I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the world in my relatively short life. I’ve hiked, camped, climbed, and adventured plenty on most of the continents. I’ve gone to some pretty remote places and seen some pretty remarkable stuff, but I’ve rarely been as connected to the earth as much as I’ve been in the past week. Being plucked from my daily life, the mayhem of a modern age, and then dropped into a boat with a handful of other guys on the open ocean, partly in the name of adventure and exploration, but more poignantly perhaps in the name of togetherness, and of shared, limited resources really, really hits home.
And that’s exactly Mike Horn’s goal. With the Pangaea project (a word that takes its name from the single land mass that was Earth before its continents divided) Mike Horn and his sponsor Officine Panerai seek to educate and create an experience that intimately reminds everyone that comes on board–through a highly competitive, selective process–that we are all in this together. Whether he’s hosting his youth education program with kids from every continent, or he’s hosting dignitaries and world leaders on board, Mike shrinks the world into a 105 foot boat, and everyone aboard must share and collaborate around consumption of food, water, energy–and dealing with waste–without a choice.
Mike says of himself, “I’m not a tree hugger. This is about our ability to live on this Earth and follow our own dreams, whatever they might be.” The Pangaea project is clearly more than a boat and an environmental message. In just a handful of days on board, I’ve learned that Pangaea is about creating and sharing a vision–it’s a manifestation of embracing individual creativity and expression while living amidst one another and the world. From simply “living your dreams” to pragmatically having enough space, food, water–and specifically sustainable energy–to make such living possible in the most practical terms, there is clearly work to be done. And while it’s not always easy to motivate, the results are unequivocally worth the effort.
There’s no two ways about it: in the most acute manner, the Pangaea is a magical metaphor for the world. On one hand, it’s a living, breathing reminder that we need to act sustainably around our basic human needs. On the other hand, we must do so not simply for the sake of having a cause, but rather to provide for us a place–and a framework–where we can live out our dreams.
We are often conditioned through our daily lives to dispose of our dreams as unrealistic. My experience on board Pangaea has already transcended my own documentary photography and filmmaking ambitions into a bigger theme of pure inspiration. Whether our dreams are about creating our next image or film–or deciding, like Mike has, to continually circumnavigate the world as a fearless adventurer on foot, boat, or bike–we should all be reminded that our dreams should not be tossed aside. In fact, they should be the primary things for which we live.
Based on modern life expectancy numbers we each have–on average–around 30,000 days to live. I recommend doing your own math and calculating what you’ve got left.