top environmental challenges facing the world today. Since embarking on her first ocean in 2005, she has braved 20-foot waves, been capsized 3 times within 24 hours, and faced death by dehydration when both her watermakers broke.

She has encountered whales, dolphins, sharks, and turtles, and admired the timeless beauty of sunrises, sunsets, and star-studded evening skies.

Roz SavageRoz SavageRoz graduated in 1989 with an honours degree in Law and worked in management consultancy and IT project management in London before she realising that there should be more to life than just earning a steady income and owning a house like most everyone else.

By 2000, at age 34, she had spent 11 years as a management consultant. On a train trip that year, however, she sketched obituaries for the life she was living and the one she really wanted. Their disparity spurred her to give up her husband, a steady income and a big house in the suburbs.

In 2003, she became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and took part in an Anglo-American expedition that discovered Inca ruins in the Andean cloudforests near Machu Picchu. She then spent an additional three months in Peru, travelling solo and researching her first book, Three Peaks in Peru.

Her journeys on the ocean have forced her to develop courage, tenacity, perseverance, and the strength to transcend self-imposed limits. Roz took up rowing when she arrived at University College, Oxford, because she wanted to be able to eat what she felt like eating without getting fat.

She took to rowing with all the zealousness of a fanatic and went on to gain two half-blues for representing Oxford against Cambridge, in 1988 and 1989. In the summer of 1988, she took part in the Greek Trireme Expedition, rowing a reconstruction of an ancient Greek battleship around the Aegean Sea with a crew of 170 oarsmen.

At the age of 38 she found herself jobless, homeless, and all by herself in a small row boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She hadn't had a hot meal in two months when her camping stove broke and her stereo went belly up.

Roz SavageShe'd had no human contact since her satellite phone stopped working several weeks prior. All four of her oars were broken and she'd patched them up with duct tape and make-do splints.

With tendonitis in her shoulders and saltwater sores on her backside, she has battled twenty-foot waves, sleep deprivation, self-doubt and depression, but has never been happier. She had overcome personal limitations and naysayers and was finally living her dream.

These days Roz is a successful and inspiring keynote speaker with a charismatic stage presence who has spoken to tens of thousands of people on six different continents.

Some of her past speaking engagements include the Royal Geographical Society in the United Kingdom, the National Geographic Society in the United States, the TED Conference and the Vail Symposium, as well as corporate speaking engagements too numerous to mention.

A United Nations Climate Hero and an Athlete Ambassador for www.350.org, she is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an International Fellow of the Explorer’s Club of New York, and has been listed amongst the Top 20 Great British Adventurers by the Daily Telegraph.

She has been inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and was a recipient of a Yale World Fellowship and in 2011 she received the Ocean Inspiration Through Adventure award.

Roz SavageShe promoted plastic-free communities as co-patron of the Greener Upon Thames campaign for a plastic bag free Olympics in 2012, and as a Notable Coalition Member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Roz also supports the work of the 5 Gyres Institute and is an Ambassador for Plastic Oceans and MacGillivray Freeman's One World One Ocean project. Her voyages take place under the auspices of the Blue Frontier Campaign.

She has run in the London and New York marathons, finishing in the top 2% of women in both, and has run a personal best of 3 hours 19 minutes. Her story was filmed as A Little Silver Boat in a Big Silver Sea as part of the ITV1 documentary television series Is It Worth It?, first broadcast on Monday, the 12th of March 2007 in the United Kingdom.

In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. The story of her adventures has been featured on CBS, ESPN, NPR, and the BBC, and in articles in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Outside Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and the Evening Standard.

She has written for numerous magazines and websites including Forbes and the Huffington Post as well as having contributed a chapter to the book “Oceans” to accompany the Disney film of the same name.

On the 14th of March 2006 she completed the first leg by finishing the Atlantic Rowing Race as the only solo female competitor, taking 103 days to complete the crossing.

Roz SavageShe did this unsupported, despite breaking all four of her oars and having to row with patched-up oars for more than half the race. Her cooking stove failed after only 20 days, then her navigation equipment and music player. She managed to maintain her daily weblog right up until day 80 when her satellite phone failed, leaving only the movement detected by her positional transponder.

Despite all this, and the danger of having to cut off the rope to her failed sea anchor in 12-foot (3.7 m) waves, she arrived safely at the finish in Antigua. She is only the 5th woman to row solo across the Atlantic from East to West.

Her inspirational book, “Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean”, was published by Simon & Schuster. The eponymous documentary has been screened around the world in association with the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Anyone reading these words should sit back and take a minute to think about what this amazing girl has accomplished. Can you even imagine in your wildest moments ever standing on the shore in the Canary Islands and saying to yourself that it was time to get ready and start rowing to the island of Antigua in the Caribbean? All by yourself?

And then also do the same when looking out from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and looking westward to Hawaii and beyond to Asia?

Shortly after her successful Atlantic crossing, she announced her bid to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from the US to Australia. After successfully completing 3 stages, starting from California in Summer 2008, and breaking her journey in Hawaii to Tuvalu in 2009 to Papua New Guinea in 2010, Savage accomplished her goal.

Roz SavageShe began stage one on 12 August 2007 from Crescent City, California, and was rescued 10 days later approximately 90 miles offshore by the U.S. Coast Guard when a well-wisher called them out after becoming concerned when she mentioned heavy weather and a head injury in her blog.

She was later able to recover her boat "Brocade" and made another attempt on the 25th of May 2008 launching from Sausalito, California and arrived in Hawaii on the 1st of September 2008, becoming the first woman to row solo from California to Hawaii.

She completed the crossing from San Francisco to Waikiki in a time of 99 days 8 hours and 55 minutes. The total distance covered was 2,598 nautical miles (4,811 km) and took approximately one million oar strokes.

En route to Hawaii, Savage was given an essential resupply of water by the two man crew of the JUNK raft, also on a journey from California to Hawaii. They were running low on food as their voyage was taking longer than expected, and she was able to donate them some of her surplus.

She began stage two on the 24th of May 2009, with intentions to arrive at the island nation of Tuvalu 2580 miles away. On the 28th of August, after suffering adverse winds and currents for several days, with food supplies running low and her water-maker broken, Savage realised that she was unlikely to be able to reach Tuvalu and reluctantly changed course for Tarawa.

She arrived in Tarawa on the 5th of September after 104 days at sea and approximately 1.3 million oar strokes.

Roz SavageSavage began her third and final stage for the Pacific Row on the 18th of April 2010 with the intention to row to the eastern shore of Australia. After mid ocean currents gave her a more westerly course, she again changed her destination and arrived at Papua New Guinea on the 8th of May 2010. She reported by Twitter on the 3rd of June that she arrived at Madang, Papua New Guinea after 45 days at sea.

And as if that was not enough to temper you into Superwoman - once again looking out over the Indian Ocean decide to start rowing from Western Australia to Mauritius...?

In April 2011, Savage set out to row across the Indian Ocean, launching from Fremantle, Australia. Her route, daily locations and destination were kept secret because of the danger from pirates.

She was towed back to Australia a fortnight into the 4000 mile voyage due to a fault with the desalination machine the rowing boat was equipped with. But, Savage successfully completed her Indian Ocean crossing on the 4th of October 2011, becoming the first woman to solo row the "Big Three," the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The crossing took 154 days.

I'd say she is fairly amazing, isn't she?

In being a rower at Oxford and in the midst of a revolution in her life, she had decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean all by herself. She had entered a race with twenty-five other boats, but she was the only solo woman competing in an event where six of the crews had to be rescued before completing the journey across the Atlantic.

Roz SavageIt was the same year as Hurricane Katrina, and over the course of her voyage, Roz’s camping stove, phone, and all four of her oars broke. She developed tendonitis in her shoulders, sores on her bottom, and all sorts of other problems she remarked that you don’t want to hear about.

After triumphantly rowing into Antigua, completing the Atlantic and 3,000 miles alone on the ocean, Roz hardly stopped for a break. She proceeded to row the Pacific Ocean, making one stop in Wakiki and one in Tarawa, because the Pacific is so huge - 8,000 miles across it. Next, she completed the Indian Ocean, at 4,000 miles - her longest continuous route, from Perth to Mauritius.

In between and during these incredible voyages, Roz has worked to spread awareness about some of the things she’s pondered while rowing alone and looking “at humanity from the outside.” She says there is “nothing likebeing in twenty-foot waves to remind you where humans really stand in the scheme of things.”

She doesn’t brand herself as an environmentalist out of a desire not to alienate people, but Roz has dedicated herself to causes like the attempt to stop the North Pacific Garbage Patch from continually expanding.

She has rowed along the outskirts of it, meeting scientists who trawled every day to compare the amount of healthy plankton in the water to the amount of plastic. In the outskirts of the patch there was six times as much plastic as plankton. In the center there was forty times as much plastic. Roz, with her uniquely intimate understanding of the vastness of the ocean, thinks it’s incredible we’ve managed to so alter something so immense.

Roz SavageShe feels that we have too much stuff, and that somehow, this must change. The ocean rowing phase of her career is over and now she’ll be devoting herself entirely to an attempt to “invite people to seek greater happiness while causing less environmental damage.”

Her efforts will be an environmental campaign that doesn’t even use the word “environment.” Roz talks about the failure of country and personal GDPs to measure worth. Her problem with her life before she wrote her two obituaries was that her perspective on success was based in income and a successful career, not one of happiness or personal value to the world at large.

Roz is excited when she heard about the Bhutanese metric of happiness - which includes nine domains that are important to human thriving. One is sustainability.

The country of Bhutan makes policy decisions, for example the choice of whether to join the World Trade Organization, based on these questions of wellbeing.

Bhutan decided not to join the WTO, and is far more concerned with GNH (Gross National Happiness) than GDP. The UN is now considering implementing use of this metric, and Roz will be involved.

She believes that when people begin to consider their lives in a way that falls outside of the traditional definition of what is termed the American dream, they will begin to care less about acquiring energy wasting houses and cars - often filled with mounds and mounds of plastic objects.

She now writes, speaks, and lectures on sustainability, courage, resilience, and change. JB Benna’s inspirational short film, entitled Rowing The Atlantic, tells the story of Roz Savage’s journey from an ordinary career woman to an adventurer, facing the most intimidating challenge of her life rowing 3,000-miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

Roz SavageYou'll see her struggles, her shortcomings and fears and how she discovered that she had it within her to rise to this seemingly impossible task. The DVD of this film can be purchased at:




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Roz Savage - Rowing the Atlantic
Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean by Liz Savage is about how she invested her life savings in an ocean rowboat and became the first solo woman ever to enter the Atlantic Rowing Race. From a corporate job in London read how her crazy idea evolved from a dream into a reality. Savage discovers something far more important than what the usual 9 to 5 grind offers.
Click on the cover image to purchase the book at Amazon.

Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the Jesus Christlizard (which walks on water, too) that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution hasn't made it an option for humans yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction - past, present and future.

It's a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What is more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Arabic (Arab Scientific), Japan (East Press)

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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