Sherry Ott, by Charlie Grosso

It was a perfect September day in NYC and I am at a book signing for another travel blogger friend, Chris Guillebeau. Before he went on stage, he introduced me to a woman with pointy glasses whose eyes smiles with her and fragile brunette with elfin features. That was the night Sherry Ott and Jodi Ettenberg, ottsworld and legalnomad, came into my world.

It’s hard to pin point the moment when someone goes from being a casual acquaintance to dear friend. When is the precise moment when you go from casually dating to being in a relationship? Some where along the way in this globe trotting friendship, unsure which continent the transformation took place much less the precise moment, Sherry and I became friends, truly, friends.

It was the winter of 2010 when I saw a strange note on Facebook, posted by Sherry detailing a liability release of sort. The liability release talked about all the different ways you would lose a limb, injure yourself and suffer impossibly horrible fatal death. What is this? A thing called The Mongol Rally where you drive a small ridiculous car across a third of the world. What?! Who are you Sherry Ott? What the heck are you doing and sign me up!

I signed up for the The Mongol Rally the following year and was the only woman to complete it alone that year.

Sherry Ott is one of the most amazing women I know. A type A overachiever who spent her career in corporate retail before she decided to take a sabbatical for a year. You know what they say about letting the genie out of the cubical. She leveraged the year long sabbatical into an ongoing nomadic life style, effectively inventing a second career for herself.

She is a generous, humble soul with a propensity to over-think everything and spend a lot of time beating herself up about the never ending to do list. Never taking enough credit for all the hours she puts in and how incredibly hard she works at everything. We might be both be type A overachieves but unlike me, it takes her a while to get around to an idea. She doesn’t say yes immediately. She likes to let the idea marinate but she will come to it in her own. I had to seed the idea for The Rickshaw Run over a year in advance.

There is little that scares me (okay, babies and suburbs) and it usually doesn’t take me long to say yes to something. Sherry on the other hand, a lot scares her. Except, she will say yes anyways….and that makes her one of the most amazing woman I know.

Two women.

One inappropriate 7-horse powered auto rickshaw.

Two thousand miles across the length of India.

Adventure. Yes, that goes without saying…

But more importantly, for water. Water changes everything.

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