Independence is a myth. I have an uncle who has lived in a cabin in Vermont with essentially no electricity or running water for the past 40 or so years. He’s about as off-the-grid as anyone I know (and I know there are more extreme cases), but when you peel back the layers of his life, he is still strongly reliant on other people, whether it be food, mail, tools, or what have you. Or take the story of Christopher McCandless from the book — or movie — Into the Wild. He travels deep into the Alaskan wilderness to separate himself from society, only to find how desperately lonely he was without other human beings around.
The need to belong, collaborate, create, and work together are deeply human. Society is based on our ability to work together to solve problems. Leveraging the strengths of individuals to form even stronger teams. We all have something to offer. We all have strengths. And we are much stronger … better together.
As part of the 2018 Race Across America (RAAM), Team Sea to See will be the first 8 person tandem team with all blind stokers. Each member is an accomplished endurance athlete with various accolades making RAAM seem like a progressive next step in their athletic goals. However, the team offers a deeper collective goal. To shed light on the abysmal unemployment rate which is nearly 70% among the college educated blind. The unemployment rate is the result of misconceptions within our society of what blind individuals are capable of accomplishing and contributing.
Team Sea to See aims to educate the public and inspire the visually impaired on what is possible in life both on and off the bike. Blindness does not necessarily limit strengths or ambitions. Through new technologies, collaboration, and perseverance anything is truly possible.
To read more about the team, their accomplishments and goals, I highly encourage you to visit teamseatosee.com/team. You can follow their journey, and support their mission there as well. You’ll find some amazing stories and inspirations.
Last May at the Common Man in Plymouth, New Hampshire, John gave an eloquent speech describing what their team name “Better Together” meant to him and Ann. It clearly relates to tandeming and the ability support each other while riding, but participating in RAAM is so much more. Better together is a community effort. The riders, the crew members, organizers, sponsors, fundraisers, family, friends and everyone that champions the monumental goal ahead. Better together exemplifies what’s possible when we create a community around a common goal, leverage our strengths and work our asses off.
Written by Emily Lafferty, Tandem RAAM and Team Sea to See web administrator.