Day 20 (2014-06-26)

Landscape image: At the edge of the sea band with a free horizon. 
Weather: Cloudiness 6/8, easterly 6 m/s 
Distance: 15 km 
Average distance: 28 km 
Total distance: 565 km 
Position: Gåsören 
Health/feelings: Today my bottom aches. I have no blisters or chafes but I prefer using a cushion while sitting down. 

Today is my 40th birthday. A day that id like to fill with gratitude and contemplation over he past years. The boar is a real success here in Finland. I think Wim who's made the boat can count on more orders. It is not least the beauty of the boat that impresses. The feeling of rowing is magical and when I take a resting day I actually long back to the boat and rowing more. After breakfast with Octavie and her family we went down to the boat for goodbyes. I then told them that it's my birthday and they sang Happy Birthday while I rowed out towards the open sea. I had been tipped about an osprey nest and sure enough I saw the bird there. Since it was my birthday today I wanted to fin an island far out with solitude and room for contemplation. It's so nice to be rid of all the fuss and all the preparations, and just enjoy my birthday in the best possible way. Alone on a wonderful island with razorbills, seagulls, seals and a free horizon. I think that my friend Hans, the section leader for kayaking in Friluftsfrämjandet Knivsta had been marvelled over the beauty and the free water expanses out here. I feel an incredible gratitude to my wife and family who accept and make the fulfilment of these dreams possible. Rowing to Russia is a dream coming true and I can't imagine a better 40th birthday present than being out here. Thinking about you... 

Thoughts about life: We think we have plenty of time, until one day realising the opposite. We count on aging and dying of old age. We count on accidents and disease only affecting everyone else. Until something one day pulls away the curtain and we stand face to face with death. Hopefully death slips away and we get a new chance to take look at the time we have. Now I have lived for 40 years and I an grateful for these years. Maybe I wont get older. Who knows when my time has come. Therefore I am almost astonished and happily surprised when I am given a new year. I now live every year as if it were my last because that can actually be the case. I remember when I planed and dreamed about what I would do when I retire. I thought that I can fulfil my dreams then. Time is not unlimited and cannot be taken for granted. If you have dreams, there is only one time to fulfil them and that is now. There really doesn't exist anything else than now and there are no guarantees. Live life, don't wait for live. Dare to risk everything to time and time again fulfil the goals of your dreams no matter what they look like to you. 

Equality: The guilt and shame. Guilt is a feeling you get for something you have or haven't done. Shame is felt for your own persona. Often you get both these feelings when you are exposed to a crime or assault. You think, wrongly, that the blame is on yourself for what you did or didn't do or for what you said or didn't say. Regardless of all that, the entire blame is always on the offender. Especially young people take on the guilt and blame when they are victims of a crime. It gets even worse when they in the court of law are asked about their actions, clothing choices, drinking habits or previous sexual experience. Questions like that are only brought up when it comes to sexual crimes. The victim gets raped yet again. This time by the Swedish justice system. An eye-opener and probably also the primary reason to why I dedicated this adventure to equality, is the book "Flickan och skulden" ("The girl and the guilt") written by Katarina Wennstam. Read it! It should be a mandatory read for everyone. The best way of getting rid of the guilt feelings is to report and talk about what you've been exposed to. There is no guilt or shame in being a victim and if we don't report it, others will be exposed too. You are probably just a victim in the row of other victims.