IN BETWEEN pushing himself to the limit with bold adventures, Kristin Fischer worked as an outdoor guide and skydive instructor.
The plan to cross the desert with his mates, the Silk Road Pirates as they called themselves, came about on a mid-winter trip through Siberia to the Arctic Circle.
"When we came out of that my buddy and I turned to each other and we said 'right, the next place we do is going to be a nice warm area, maybe like a nice hot desert'," he said.
War and bureaucracy foiled their plans to cross deserts in African and the Middle East, leading them instead to China and the Taklamakan Desert.
He said being able to see things no one else had was a big motivator for trips like this one, but personal growth and mateship were part of the appeal too.
"There's a lot of time to get your head down and thinking," he said.
Fischer said traversing the desert was not fun at the time, but the boys had a unique way of looking at their experience.
"It's terrible at the time and we call it Type Two fun; It's something that's only fun once you get out of there," he said.
"It's something nice that we can share together, achieve together and share those same hardships and help each other out. It's really quite special."