After spending seven weeks in a tiny un-air conditioned car, driving 11,000 miles through 18 countries and eight time zones, Scott Gurian ’01 and his brother, Drew, arrived in Ulan Ude, Russia, the finish line of the Mongol Rally.
And it was...a little underwhelming.
“[The experience] was more the incredible journey itself,” Gurian said. “Visiting all these places that the average person doesn’t get to see.”
That journey included driving their Nissan Micro through five mountain ranges and several deserts, across unpaved roads, and occasionally through small rivers. Traveling through Turkey just six days after an attempted political coup. Getting stuck at the bottom of a canyon in Mongolia, and needing to text the American Embassy via satellite to send out a rescue team. In Iran, being invited to drink tea with people who had never before met Americans—people who turned out to be “the friendliest people in the world,” Gurian said.
Throughout all of those miles and experiences, Gurian, a Peabody Award–winning journalist who previously worked for public radio stations around the country, was recording audio—audio that he has since turned into 22 episodes for his podcast, Far from Home.
“It is really great to bring other people along—people who might never dream of going on a trip like this,” Gurian said. “Audio is intimate. You can just close your eyes and you can feel like you’re there.”
Although Gurian “fell into radio by chance” after studying television and video, the Visual and Media Arts major said he enjoyed Emerson’s creative atmosphere as a student. “It was very different than any place I’d ever been,” he said. “Everyone says, ‘Oh, Emerson students are so creative.’ And they really are.”
And while he regrets not taking advantage of all that the College had to offer then, he said he’s hopeful for today’s students. “There are so many opportunities now. So much in the world has changed making travel easier and cheaper,” he said. “And for people like me, opportunities to do the work that I do—by themselves with a laptop and an Internet connection. It’s really exciting.”
To listen to Gurian’s adventures, visit farfromhomepodcast.org.
Originally written by Charna Mamlok Westervelt for the Spring 2019 issue of Expression Magazine. (Photography by Drew Gurian)