As a shy, low-key copy editor for a Cleveland newspaper, the last thing Robert Manry appeared to be was an eccentric risk-taker. But the guy harbored a phenomenal dream of retracing the immigration route of his European ancestors to America—so, he set his sights on sailing from Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Falmouth, England. For less than a few hundred dollars, Manry purchased a thirty-year-old sailboat that measured only thirteen and a half feet in length. He spent several months refurbishing his little boat and practicing his sailing skills on Lake Erie to prepare for his voyage. To avoid hearing discouraging words from any naysayers, he only shared his plans with his wife. On his day of embarkation on June 1st, 1965, Manry kissed his wife goodbye and set sail on the 3,200-mile voyage. He tied himself to his boat, in case he encountered rough seas that threatened to toss him overboard—which turned out to be a wise precaution, because he was thrown from the sailboat, several times, by storm-tossed waves.
To make matters even more difficult, he had to stay awake at night to avoid entering the shipping lanes. With his sleep limited to daytime naps, he became delirious and exhausted, yet still he sailed onward. Seventy-eight days later on August 17th, he sailed into the harbor at Falmouth, England to a reception of over twenty thousand people who had heard about his remarkable feat. Because of his outstanding achievement, one U.S. congressman submitted a bill to place Bob’s boat, "Tinker Bell," next to Charles Lindbergh's aircraft "Spirit of Saint Louis" in the Smithsonian Institute. When asked why he would attempt such an incredible challenge, Manry simply answered, "There comes a time when one must decide either to risk everything to fulfill one's dream, or sit for the rest of one's life in the backyard."
Within the heart of hearts resides a deeply held yearning to experience a quest so intensely profound that it makes one feel exquisitely alive. But experiences of that caliber, more often than not, come on the tails of great sacrifice, if not a breathtaking encounter with terrifying uncertainty. Bob Manry’s did! Would you be willing to take a risk of that magnitude to act upon your vision and dreams? Would you be willing to ignore the pessimistic “we’ve never done it that way before” crowd—and set sail in pursuit of this wonderfully daring and dangerous adventure called life? Or as Manry put it, will you simply be content— yaaaaawn—with “sitting for the rest of your life in your backyard?”
People throughout history, who have left their footprints in the sands of time, were driven by a passion greater than their desire for personal comfort. They were much more concerned with standing out than fitting in. You may possess great potential, yet fail to move past good intentions—unless you are willing to stretch beyond your comfort zone to experience the exotic fullness of successful living. Go for it!