31-year-old Matt Rutherford just returned to Baltimore.
He sailed away 314 days earlier, towards New York. He returned with his bow still pointing north. How is that possible?
A: He circumnavigated the Americas, first person ever to do it solo.
23,000 miles. That's nearly the circumference of the Earth.
WYPR interviewed him the day before his dramatic arrival. He told of some pretty harrowing moments, like when an ocean liner missed him by a couple feet in the middle of the night.
But that kind of danger and treacherousness wasn't the worst part, Matt says. At some point during the trip, he told the Washington Post that he was experiencing a profound lonliness.
“Lonely to the point where anything living is comforting. A bird, a fish, even a barnacle. I think I’m beyond lonely.”
But that's not the Table-Talk reason for telling the story.
When he began, other world-class sailors described his attempt as practically suicidal.
“What Matt is trying to do, I’m absolutely blown away by it,” Herb McCormick said. “He’s doing this in a boat that, frankly, I’d be scared to sail from Newport to Bermuda. I’m in awe of the guy. This is such a mammoth undertaking, and to do it without stopping — alone — is mind-boggling.
Here's what he looked like at the homecoming.
Question for your table: What would motivate a person to do this?
Hint: He wasn't looking for a thrill, nor to make the record books, nor to prove himself.
Another hint: What would possibly motivate YOU to spend 314 days alone (never mind the danger)?