I’m furious. I’m angry. No, I actually want to cry. Why? Because I’m feeling left out yet again. Over our morning coffee, Gunter pointed out to me yet another article about the baby boomers, “The Generation that Changed the world.” By the end of 2014, every boomer will be 50 or over. This time, the article is in AARP, that magazine that arrives mysteriously in the U.S. mail when a person turns 50, at the height of his or her earning power, barely thinking about retiring. The magazine is the voice of the American Association of Retired Persons. Always and forever, the attention is placed on that huge generation that began in 1946, at the close of World War II, and ended in 1964.  Last Sunday, Parade magazine carried an article about Jane Pauley’s monthly TV special and her recently released book, “Your Life  Calling, Reimagining the Rest of Your Life.”

I grab the AARP article and read it voraciously, searching for any mention of my generation. Of course, there is none. The article blithely skips from The Greatest Generation—who was “lost all the time” with no GPS in their cars and having to understand the Dewey Decimal System to look things up—to speculating how Generation X and the Millennials will run the world.

It is as if my generation, 1929-1945, never existed! Leaving us out is more insulting than not even having a name! A few have named us. They call us “The Silent Generation.” Apparently our voices were overtaken by all those screaming babies! In a scholarly study published in 2008, we are called “The Lucky Few.”


Some of us gained international fame: Elvis Presley, Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King, Sandra Day O’Connor, Colin Powell. Others of us broke through glass ceilings to allow the big rush of baby boomers to storm through. I remember sitting in the main conference room of a Fortune 500 corporation, the only woman, waiting to present the business strategy for my department. I had to endure the slow slide of the foot of the V.P. sitting next to me inching up my leg. I pretended not to notice. He didn’t believe in women in the Board Room and wanted to throw me off my game.  While attending a conference in Washington D.C., the only woman in the audience, the speaker joked that “women belonged in the kitchen.” Overcoming adversity, we businesswomen took it all in stride and marched forward, paving the way.

Perhaps we are indeed lucky. We “silent few” have always been the scouts, the forerunners. It is we who were the big brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles who showed the way to this huge crop of baby boomers! When I retired from business as CEO of a publicly held company, I reinvented myself by sailing around the world with my husband on a 43-foot catamaran.  During our eight-year circumnavigation, I noticed that many fellow cruisers were paving the way for a new, less-consumptive lifestyle—one that values the great outdoors, yet leaves a clean, pollution-free wake. With my “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” book series, I have reinvented myself yet again, so that I can share that rewarding lifestyle with those who follow. And because I’m of that “lucky generation,” I can demonstrate that it works. I’ve already “been there, done that.” And I vow to be silent no more!

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the way in which you yourself have altered.”  Nelson Mandela

This quote begins the last chapter of my new book, In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: MAIDEN VOYAGE.  In that chapter, called “Re-entering and Re-evaluating our Lives,” I tell how Gunter and I returned back to our home in San Diego to find everyone in a hurry and no one living in the present.  We had changed, but they had not.

That experience is a common one: the adventurer—whether traveling by land or sea—returns back to his or her homeland to realize how he or she has changed internally.

Apparently, that experience is not universal.  I was surprised to read obituaries published this year about the solo circumnavigator, Dodge Morgan, who died this year at 78, of complications from cancer surgery. Captain Morgan was the fourth person in history, and the first American, to complete a solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the globe. Piloting a  high-tech, 60-foot, custom sailboat, he shattered the world speed record, arriving in Bermuda on April 11, 1986, only 150 days after he departed.

His was a challenging physical adventure.  His boat, American Promise, a mono-hull, righted itself after 11 knock-downs. Once, a gale pushed his boat 175 miles with no sails up.  But the extreme challenge was the psychological part, a test of Captain Morgan’s ability to withstand the solitude of the seas for 150 days. He returned to a hero’s welcome, and contrary to one scenario the psychologists imagined, he did not crack up or become delusional. But, according to the story in The New York Times magazine, Dec. 27, did the trip transform Captain Morgan into a more humble or compassionate person.  “Within a few years, his marriage to Manny Morgan (his second wife), foundered. ‘If anything, he came back more demanding,’ she recalled….Somehow, it came as a surprise to all that someone could take a life-threatening trip around the world, return to the same spot and find himself right where he started.”

Change came to Captain Morgan, but slowly.  “In time, maybe because of the voyage, or maybe because of the same mundane voyage every person makes, he softened and grew closer to his daughter, Kim, and communicated more openly with his son, Hoyt.”

So why did personal change come to us, and to all the circumnavigators we know personally?  I think that the difference may be in the scope and depth of our circumnavigations.  None of us set out to break any records in speed or endurance.  We sailed to see and to experience the world!  Yes, one essential part was enduring (yet loving) the challenge of the sea in all its moods. But that was only one leg of a three-legged stool. The second was to live alongside and to understand the shared humanity of the many peoples and cultures we visited. And the third was to experience nature at its finest all over the world.  That includes far more than the sea; it includes the interaction of the sea on the land: the sandy beaches, the rugged cliffs.  Nature includes the birds, the sea life, and all the mammals in diverse countries from orangutans to kangaroos and platypus. One cannot experience so much of God’s creation first-hand without being humbled.

the November 26, 2010 New York Times headline claims:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/science/earth/26norfolk.html

And believe you me, from traveling around the world, I know firsthand that these headlines from NYT get picked up by the newspapers of countries everywhere.  They cannot afford to do their own original research. So they simply repeat the dogma. But the editors put these headlines to make a political point, and NYT has always been on the bandwagon of man-made catastrophic climate change. So this fits their agenda.

So what is the truth behind the headline?  Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring. The result is that Norfolk has experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast — 14.5 inches since 1930, according to readings by the Sewells Point naval station there.

Amazing isn’t it?  NORFOLK is the only city to experience this high water increase in the sea level on the entire East coast. Think about it.  My husband, Gunter, the physicist, says that “mother nature must have designed a new system for gravity and how water seeks its own level.”  I wonder what that is. The new theory must be that the water in this particular area of the ocean is “X” inches higher than the water in the adjacent but SAME ocean a few hundred miles away!  Call it “Y.”  You can conduct your own experiment:  Just fill a pan partway with water.  Add some stones, or just add a few kitchen utensils.  Now watch the water rise.  Then mark another stone or utensil NORFOLK. Does the water around it rise more or does the water rise evenly all inside the pan?

One has to wonder if the problem is that it’s NOT the water rising, BUT the LAND sinking, but I guess that logic does not fit into the global environmental alarmists’ theory that the sky is falling.

Have the so-called “science writers” gone crazy?  From the article: “We are the front lines of climate change,” said Jim Schultz, a science and technology writer who lives on Richmond Crescent near Ms. Peck. “No one who has a house here is a skeptic.” Politics aside, the city of Norfolk is tackling the sea-rise problem head on, the article emphasizes.

I’ll bet they are.  And they should, if their land is sinking.

Islands are indeed sinking in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean.  This happens because most of them are coral atolls, and as they age, the land sinks. But the ocean levels do not rise just around them—only in their part of the sea. Think back to the pan experiment.

Those of you who are interested in geography and science can investigate this further by going to the diagram on my website in the story: “The Enlightened Environmentalist at http://www.pacificbliss.com/journal182.html You can go on to read the true story of Melanesian Carteret islanders, touted as the first global warming refugees by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting System) and later picked up by BBC and CNN.  And then continue to Part III of the story to find what Gunter and I discovered about the “sinking islands” of the Maldives, where they mined their coral reefs for construction material.

New York Times: get with it!  Don’t ask us to defy logic. As Barnum supposedly said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”