When asked why he sought to climb Mount Everest, George Leigh Mallory gave a quick retort and left the room, “Because it is there.” Whether he intended it that way or not, it has echoed as profound.
Last week, Jonathan Trappe of North Carolina became the first person to cross the English Channel, not by boat or swimming, but by quiet, gas filled balloons. In interviews he explains that the channel “called to him.”
That may not be as unique a statement as uttered by Mallory, but it does get at how we are about adventure today. Despite that peaks have been climbed, deserts crossed, and oceans navigated, many of us still have the urge to do something adventurous. Trappe found something old but did it in an original way.
Trappe did not press the boundaries of aviation technology (though, maybe he did), nor was he the first person to set-foot someplace no one had ever been. He was motivated by his passion for a romantic kind of flight, and the channel stood out to him.
Moments like Trappe’s are rare nowadays. We have to find our own channel to cross and mountains to climb, and celebrate our victories by ourselves. Though a little originality seems to cross a long way.