How I dealt with ‘years of myself’ in the Gobi desert
I am just back from a week in the Mongolian steppes and Gobi desert. With 12 countrymen, twelve motorbikes, and a Kazakh woman. Being a chronic solo traveller, this expedition had presented huge risks with thirteen people whom I knew almost none, had no idea on their experience of travel or life for that matter. I been immersed into creating a completely new business past eight months in a new continent with a new team, probably eating up every ounce of risk taking, creativity, persistence, ambition and perseverance that existed in my veins. I been flooded with an adrenaline rush since November last year, getting up to a new day every day where every second every move every player had to be contemplated and executed from scratch. So how did this physical strenuous activity in mongolia that involved people I didn’t know and extreme conditions fit to that state of mind?
I don’t know the answer to why but I knew it had to be. I know that the more difficult the journey was, more different of a person I ended up. Last week was a tough one. It was physically tough, yes very much so. 250 kilometers per day on average with no roads, but always on steppes, and mountain roads covered by rocks, dust, sand, canyons, no roads. We ended up with four men down—all with ankle injuries; got lost in the desert, in the steppes and in the mountains several times.
Result is fascinating. I pushed myself to belong to a group where my work or life experience didn’t matter and was not relevant. Past week, probably a hundred times, my training and primal instincts have kicked in. Years of doing things in very dangerous parts of the world where I was solely responsible for everyone’s lives, everyone’s wellbeing, comfort and success. Years of training on understanding human needs and behaviours and having alternative plans for every situation, finding solutions or enabling others who have the capacity to find those solutions. That is exactly the reason why I travelled alone for pleasure in the past. Hundreds of thousands of kilometres of roads that existed in Africa, Asia, Americas I walked, drove, biked I did it to run away from that responsibility, the responsibility to take care of others and take a deep breath to focus on myself and my observance of the world alone.
Last week, every single time my instincts kicked in— I had to deal with years of myself. I had to push myself to enjoy or live with a situation that required everything I was trained for—group survival, morale, perseverance, problem solving, support and care for others but this time do it for fun. How I fared, that only my mates can tell.