Death. A bone jarring occurrence that can cause us to take stock in our lives, shake things up, and live for that day. Several of these came in close succession including some people our own age. The realization that you are starting to be susceptible to older age diseases was just another reason pushing us out the door while still physically fit enough to truly explore the landscapes of the world. To escape the beaten path. To climb, hike, run, and camp. Using the diversity of the lands to teach us about the diversity, but also the sameness of people around the world. Climbing sand dunes in the Namib desert, mountaineering and trekking across the Great Himalaya Trail through Nepal, trekking the coastline of Turkey or across the top of the island of Corsica, running around Mont Blanc through three countries, and camping amongst the Lesotho tribesman across the Drackensberg escarpment. These places taught us that despite the vastly different cultures of these places, some things were the same. That a smile, a laugh, and a thumbs up are cross cultural. That everyone hopes for a better life for their children. That people are overwhelmingly good. Not all, but most. Seeing sights and landmarks of the world, doing scattered veterinary relief work along the way, and being outdoors as much as possible. From death comes an incredible life.
Kathleen Egan and husband John Fiddler are true grass-roots adventurers who have recently returned home after 2.5 years abroad.