When I was a kid, my family and I lived just far enough outside of our little country town that taking the bus to school was a necessity. Stops to pick up the next snot-nosed kid were far enough apart that I usually ended up gazing out the window, peering into the woods that flashed by or wide-eyed at the vast fields growing the crop of the season. I’d let my mind wander, and I would imagine riding my motorcycle alongside the bus, bouncing along in the fields flying by. I didn’t want to be on my way to school. I wanted to be out there, looking for salamanders in a stream, sitting on a fallen tree whittling on a stick, and riding that bike.

Near the end of 2018, I was notified that I was selected for Rally for Rangers, Mongolia. Rally for Rangers is a non-profit whose mission is to provide reliable transportation to park rangers around the world and, in doing so, raise awareness of the environmental issues they face. I was ecstatic at the idea of combining two things I have a passion for—motorcycles and nature.

I’d be riding and camping across Western Mongolia along with 12 other riders. Prior to the trip, it was my responsibility to raise funds needed to donate one motorcycle as well as cover additional expenses such as fuel, food, and support crew. It was also recommended I learn about the local culture, the land, and its history.

The experience was challenging, exhilarating, and fascinating. The Mongolian people are remarkable, and the land is vast and beautiful. I recall more than once saying, “I’m riding a motorcycle across Mongolia!” to myself inside my helmet as I was riding. I felt like that little kid in the school bus, only this time on the two wheels I daydreamed of.