Leg 2, Day 75 – Friend or Foe?

Natalia Cohen By

Leg 2, Day 75 – Comparisons – friend or foe?

Better, stronger, happier, smaller, faster, thinner, richer, more beautiful…our world is full of comparisons.

I understand their benefit. They give us a benchmark to help us improve on a personal and professional level. They inspire general drive and ambition and increase our motivation to strive to be better at what we do, for what we want to see and who we are.

Comparisons can also help put things into perspective. If you think you’re having a bad day at work then just think about miners and their working conditions or the fact that you are actually lucky enough to have a job. When you’re feeling sorry for yourself the next time you have the flu, be thankful that you’re not undergoing another chemotherapy treatment, or having to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg. Those may be slightly extreme examples, but you know what I mean, it’s all relative.

I have always found it fascinating that we constantly compare and contrast everything we do without even realising it. On occasion I think there is good reason but to be honest, when I go somewhere completely different or have a truly unique experience, I love the fact that it’s all lived and seen with fresh eyes and complete wonder – no preconceived ideas or automatic comparisons to be made.

Why are our minds so conditioned to make continual comparisons? I feel as though it’s a bad habit to get into and I’ve really been making an effort over the last few years to control my automatic comparisons that happen in my mind. It’s not easy! It almost certainly has something to do with being completely in the moment and not straying into the past.

When we do something for the fist time, there is always a sense of excitement, intrigue and possibly a little fear of the unknown. Whether it’s a new travel experience, challenging yourself with a new sport or competition, learning a new skill, facing an unusual situation that you have never had to deal with before or starting a new job, doing something new holds infinite possibility and gives the opportunity to create a good framework for future experiences.

This row has been the perfect example. None of us had any idea what to expect from the journey when we set off from San Francisco 6 months ago. For Leg 1 there was nowhere else to be but right there, every moment, living the experience. Perfect. However, within the expedition, there were moments where the mind slipped naturally into comparison mode. The starry night sky is beautiful but there’s nothing quite like an African sky, or the water is so blue here but have you seen the water in Croatia, it’s the bluest so far etc.

What about the habit we have of looking at someone else and comparing yourself with them. Why do we do this? It will only end up making us feel inferior and unhappy…so why does the mind take us to that place of thinking? There will always be differences between us, as we are all unique individuals (thank goodness as the world would be a very boring place). The beauty about the Coxless Crew is that we have an undeniable strength within the diversity of our team. We all bring very different skills, personalities and attributes to the expedition and so comparing ourselves to each other, except maybe our tan lines, angry bums and smell of our hair (!!), is futile.

Yes, leg 2 of the journey has brought challenges, highs and lows, but I’m not going to compare them to leg 1. Each leg of this journey is its own adventure with different special moments and team dynamics. They will all be a story in their own right and we are going to make sure that when we experience something it is not compared to anything else.

These memories that we are creating right now on the almighty Pacific are incomparable and that’s what we need to remember. Whether comparisons are friends or foes, we all have the power to decide how we choose to see or experience something x

UPDATE: We’re still moving in the right direction! Woooohhoooo…



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Going in the right direction and at a good speed, I bet you are happy to compare that to a week ago? One of the benefits, if indeed it is a benefit? Is that you have a huge amount of thinking time while on Doris, without the distractions we have in normal life. Keeping those thoughts positive will obviously get tested, I think you are all totally amazing in the way you keep these quite long blogs coming everyday, also keeping them interesting and entertaining, humorous and informative. Thank you all for sharing so much with us complete strangers and letting us into your little boat. I reckon you will be in Samoa for the World Cup Rugby Final! Stay safe. XX

  2. Simon TY says:

    Comparisons and “When I’s”

    My good mate Robert has a very good habit of criticising “When I” stories. A When I is having to have the last word, is having to cap someone elses story. “When I was in Orkney the sunsets” “Oh, no, When I was at Machu Pichu, then you should have the seen the sunsets” ” Ah, no, better than that, When I was in the Sahara, living only on camel poo, the sunsets were……”. “Camel poo, you were lucky, When I was in Antarctica, we dreamed of camel poo”. You get the picture ( and so did Monty Python).

    Ever since, I am acutely aware of When I-ing, and desparately try to stop myself. Why spoil someone else’s story by trying to better it ? In travel, RGS type circles, in sport, at work, in life. Why try to keep that bit ahead, or at least make sure everyone else knows ?

    Anyhow, I am not sure I can cap “When I was 75 days into the mid Pacific……………”

    Happy pushing south, God Speed, may the fish jump, the wind blow, the Whales visit and all be good in Doris land


  3. JG says:

    It would be a fruitless exercise for me to try a “when I” response to anything the girls write on here because nothing I have done in my life comes anywhere near what they are doing now.I am just grateful for the opportunity to read their amazing blogs and for leading me into their world where I have studied and learned so much about the Pacific ocean, it’s weather,currents, history and ecology that I didn’t know before. I am also fascinated to see how they put this expedition together and then developed it as it progressed. I am sure that the need to record and analyze everything they do and the decisions they made must help to keep their amazing enthusiasm going. Very happy to see the positive movement now. Keep safe the Crew not much further to Samoa.

  4. Katy roberts says:

    hi girls, friend of a friend of Laura’s and so captivated by your adventure.. I’ve just embarked on my own one, giving birth to Ruby, who is nearly 3 days old and currently happy feeding! So I think reading your blog at 3am will become a regular thing!

    You know when something is amazing when comparisons cannot be made.. Which for you guys should be the case every day you sit on Doris contemplating what you are doing. It is truly inspiring and I wish you all the success and memories to treasure.

    Ruby and I will make sure you are inspiring us everyday to carry on even when things get tough!!

  5. AvV says:

    Simon TY – Thank you so much for all your positive comments and encouraging words to our girls. No blog is complete without your comment. We all really appreciate your optimism. Go the girls!!

  6. As far as I’m concerned Natalia, you and the rest of the ladies on Doris are incomparable! Aloha!

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