Mongolian Rally

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A big part of my trip is this thing called the Mongol Rally. I met my teammate, Josh, online.

And no this isn’t a big, weird, date…

The Rally details are here…

www.betweenayak.org

It has been decided that filling a second hand ambulance with as much food, people, beer and camping gear as it will carry and then driving it a third of the way around the world is a great idea. I thought so too…

After meeting Josh online and questioning his sanity, I decided that this was possibly the most dangerous, exciting, crazy, breathtaking, amazing thing I can ever do…and my sanity has been questioned since…but I was in too.

It has been a mad few months of organization (lazy but organized), travel tips (thanks for the many bullet proof vest jokes, that never gets old), visa and passports (thanks Mum for suggesting that I may need a passport to leave the country, since I did actually send mine to the UK, I did actually slap my head on this one), sponsors ( My bro and the team at AC Whalan, Col at T&S, The boys at NGI, Fat Face, Schecklers, Shana, Travelodium, incognito, and the rest.. see their details at our website), team mates coming and going (some good and some well, you know the story) and Donations (thanks to all of you! You know who you are!).

Meeting up with Josh has been great. We get along. So far! LOL..and have many jokes of who is being left on the side of the Gobi desert. This is a team effort…we have pulled together and are working well. Great to meet you mate.

Said a big Goodbye to Josh’s parents and the nice little old lady they look after. Margaret asked me what is in Mongolia that we (England) don’t have. I made her little 90 YO day but saying “Mongolians!” After ensuring the Ambulance was well and truly equipped for our journey (think about half of the stuff we actually need), we left the Jurassic coast and headed through the beautiful English countryside to London. A rolling patchwork of greens, browns and yellows, mixed with splashes of colour and olde style homes, and the roads dividing the bushes as if carved into the countryside itself. Past an English rock garden, pretty big, very nice. They call it Stonehenge. Funny name for a rock garden. Must be dangerous, those rocks, as there is a big fence all around it. Scary big rocks.

Off to Wembley and past the huge stadium to pick up some donated food. On arrival the gentleman said he was going to get the pallet for us. Um…did you say pallet? We were given over 800 servings of curries and rice. Just heat and eat. Let me just say that’s 200 plus kilos of food!!! We just laughed and put it in the Ambulance. Which will kill us first? The mosquitoes or not opening the windows in the van to keep them out and hold our noses?

Driving through London is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. There has to be better way guys. It took about 2 hours to get anywhere near leaving the city and through tiny roads. Give me Sydney’s crap excuse for a road system any day.

We travelled through some of the most beautiful and lush, postcard perfect country on the south of London and headed for the Festival of the Slow in Goodwood, which would serve as the starting point on our mammoth journey through 25 countries. A camping area had been set aside for the rally drivers for the first night before the festival.

Let me set the scene:

Rows of every type of car and emergency vehicle. Ambulances, Fire engines, smart cars (to Mongolia?!), fiats, corsas, so many small and large vehicles of all colours and craziness. A large white marquee for beers etc and about 2000 likeminded people. There was an electricity in the air as we drove in, lights flashing, horns beeping, sirens keening, people laughing, looking, waving, enjoying themselves for who they are and what we all are about o do. Just being there was awesome… people came over almost immediately, where are you going, what are you doing, an ambulance huh? Handshakes and hugs. Swapping stories. Laughing too loud and long. After setting up we went for a walk to visit those around us. Met up with Katie (ex-teammate) and her friend. You could just pop into any camp and chat and meet people.

This was a great experience and brilliant start to our journey. Our day zero!

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