Wednesday, April 16, 2014


When the adventure is over, it's the most difficult, miserable parts of your journey that you find yourself retelling with a peculiar fondness and recalling with the most joy.
A few days before I left for London I posted to the Leica User Forum "meet and greet" section to see if there were any English photographers who wanted to grab a beer and wander around the city with me. In response I got a private message inviting me to the April meeting of the Globetrotter's Club at Church of Scotland where one of our forum photographers, Dan Bachmann, was giving a presentation on his trip through Georgia -- the country, not the state.

Dan's photos were beautiful, and his presentation was full of history and the culture of the Svanetti region of Georgia. However, his tales of early morning hikes couldn't compare to the raw sense of adventure presented by the other speaker, Leon McCarron.

Leon, who bills himself as a "modern-day adventurer," walked 3,000 miles from Mongolia to Hong Kong, crossing the Gobi Desert in winter, getting arrested by Chinese authorities multiple times, and producing a four-part series for National Geographic.

"Adventure" is a term that's been coming up quite frequently at our house. Working office jobs and living in the suburbs is not what Mary or myself envisioned, but as we made career choices, it just kind of happened. The idea of continuing to work the same jobs for the next 30 years in hopes to have saved enough to retire and travel is daunting. You can't do much adventuring when you only have 80 hours of vacation per year. However, the idea of giving up our good jobs that we actually like to jump into the unknown is equally scary.

There was no "purpose" to Leon's voyage. He'd been biking around the world, and one of his acquaintances invited him along on this adventure, which they were able to sell to National Geographic. They walked across China just for the sake of walking across China.

After the Globetrotter's meeting, we all migrated to a pub just down the road, and I was able to pick Leon's brain for a bit. I told him about our blog, and our hope to sail the Caribbean, but that we really didn't have any funding or following.

After chatting with Leon, I began to realize how close I was to many other "adventurers." In fact, there were two from my company doing things like sailing across the Atlantic for charity or diving under the polar ice for science.

Meanwhile, another one of our offices was sponsoring a man who was going to row across the Atlantic to raise money for mental health.

Here I am, literally surrounded by adventurers, but what have I done? Ridden my bike from Houston to Austin with 14,000 other people every year? Taken planes to Paris, London, Rome and Rio just like thousands of other tourists? Sailed back and forth from Kemah to Redfish Island 25 times?

I haven't put on my backpack or climbed a mountain in almost 15 years!

It probably didn't help things that "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" was playing on the plane when I was flying home.

That just got me further mourning the death of photojournalism and the fact that I didn't grow up to be "Sean O'Connel" or a fellow of any Geographic Society, Royal or National. 

So now the question sits staring at me, how do we resolve this lack of adventure?