Have you heard of the famed Explorer’s Club? It’s an almost mythological temple, footnoted in hundreds of National Geographic articles. The sort of place where real-life Indiana Joneses and Lara Crofts sample rare Mongolian cheeses while discussing the best boots to wear in the Arctic or proper croc-wrestling techniques. For a Portland kid with dreams of grand adventure, it’s the Holy Land.
The way it’s told, Explorer’s Club invites are nearly impossible to score. You have to cross the Australian outback with no food or navigate the Mekong River in a traditional canoe or discover a pirate graveyard in Madagascar. But I’ve done all those things and still, no word! Then, last week, the call finally came: I was invited to go to a preview of the yearly Explorer’s Club Dinner.Not because of my merits as an adventurer, but because in 2017 even the Explorer’s Club has a PR firm.
Still, it felt like a big break — my “It’s all happening!” moment. There would be Yak meatballs! Pemmican! Rich-grained leather chairs! And then the dream was shattered. The flight was $700, the notice was short, the hotel was not covered. I crunched numbers, I searched the deepest crevasses of Skiplagged.com, but to no avail.
So what happens to a dream deferred? A humble editor offers his tickets to two writers — Zach Johnston and Kaitlyn Wylde — and hopes upon hope that they’ll savor the experience while he eats mac and cheese at home.