Interview: Duran on WC-002

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WC: To start, would you mind sharing a few things about yourself… Where are you from? Professionally, what do you do?

My name is Duran Rose, I’m from a few places, I was born in Jamaica, moved to the states when I was 10 and bounced around a bit after that. I eventually landed in San Francisco for graduate school and quickly became addicted to the city and its surrounding geographical oddities. It seems to be at most two to three hours away from every outdoor activity I enjoy doing. Moving here was the best mistake I have made so far.

My professional life mirrors a bit of my nomadic life, I started out as a graphic designer, moved over to user experience design, then somehow fell into web and software development. The eventual goal is to do work with interactive art installations so there is still quite a bit of adventuring to do there. It’s been an interesting ride so far, I’m excited to see what type of shenanigans I get up to next.


WC: Why did you go on the trip?

My main reason for going really boils down to good old fashioned curiosity. I hadn’t been on a sailing trip on small crafts before and I have always been a fan of trying new things just to see how I would react to them. After returning from the trip though, I realized that I did need a bit of an escape/adventure/vacation. I hadn’t been going on enough adventure type trips lately and I was definitely in need of being disconnected from everything for a little while.


WC: How did you feel the first night of the trip? What were you thinking about?

The first night of the trip was really fun, there I was with a group of guys that I didn’t know that well on an island 30 miles off the coast sharing stories, and I couldn’t have cared less when I met them. I was just enjoying myself. So I actively tried not to think about anything other than what was happening. I always find that being present, for lack of a better word, when in the middle of a new experience, good or bad, is always a catalyst for learning something about the world, others or yourself.


WC: If you were to briefly list 5 of your most memorable WC002 experiences, what would those be?

1) The ridiculous stories we shared the first night, definite proof that the trip was going to be very memorable.

2) The amazingly long 7+  hour sail out to the island, it was such an enjoyable mis-adventure.

3) Surfing on a board that was entirely too small for me to properly control, on a wave that was definitely over my head both literally and figuratively.

4) Cutting my hand open on a sea cave wall while looking at the biggest lobsters I had ever seen. Just the process of diving into and swimming through an almost pitch black cave was amazing. I hadn’t done any snorkeling before so I was learning on the job, so the speak, that made it quite amusing.

5) Being clipped into the trapeze line, hanging off the side of the catamaran and cruising around the pacific. Probably one of my favorite moments.

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WC: What moment on the trip had the most impact on you?

I would have to say the surfing bit had the biggest impact on the rest of my trip. It was the second day and I was happy to be headed out surfing, as I hadn’t gone in a little over a month. On the way out I knew I wanted to try one of the short boards, I was actually determined to do that before we left the dock when the trip was starting. I hadn’t ridden a board shorter than 7′ 2″ before and here I was on one that was for me, significantly shorter, with a new set of interesting balance problems. The paddle out to the wave was entirely too long so I was a definitely more tired than I would have liked to be at that point, but it forced me to hang back for a bit and watch the wave and see how the other guys went about riding it, which was impressive by itself.

I had a bit of trouble figuring out the wave, but I was having too much fun, so I didn’t really care, and as far as I am concerned whomever is having the most fun at anything wins, so I was happy to struggle a bit. I eventually caught one wave for a little while before being thrown off and immediately stopped paying such close attention to what I was doing, which was a bit of a mistake. The next wave I went for was larger than the one I caught before and came up a bit sooner than I expected, but I was in a good spot so I went for it. I proceeded to stand up and noticed the nose of the board about to dig into the wave, so I tried to bail off the back but it was too late so I decided to go with it. I grabbed the board and quickly realized that I was handily in the wave now and the board was doing its job all too well and I was moving quickly towards entirely too many rocks. So the only option left was to flip the board over in hopes of slowing down a little, using it to shield me a bit and duck under the crashing wave then swim out the back. All while hoping the inevitable pull of the leash wouldn’t be enough to drag me back into the wave and onto the rocks, which would have hurt a lot. Everything worked out and I noticed after that I was entirely too calm about that whole situation and that I was laughing at myself for not paying enough attention to my situation. It never crossed my mind to be scared, and upon realizing this I was absolutely positive that being on the trip was exactly what I needed. Even if I had gotten hurt, I don’t think I would have cared, I was having too much fun. I did however use that as my queue to head back to the boat though. I was thoroughly tired after that little adventure and I still had a very long paddle ahead of me to get back to the boat. Everything in moderation I guess. Even fun.


WC: In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to disconnect.  Did you feel like you were able to detach from the ‘real’ world and just cut away?  

Very much so, I put a decent amount of effort into thinking about nothing except where I was and what I was doing for the duration of the trip. The minute we got to the dock in Oxnard I forced myself to disconnect from my life and it somehow lasted until I was back in San Francisco a few days later. It was a welcomed respite from a self inflicted life filled with programming and computer screens glowing at me all day.


WC: On any trip, there’s a plan and then there’s what actually happens.  At any point during the trip was your comfort zone challenged?

While most things worked out on the trip, I feel like a lot of it was a comedy of errors simply because things always go a little wrong on any trip especially with that many people, but it was all handled quite well. For me there were definitely a few times where I was well outside my comfort zone, but I rather enjoy that feeling and my natural response is to go further. It’s a great exercise in trying to remain calm no matter what and moving forward because everything will always work out one way or the other, plus if I let myself panic whenever I got a little uncomfortable there is no guarantee that things would work out in my favor. Take my little surfing mishap as a great example of that. I was way outside my comfort zone there, but it was all good fun.


WC: Our master WC002 chef, Chris, would love to know if what the food experience was like?

The food was nothing short of brilliant, it was almost too good, and each day it kept getting better. While I enjoyed all the meals that were prepared our last dinner was nothing short of amazing. I am admittedly not a huge fan of food, using it more for sustaining life than anything else. This is based on reasons too involved to get into here, but I have always appreciated well made dishes, and everything we had was very very well prepared. I would like to have all of it again, although not at the same time, I might die from over indulgence.


WC: There were a good amount of people on the trip, most of which were probably all strangers… How would you describe your relationship with the other WC-002 fellows at the beginning of the adventure vs. at the end?

At the beginning we were all very much in the same place. We were trying to figure out a place on the trip, how to interact with each other and how much we should or shouldn’t be helping with everything. For the most part it went well, but by the time we had launched the boats it felt like everyone had accepted that we had to figure it out as we went along. The subsequent 7+ hour trip out to the island due to lack of wind was a huge boon to the overall group dynamic. It helped everyone deal with talking to, or not talking to anyone for extended periods of time and being ok with that even though most of us didn’t know each other. It’s sometimes harder to simply be around others, especially those you don’t know well, without saying anything, but it never felt awkward, at least not for me. By the end of the trip we were all very much comfortable with each other.

I’m sure that anyone looking from the outside at our group would immediately think that were a group of old friends that hadn’t gotten together for a few years and were out for a big reunion or something of the sort.

WC: When you were hanging around the campfire at night, what one thought, idea, question or lesson was shared that really stuck with you?

One that keeps popping up was a story told by Nick Caruso, about a birthday adventure that was a little misguided. He told us this story on the first night, and while it’s not mine to tell or even paraphrase, it was wildly entertaining and well delivered, but the best part was how engaged everyone had become in the stories being shared. It was a very relaxing moment that I think we all needed.


WC: Did you feel like you achieved something while on this trip, something beyond your expectations? 

I don’t know if I would say I achieved something beyond my expectations, because I try not to expect much from any new situation. I definitely had more fun than I originally thought, but mostly I would say the trip helped to reaffirm my desire to always push myself to try new things and get a little or a lot uncomfortable in new situations. I was starting to forget that a little bit in my daily life and that has never led me to be a happy camper, I need to be challenged all the time, coasting never suited me well and I was starting to do that a bit, so this trip happened at the perfect moment.


WC: Marcel Proust once said, “Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing it with new eyes.” After going on WC-002, can you tell us how you now see your world differently?

I am definitely back to paying more attention to my surroundings, which I have always tried to do, and that level of awareness always makes the world so much more interesting. I am also pushing myself as hard as I did in years past to get better at the things I enjoy especially when they get hard. As I mentioned earlier, after the trip I realized that I had been slowly backing off of things when they started getting a bit tough and that was never really like me, so this trip served as a reminder of how I like to experience life. It was good to be able to recognize that, and even better now that I can start to correct it.


WC: In closing, would you mind leaving our friends and community with a few words of advice from a WC002 experience? 

Take as many chances as you can to get in over your head. You will never find yourself telling a story of the times something looked too hard and you decided to only do the part you were 100% sure you had under control.