Rob Kolenc lost many friends he worked with in the financial field on 911. It changed his life.
“I was trying to live a sensible life. Why not live life as an adventure, I asked. It was disrespectful to not do meaningful things or live life to the fullest. I’d always wanted to ride a motorcycle and 911 was the impetus. Since then my motto has been to make every day awesome.
“Earlier this year, Alex, my middle child, was about to head off to university and I wanted one more epic adventure to share before he went off doing his own thing. The Gobi Discovery tour was an opportunity to spend amazing time together building incredible memories. The riding was more challenging for me than Alex but it was the best time we’d ever had together. I’d recommend it to any parent.
“As we got out of the city and closer to the Gobi Desert, we saw our first camel in the distance. By the end of the trip we’d seen many, as well as lots of other wildlife. We’d ridden through herds of sheep and had a day with wild horses galloping beside us. With no fences, we rode like the wind!
“It was great to share the physical adversity—heat, challenging riding, and close calls in the loose stuff. We’ve both done things most other people in the world have not. Going through that together pulls you closer.
Rob and Alex enjoyed hanging out in the yurts with nomadic families. “They’re not dressing up for us or putting on a show. They’re riding horses and eating mutton every day. And they’re happy!
“I’m told that the average Mongolian makes about $400/year, yet these people, children and parents, are so happy and kind. It was a reminder not to spend my life chasing the almighty buck. One day you’re old and you realize the money’s not important. Family, friends, and experiences are, and that’s where I want to spend my time.
“Alex definitely saw that people can have so little and be so happy. They have all they want and need and don’t have to go to a job they don’t like. When you see poverty and adversity and recognize it’s not a bad thing, it changes your perspective on what’s important.
“I felt like the trip with my son corrected a bunch of parenting mistakes I’d made over the years and gave me some credit back for being a good dad.
“He’s now launching in life. Where else do you get a chance for your kid to socialize with adults in an intimate environment and do difficult things cooperatively with a group of men and women? Playing with adults, listening to their stories and hearing what they’ve discovered was something I wanted him to experience. You don’t get that going to Daytona Beach with your eighteen-year-old buddies.
“Everyone should go to a place where there’ s struggle. When I got home, I was SO grateful to have my beautiful shower in my bathroom with abundant hot and cold water. Trips like this reboot that you’re a fortunate person.
“Another thing I realized after this trip is that I want a lot more of this kind of thing in my life. This is where amazing experiences happen that you can look back on when you’re old. That’s an incredible investment.”
Photo credits: Rob Kolenc