There comes a time in every man’s life when you realize you are never going to meet certain goals you set for yourself. Call it the proverbial “midlife crisis” or just a healthy dose of reality brought on by too many years treading water in the flotsam and jetsam of life. Mine came as I neared my 50th birthday, a middle-aged, ever-so-slightly graying, and only moderately successful businessperson who had always had dreams of being just a bit more than I am.
So what to do about my general malaise? One of my dreams had always been to ride a motorcycle from Cape Town to Cairo. I have always had a fascination with Africa in general, and East Africa in particular. What could be better than an epic ride splitting the continent along its Rift Valley, flanked by the Drakensberg Mountains and endless plains of wildebeest and giraffe?
Perhaps I needed to dial it down a bit. I mean, who besides some 20-something adrenaline-fueled editor of My Life Is Cooler Than Yours Monthly has time to go tearing about Africa on two wheels? I was left contemplating options that would offer an extreme experience suitable for bragging rights among my motorcycle brethren while also being exotic enough to satiate the adventurous muse that has dogged me since boyhood. Then it came to me—Namibia—silent, ghostly dry, exotic, and unconquered. Like a graying version of Walter Mitty, I set off on my own adventure to ride across the Namib Desert, or at least as much of it as a thousand bucks and five days could deliver.