Monday 2 January 2017

Brian Tracy's Sahara Crossing

Canadian-born American motivational speaker Brian Tracy never finished high school.  But he had a dream.  In 1964, he and three friends decided they were going to make the trek from the northern to the southern tip of Africa.  They had $300 to their name.  Setting out from Vancouver, they made their way across Canada to Montreal where they searched for work.  One friend threw in the towel and returned to the West Coast.  The other two found jobs and saved enough money to sail across the Atlantic to England.  Brian worked on the docks in Montreal and rejoined them later.

The threesome was determined to cycle across Europe.  However, the hills of France soon deterred them.  They made their way across Europe by train and eventually to North Africa.  There, they announced their intention of driving across the Sahara Desert.  Local Arabs said "Vous allez mourir."  However, the young Canadians refused to believe it.  They bought a Land Rover and planned their route.  They united with a band of Germans who were riding a Volkswagen bus.  Together, they set out to cross the formidable Sahara Desert.

Ignorance is bliss they say.  Such was the case with Brian Tracy and his young friends for the risks of crossing the desert were high.  They could have died of exposure within 20 minutes.  They were working against the clock.  They had to cross 500 miles within two days because that's how long their water supply would last.  If they failed to stay on the "piste", and wandered off the beaten track, they could get lost and die.  Brian recalled following the oil barrels posted at equal intervals along the route.

Obstacles kept presenting themselves:  the Volkswagen bus kept breaking down; they battled fatigue and dysentery; they risked being shot in the two countries they entered illegally.  Even so, the Canadian trio pressed on towards their goal and two days later, they made it safely to the far side of the Sahara Desert.

After Brian Tracy crossed the Sahara, he felt like he could surmount any obstacle.  The perilous journey gave him many life lessons, including:

  • every adventure begins with an act of faith
  • quitting is not an option
  • nobody makes it on their own; ask for help along the way
  • people will say that anything out of the ordinary "can't be done"; ignore the naysayers and press on towards your goal
  • take the journey "one oil barrel at a time"
  • obstacles are not to obstruct, but to instruct; learn from mistakes
Note:  For more information about Brian's Sahara Crossing, read Many Miles to Go (

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