You may be aware that I have a rather ambitious plan to row around the world in a rowboat. Even though I’ve been thinking about it for two years, and talking about it for almost as long, it hasn’t really felt real.
Nearly a year ago, right before Covid, I traveled to the UK by myself and spent all the money I had in the world on a down payment on an ocean rowboat. I came back to the States completely broke. Yet still, it didn’t feel real.
In May, I filed paperwork with the Secretary of State, registering the name “Ellen Magellan Expeditions” as a nonprofit organization. Yet still, it didn’t feel real.
A month ago, I wrangled my dreadlocks into a business-like bun and walked into the bank and opened a business account for the nonprofit. Yet still, it didn’t feel real.
I feel like I’ve been moving my body through space and pressing buttons on my computer in just the right way to facilitate all of this, but it’s all been in my world. Everything I’ve done so far has only involved me to make it happen. This next step involves you, and that’s where it becomes real.
I need money, honey. You’ve been waiting for when I was going to ask, right?
It’s always going to be strange for me to ask for money – when I think about all the people who are struggling right now from the virus or who need money for food and shelter, it makes me feel conflicted. However, there’s nothing stopping anyone from giving money to those people – if you want to donate to a cause or an organization, or give money to that person with a cardboard sign, please don’t let me stop you. If you don’t want to give money to this cause, please don’t make me force your hand. This is just an opportunity for you to say, “Hey – I’ve been watching what you’re doing, and I believe in this.”
I’ve had many people offer me money while I’m on an expedition, though I’ve never asked. I politely decline if I don’t need it, and politely accept if I do. I’ve thought about why people want to offer me money. I think it’s the same reason River Angels and Trail Angels exist, and the same motivation behind the kindness I receive from strangers. When people see someone like me traveling in the way I do, I think they see their own dreams. Even if their dream isn’t to do what I’m doing, they see someone living their dream, and it sparks in them thoughts about their own. Have they lived their dream like this woman going by is clearly doing? It makes them curious and leaves them inspired. They want to thank me by helping me. Do you need some food, water? A shower? A place to sleep? Some cash? How can I help you? How can I possibly help this dream – you’ve reminded me of my own. Maybe that’s not accurate, but that’s what I’ve felt after receiving kindness from strangers as I travel solo with very little.
This expedition, and the things I discover out there, will benefit those who listen. You aren’t donating to me personally – I can work to pay for the things I need in my life. The idea that asking for money is as simple as asking for money is a misinformed concept. To ask for it legally, with all the paperwork with the IRS and accounting in order, is a lot of work. I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, just to ask for money the right way. I’m not employed just as a flight instructor anymore – this nonprofit is my other job, and now I’m working for you.
I don’t want to make the expedition about money, because it’s not. I want you to do something for the first time because of me. Mobilize yourself. Make physical movements to live your dream. And if I’ve helped you in some way, and you can spare the money, then a donation will go far to continue to inspire more people. I believe that if something comes from a good place in your heart, it helps others, and it is your true path, then “all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, book). By donating, you are part of the conspirators. You are a part of the Universe that touched my world.
If you’ve been following my travels and enjoyed my writings, poetry, photos, and insight, now you can show your support and help be a part of this next dream. Just because the rivers have ended, doesn’t mean there aren’t any more miles left. Let’s keep going, and see how far we can go.
I think, with the support of all you dreamers, that we can go all the way around the world.
It’s never been done, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
How impossible is your dream?
P.S. – This expedition and ensuing nonprofit opens to donations today. I’m a bit anxious because it’s quite a huge step, but I believe I’m on the right path. Special thanks to my sister-in-law Isa Garcia, who without her I would not have made it this far.