Great Chemistry: An Earthwatch Love Story
Ken and Margaret Mallory each joined an Earthwatch Expedition looking for adventure and new experiences. They ended up finding each other. The couple, now married for over 30 years, met on the Pokot: Kenya expedition in 1974, where they joined anthropologist Dr. Jean Brown to research the Pokot, one of Kenya’s indigenous tribes.
Ken and Margaret Mallory met on an Earthwatch Expedition in 1974.
Neighbors in Unfamiliar Territory
Coincidentally, Ken and Margaret both lived in Cambridge, MA in 1974. After Ken signed up for Pokot: Kenya, he heard from a mutual friend about a woman from Cambridge who had signed up for the same expedition—that was Margaret.
The two of them met up before the expedition began, eager to discuss their adventure, and decided to leave a week early to travel through Africa together. After landing in Nairobi, Ken and Margaret took an overnight train to Mombasa. “I’ll never forget…you go to sleep in the dark on this strange train and then you wake up in the morning with the sunlight coming in and this red, red earth all around you,” said Ken.
After they joined up with the Earthwatch group, they spent the next three weeks collecting data about the language and the cultural traditions of the Pokot tribe. They also got to know each other even better. “I felt pretty good about Ken,” Margaret said, “and I kept thinking, ‘Man, this can’t be true!’ because he’s just too easy to be with and too much fun.”
Earthwatch is for Lovers
By the time Ken and Margaret returned to America, not only had they forged strong friendships with some of the other volunteers; they had also found real partnership with each other. They moved in together right away, and in 1979 they married.
Ken and Margaret’s story, though special, is not uncommon within the Earthwatch community. One of our volunteer coordinators estimates that about three-fifths of our volunteers are singleton travelers. That’s confirmed by Margaret’s experience: “More than half of the people on our trip were single people looking for companions,” she said.
For these two, what started as a mutual lust for Earthwatch’s mission turned into a lifelong love story. “We’re still traveling and still wanting to go to bizarre and exotic places and still looking for indigenous tribes that haven’t been touched by civilizations,” Margaret said. “We still have a romantic view of exploring the world.”