Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to introduce you to people I met while living overseas.  You met Hans Kozienski and Loui Rotter who were friends but had flown against each other in World War II.  You were introduced to Tom O’Rourke, Chopper pilot in Nam, Bell test pilot and had to slip out over the mountains when Iran collapsed when he lived there.  Bill Sime was recently highlighted.  A member of the British SAS and French Foreign Legion, Bill was a legend within the offshore project organization.  As diverse and different these men were they all had one thing in common; adventurism.

Many people move overseas to live and work.  The reasons for the movement are numerous; salary, chance to travel, working conditions and experiencing something new are a few reasons to leave America to work abroad.  Many people go but the one common denominator that the true long term expat possesses is a sense of adventure.  Today we live in a world of instant communication and this reduces the anxiety of living abroad.  Prior to the Internet it really took a unique person to uproot and move overseas.  There was a story of a teacher that was relocating to Arabia to work.  She walked to the open door of the plan in the middle of summer, took one breath as the hot desert air hit her and returned to the plane and declared she is going home.  Some workers lasted from one to four years but that unique individual that is declared to be an expatriate would go on year after year and eventually experienced more culture shock when returning to the United States than when moving to a foreign country.

It was this sense of adventure that built our country.  This desire to explore, to build and to search for answers to unanswered questions is a part of the American psyche.  It is who we are and is a part of our genetic make-up.  People are individuals and this extends to the amount of adventure that a person is willing to pursue.  Of all the people I knew in Arabia none embraced the true nature of Adventurism as much as Todd Marlott.

When I arrived in 1978 Todd had been there for a year or two.  He was polite, non-confrontational but very dedicated, focused and stern in his work.  We talked one day and he told me that he had been a marine in Viet Nam; not just a marine but a recon marine.  This was the counterpart to the Navy SEALS.  He had returned to his home state of Washington where he got his degree in Construction Management and then went on to get his Masters of Business Administration.  When he arrived in Arabia Todd would seek adventure outside of his normal work in a foreign country.  He was a runner and this led to him and two other to train for the Iron Man competition in Hawaii.  This was the original Iron Man and entrance was not as stringent as today.  He entered not one but several of these and finished in all.

He loved to SCUBA dive, was an authorized instructor and taught it in the evening in Dhahran.  His intense instruction method led people to caution potential dive candidates that they were not in for an easy ride to certification.  He would be on many dive trips around the world that originated from Dhahran and everyone enjoyed his free spirit on these adventures.

Todd also enjoyed trekking trips and pictures are around of his trips to the Himalayas and his ice clad beard while he stayed at base camps on Everest.  He was the true expatriate that embraced the spirit of the likes of China Gordon, Roy Chapman Andrews and Ernest Hemmingway.  Intense, fun loving, enquiring spirit and one who wanted to live life and not be one to sit back and observe other people living life.  He wasn’t one to sit on the porch.  He ran with the big dogs.

I had not heard from Todd since leaving Arabia but due to Facebook I was able to reconnect.  He never married and had no children and unfortunately a year ago he died without the love of a spouse next to him.  Like his life, his ashes were buried next to his family in a cemetery in Washington on a cold, wet wintery day.  His Facebook page said there would be a memorial sometime in the summer when the weather cleared.  A sad end for such an adventurer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s