I just finished reading a book that takes the cake when it comes to "type 2 fun adventures". In Tim Cope's book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan, he recounts his 3.5 year journey from Mongolia to Hungary (a measly 10,000km)...on horseback! Tim is Australian, yet feels an intense draw towards experiencing the life of a nomad. The Mongol Empire was the largest in history. The nomadic warriors rode horseback through anything from extreme heat and cold across the endless steppe to sketchy mountain passes in modern day Ukraine and Hungary. So, roughly 800 years after the fact- why not attempt the journey again (minus the mass killing)?! Tim thought it was a good idea. The book took me almost a year to read- I put it down for about 6 months, because I got so frustrated with all the red tape that delayed Tim's journey. It's safe to say I would never have the patience to attempt anything like Tim did. Despite the frustrations, the book really changed me. Here are my 3 big take-aways:
1) Never ever give up! Ok, we've heard this for ages- but reading a story like this one makes you actually believe it. Tim planned for his journey to take 18 months; it ended up taking 3.5 years. In an interview, he recalls the moment where he surrendered himself to the trek. He likened the moment to the saying, "if you have to rush somewhere in life, be sure to rush slowly". The journey was in control. not Tim. On numerous occasions, he gets held up for months at a time. In Kazakhstan, he was stuck in a washed up oil rig town (for 3 months) due to extreme winter weather and illness. And at practically every country border, he was held up by bureaucratic rules about transporting animals. Somehow, he always found a way to keep going. Just keep going. one. step. at. a. time.
2) Animals are truly amazing. Through the majority of Tim's journey, he travels with 3 horses and one dog. I literally became obsessed with his dog, Tigon, and almost cried when I learned he was initially not able to bring the dog back to Australia. He describes how the animals became his family. They were with him all day, every day; gave him purpose; and gave him strength he didn't know he had to finish the trek. I love my cat, but I SO want a dog! You'll be happy to know, Tim had a fundraiser in Australia to raise the necessary $10,000 (yea you read that right) to bring Tigon to Australia.
3) There is no I in TEAM. Without the help of countless individuals along the 10,000km journey, Tim would most certainly have headed for home within days of starting. Strangers fed him, took care of his animals, set him up with guides through rough terrain, and doled out invaluable advice. He still keeps in touch with many of the individuals who made his journey possible. I am so the type of person absolutely convinced I can plow through anything with no help from anyone. I don't want to burden others, and I see receiving help as a sign of weakness. When I'm backed into a deep dark corner and am forced to seek out help, I'm always amazed by how much easier the task is with help. Success in life boils down to hard work, persistence, and building a team around you.