So far, she has rowed nearly 5,500 miles of the Pacific and spent more than 200 days at sea during the first two stages of the trip. But the "rowing is almost a means to an end," Savage told CNET in a recent interview.
Her true mission is an environmental one, and it came to her before the idea of rowing oceans did.
Her first attempt to row across the Pacific was cut short in summer 2007 when bad weather caused her boat to capsize a few times less than two weeks into the trip.
Look for the solar panels on her 23-foot boat, the Brocade, behind her.
Savage expects the final stage to be the toughest one yet--navigationally because of the strong winds and lots of little islands in the way, and psychologically because from the get-go the pressure will be on to just keep rowing. "No guilt-free rest," she said.
When on dry land, Savage's calendar is often filled with speaking engagements. Her audiences have included schoolchildren, who she says ask some of the best questions--ones that adults are often wondering but don't dare ask, like how she goes to the bathroom.
"They ask some really mature questions," she said. "They actually seem to relate to the psychological side of it and I think that's the commonality. There are so many things that human beings have in common. We all need food to eat, water to drink, we want a good night's sleep, and we want to be happy. And so I think those kind of form the core of most people's questions. Because they wonder how can I fulfill those needs when I'm on this little boat."
Savage says she's always trying to find ways to connect with people. "I think if we can bring the environmental message back to how it relates to those core needs then I think that's a much stronger way to go."
One night in London years ago, back when she was still trudging to her office job, Savage sat down and wrote two obituaries. The first described the person she wanted to be. The second described the life she feared she was headed for if she didn't make a change.
"I did have that moment when I crossed the equator last year when I thought back to it. And I just thought, wow, I've more or less turned into that person that I wanted to be," Savage said. "I was quite proud of that because it so easily could not have happened. It was that fork in the road and I took the scary-looking one. But it's been so worthwhile. And I'm so glad that I was just miserable enough with my own life that I chose to do that."
For the third stage, in addition to posting blogs, once a week she'll shoot a video, which will be uploaded via satellite phone. ("I've got the world's worst bandwidth.") Also, she'll continue her regular podcast series on TWiT.
"I'm hoping that that's going to catch on and be a much more affirming way of tackling these challenges," Savage said. "I'm not into the fear-mongering and the doomsday scenarios because I've been out on the ocean and felt overwhelmed by the scale of a challenge. And it absolutely made me slump into despondency and depression. And it's de-energizing. Whereas I find crossing milestones as I'm rowing and ticking off the numbers very energizing, very motivating," she said.