Light House, Oregon Coast, by Charlie Grosso

An informal engagement party for a dear friend of mine. There are lots of familiar faces in the room…mid-career creative professionals ends up traveling in a tight circle in Gotham. It is not surprising when my darling friend ended up with someone I am connected to in this social web.

A couple of hours of casual conversation with friendly strangers who I am connected with professionally and socially left me with an overwhelming sense of sadness. By all calculations these people are my peers. Yet I feel entirely alien from them.

As a traveler, you get this question all the time, aren’t you afraid? They look impressed and incredulous when you say, “No, I’m not scared.” With the completion of The Mongol Rally, the perception of you is even more exaggerated. Not only are you a traveler of exotic lands, you are an adventurer, a modern day conquer. You and your life style moves further and further out into the realm of fantasy.

I feel like both a pioneer and a refugee.

Standing in a room full of people knowing that they are not your kin folk makes the heart ache a little. You fleet from the party because you’ve exhausted your quota of small talk. You stand back and you watch your friends make choices, safe and known vs everything else. Was there ever such clear moments when you made your choice? These moments are never as definitive, as clear or as loudly as we would like them to be. It’s never one single choice but a series of them, one after another. You keep on choosing. Then all of sudden, the inner circle of those who understand you and lights you up from the inside is tiny. But maybe that is okay.

On the train ride home, I wonder to myself, what would I want for my children? Would I want them to choose the safe, known and never feel out of place in the crowd of their peers? Or would I want them to chase the dream of pirates, nomads, adventures and explorers and know there will be only a few who will understand the heart of their heart and the depths of what they experience?

I honestly couldn’t say. I only know the choice I’ve made.