My mood is very reflective today. This is due in part from lack of sleep from high 30 degree nights and lots of people making noise in the campsite. Each morning, a donkey sounds off around 4:30 and I haven’t been able to get back to sleep. Still, I’m very grateful to be where I am in this moment.

I’ve met some incredible souls during my visit at the Overland Expo. Those who are homeless and glad for it to shed themselves of material trappings to see the world with a different lens. To live in the moment and some for weeks, months and many years. They talk of their encounters in foreign lands that seems too scary to enter, but come home as Central American and worldwide evangelists who have had nothing less than the royal treatment–Mexico especially. All countries are represented, but not many people of color are here.

The networks that have been established are strong. Many of the travelers have crossed paths in other countries after their first meetings. I reckon that’s due to their similar aims and similar paths they travel.

Those who have made it a point to volunteer as they go seem to have the most enriching experiences. Working with children, rebuilding infrastructure in poor communities, using their skills to teach and inspire. It is definitely inspiring to me. I’m in awe of their courage and charter to take each day, slog through the miles to see smiling faces that want them to remain in their communities once they’ve contributed.

Sustaining a lifestyle on the road is hard work, but their passion drives them to capitalize on their trips or take long “working breaks” as one gent called it, so return to the road and live with the global community.

In a small two week period, I’m also trying to do this. Impossible to volunteer like they have, but I’m sure next year’s vacation will include some of the fine organizations I’ve met here so my vacation has powerful impact and not just the sole pursuit to relax on a beach–unless its after a hard day of giving to others.

Saturday night, the premier of Mondo Sahara was shown, and their hope was to inspire to seek out lesser roads untraveled. With most of the main paths tarred, this sect of travelers are taking their travels off road.

Sunday, Sterling Noren premiered his Colorado back roads (COBDR) motorcycle movie. This is one of a growing series of films that show the back roads in the US. He and his crew just finished filming the Arizona back roads which will be shown this winter. Again, another group trying to find the road less traveled and are difficult for the inexperienced to cross.

As I watched the COBDR movie with Tad and Gaila, they said we’d travel through similar routes. I’m a novice off roader and don’t look forward to the crashing that comes with taking the back roads. Plus, I don’t have a lot more time to take my time. With one week left, I’m feeling pressure to turn back home. I don’t want to rush them. Once we get to Prescott, AZ today, I’ll need to motor on solo. Not ideal, but they should also have this time to spend their last two weeks figuring out their next moves and spending quality time together before the throng of family and friends come calling and they’ll miss their peace they have in their wilderness camps.