In 2010 we criss-crossed the United States in a marathon drive that covered over 10,000 miles and encompassed 25 states in 46 days. We called it our “Great American Roadtrip” —- a multi-faceted nomad adventure to re-discover the mythical “real America” we’d always heard about.
It started out simple enough —- the old “wouldn’t it be fun to…” kind of idle chat between two friends on a lazy summer afternoon.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to take the Jeep and drive Route 66 to California…”
Between us, we had a lot of travel experience and after years of working in conflict zones around the globe, a simple old-fashioned “road trip” across the U.S. would be easy. Or not…
In fact, the project grew way beyond Route 66, and took almost a year of planning and preparation. But it was worth it! Living out of the Jeep for six weeks, we traversed history and culture, immersing ourselves in the legends and realities of the ephemeral “American dream.” We delighted in the iconic natural beauty that defines different regions of this country. We got silly and had fun…
It was inspirational. Then it was over. But a seed was sown…
My introduction to the Sahara came through my work as a photojournalist and filmmaker in 2003, when I visited a small corner of this massive desert. I would return several times, and eventually we both made the journey as a team.
It’s challenges are primal. It tests us and it proves us at the same time. It’s harsh beauty has the power to inspire, to motivate, to push us forward. And it draws us back.
One day while driving through a sand storm in Arizona it became acute. The searing sand revealed visceral memories of the Sahara. And then I learned about the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles.
In 2013, we decided to come together as Team USnomads to take part in this incredible challenge. Though neither of us had any professional racing experience, we were confident we could learn how to drive the jeep across the Sahara using only a map and a compass for guidance. And so a year later, in March 2014, we will be there in Morocco as Team 171, ready to “run with the Gazelles.” (Wish us “Luck”…)