I arrived at 6:15pm, damn, I was late!! I was suppose to arrive at 6pm. I wanted to make a good impression, which didn’t include me being late. Oh well, it’s show time!! I nervously walked up the steep creaky stairs that led me to a group of men standing at a desk. The youngest man was probably in his late 40’s and the room radiated this yellow brown glow that mimicked the Elks club my grandfather took me to as a kid. But this was no Elks club, this was the Adventurer's Club of Los Angeles.
Before Case of The Nomads was even an idea I heard a Ted Talk given by Roz Savage. Roz left her life that seemed perfect to follower her dream of becoming an adventurer. I was so taken with her story that I bought her book. This helped me (along with many other factors but too many to list here) realize Case Of The Nomads and my longing for an adventure.
In the very early preparations of Case of the Nomads I was reading Roz’s second book about her account of rowing solo across the pacific “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing” and in the back credits of the book I saw “The Adventurers Club of Los Angeles”. Holy sh*t, I thought, this is a club and it’s in LA!! Hellz yeah! I instantly looked them up and found it was a men’s only members club. But before my hopes were totally destroyed I did see that they had a ladies night I could attend.
The upcoming guest speaker on the ladies night would be Bo Keely Executive HoBo. By his bio on the Adventurer’s website it sounded to be a totally weird and unusually talk. Hot damn where do I sign up?!?! After stalking the clubs email with persistent pleads (in a very nice Midwestern way) The President of the club asked me to be his guest.
I had to wait a few weeks for the big night came around but when it arrived I blazed through my punk rock, tomboy, I don’t give a f*ck wardrobe in the hopes to find something “business casual” to wear before running out the door. It was time to go…I had adventurers to meet!!!
After I fumbled awkwardly through my check in at the Club I was introduced to Bob, then Bob and yes, another Bob. This Bob mob instantly escorted me to the tiki bar (which includes a real shrunken head, well at least that’s what Bob said). A different Bob so graciously bought me a drink and after pouring myself a steep handle of whisky I started thinking, “What the hell are you doing Casey!!! Down your booze, smile and then get outta here.” I was so nervous and totally out of my element.
Before finishing the babbling conversation within I found myself on a personal tour of the club lead by, yes, Bob. As we walked around, exploring I started to see the most amazing artifacts, photos and history. WOW, become the extent of my vocabulary. At the sit down dinner I learned that John Goddard (a world famous adventurer) was a member, another member helped with the first backpack prototype (one of the Bobs, Bob Silver) and another taught knife fighting during WWII who also happened to tap dance with the likes of Fred Astaire.
After dinner we all made our way into the Chase Hall where Bo took to the stage. He was wearing black shorts, a Hawaiian style shirt, black sneakers and wait, what it that? Fabric weights around each of his ankles? As I tried to figure out the reason behind the weights I lost my thoughts as Bo started to talk about his intriguing life.
From veterinarian school to becoming a professional racquet ball player then a teacher, author, self-publisher and hobo tour guide. He recited his life as a timeline, with little emotion and mostly facts. An opinion jumped into his speech, here or there but not often. I could see his brilliants yet he was so unusual. I was captivated but not shocked, which he slightly attempted to bring to those sitting in the room. He continued on about his current travels around the world. Hitching by boat in cannibal populated areas, his theory behind Catman Keeley and taking executes freight hoping.
An hour later Bo was finished speaking and I was waiting in line to talk with him. My goal was to connect with Bo to pick his brain about how I was going to convert my car into a live/work space plus I was hoping that he might be my first adventurer friend, well beside the Bobs. Being one of the very few women in the room, I caught his attention. As we spoke he was even more socially awkward then I had imaged him to be, which I loved. To me, this shows sincerity. I asked him why he wore weights on his ankles. He told me it was to keep up his strength when he’s not traveling. “Oh” I replied. Without asking and as if he read my thoughts, Bo wrote out his email address onto a note pad he wore around his neck. But as he wrote, he held his pen and pad so that I could read as he wrote, unable to see himself, leaving the writing almost illegible. Our plan was to meet up for coffee to talk about the travel lifestyle.
It was getting late and I was exhausted. I said my goodbyes to Bo, the Bob’s and the other members and headed home. As I drove through the darken city streets I thought about the nights events. I was blown away, inspired and after two years of feeling like an outsider while living in LA I finally felt like I belonged. I knew I was in good company, my company. Even if they were a bunch of old dudes in LA, they were my old dudes, polyester and all!!!
Since I've taken to the road both Bo Keeley and the Adventurer's Club of Los Angeles have been great supports. I am honored and humbled to call them friends. Thank you Bo and everyone at the Club, especially Shane, Vince and the Bobs.