Earthling habits will be back soon enough.
The arrivals take turn at the Sables d’Olonne and I am starting to see Europe. Not with the naked eye of course – I am off the coast of Brazil – but on my routing. At such a distance it isn’t very reliable but I should sail past Cape Finisterre (Spain) around February 10th and arrive in Vendée a couple of days afterwards.
The more I think about the arrival, the more I ask myself: what’s it all for?
I was lucky to have a chat with Boris Cyrulnik and, like him, I am convinced that thought is contagious, in love as it is in hatred. He quotes the Weimar Republic which is an example of a society open to arts, to the relationship with the other and which collapsed after Hitler’s investiture. Today, we live in a dominant current, which is one of self-absorption.
Speeches of hatred and fear are increasingly relayed on social media, in the media, and they continue to increase with the presidential election. If we disagree with these speeches – i.e. in my case – it is essential to speak up. It is our responsibility. Those who disseminate fear are very well organized and there is no need for talent or intelligence to spread these messages.
When I launched the project STANDASONE, I asked myself if I was legitimate enough to carry a positive speech. I was telling myself that others were probably better off than me but still, I had to take action. We must all take part and I hope that STANDASONE is the first stage of a rocket to share this message.
“What will be a success for me, won’t be my position, nor the duration of the race or anything, but to watch this flame light up in others.”
The enthusiasm and the shares on social media make me optimistic. There are already more than 60,000 people moved by this speech and I also think of the readers of La Croix. I think that I have a role to play to reverse this tendency to self-absorption.
I experienced these surprises, these discoveries of differences and I want this to happen to other people. I don’t know yet what will happen after the Vendée Globe. I don’t want to think about it but there will be an after and it won’t be a new Vendée Globe. It will be something different. One thing that is for sure is that there will always be emotion and the debate on differences. Isabelle Autissier, of whom I am a great admirer, inspires me. She always accomplished what she wanted in sailing and today, she writes, acts in the theater and presides the WWF. She takes part in the city life and she still manages to go away 3 months per year in the southern seas. What a woman!
I have around 15 days left at sea. I am totally disconnected from current events. I know that the primary elections from the left are taking place now but I am not interested in them at all. I watch the birds, the ocean and I don’t want to dedicate a single fragment of my brain to the news. These are earthling habits and I know that they will come back soon enough after my return.
Éric Bellion on the Vendée Globe, 26th January 2017