(By Jon Amtrup/story edited July 11 10.48 am) "In summary, this trip reminded me of what I could do, and not what I was incapable of doing," said Imtiaz Moosa following a life changing canoe trip down the Yukon River. Adventurer Howard Fairbanks wrote how returning to the city changed everything though.
The two met for the first time mid June in River Falls and had no idea how the trip would turn out. The mission was to paddle the Yukon River.
Imtiaz Moosa became totally blind five years ago after years of deteriorating eyesight. He has a Phd in Philosophy from University of Toronto and still teaches and does reseach. Blindness has four potentially debilitating drawbacks, Moosa wrote:
"Firstly, blindness constricts. Vision of far-reaching spaces gives one the feeling of vastness and of immensity. But in this trip I gradually built a conception of vast spaces, of openness and of immensity. In the sounds of the wind, of the many seagulls, ducks and crows, and the constant rippling of the great river I experienced vastness."
"Secondly, blindness isolates. Just as eyes are a window to human souls, so also are eyes the windows to the glorious world of color and of the vast and variegated world. But in this trip I was pulled out of my own self by the sounds and sensations of wild and free nature."
"Thirdly blindness can be alienating. It is difficult for a blind person to fully participate with what is happening all around him. Never have I felt so much at home as when I was camping and canoing on the Yukon River."
"Fourthly, blindness is discouraging and demoralizing. One is always conscious of the limitations imposed upon us by low vision, especially in a world so visual as ours. What inspires and encourages humans is consciousness of ones power. I pitched my own tent, packed my own stuff, and did my share of hard canoing. I faced the hardships, and did it well."
"In summary, this trip reminded me of what I could do, and not what I was incapable of doing," Imitiaz said.
Howard Fairbanks wrote how returning to the city changed everything though. "There was a quantum and almost instant reduction of his mobility as we took our first steps into Dawson City," he said, continuing:
"I sensed it straight away [...] the city had made us lose our equality, and somehow I could see that the city not only held no value for Imi, but created negative value [...] I could see that a new urban environment for someone like Imi, can quickly become a lonely dungeon, full of traps and hazards, but empty of meaning and purpose."
In search of real meaning, in 2004 former South African/Australian business executive and entrepreneur Howard Fairbanks opted for a simple adventure life, combining sailing, cycling and sea kayaking, all in a solo context, to explore the world and its diverse inhabitants.
Since then he has sailed and sea kayaked extensively all the oceans of the world, including 14,000 miles of solo open ocean voyages and two Atlantic crossings, aboard his 45ft yacht.
In between his ocean pursuits, he has trekked and cycled more than 25,000kms, including an Africa transcontinental expedition, Patagonia, North America, the UK, Europe, and Australia, and in 2010 he became the oldest person and the second South African to have trekked from Canada to the North Pole. Fairbanks has now turned to helping others achieve their adventure dreams.
Visit our new website