Trawling through the internet, in the typical way I do when I am bored of revision, I came across something amazing. A challenge which immediately made me say “YES.” When I read more I knew I would have to do it. I have now been obsessing about how good this is for the past week. If the title of this post hadn’t given it away, yes, the challenge is The Mongol Rally.
What is it? I hear you cry. Well in a nutshell you drive a suitably inappropriate car from the UK to Mongolia (over 10,000 miles away). You and your team start at the Festival of Slow at Goodwood Motor Circuit, UK. Two days later there is then the only check point which is the European Czechout party just outside Prague. From there you can take any route you wish and hopefully you will end up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I immediately thought it sounded like an adventure not to be missed. The challenge is run by a company called The Adventurists. They specialise in ‘proper adventures that fight to make the world less boring and save a bit of it at the same time’. That sounds alright to me. They offer some truly amazing sounding adventures but the Mongol Rally just sticks out like a sore thumb for me.
Here’s what they have to say about the Mongol Rally:
Imagine you’re lost in a massive desert, hundreds of miles from civilisation, driving a car your granny would be embarrassed by. Then all of a sudden all your wheels fall off and the search for tools turns up a dirty sock and two dried apricots. That’s the Mongol Rally – 10,000 miles of pure adventure over mountains, deserts and some of the most remote terrain on the planet.
1 Litre Rule
Your car needs an engine size of less than 1.2 ltr. This is to make sure you have an adventure. Motorbikes need to be under 125cc.
10 Year Rule
Your car needs to be under 10yrs old. This makes sure when we sell them for Mongolia charities we don’t lose money.
Save the World Rule
We’re hell bent on saving the world, so each team raises £1000. £500 for the official charity and £500 for any other charity.
You’re on Your Own Rule
There’s no back up, since that would take a khan-sized dump on the adventure. If nothing goes wrong, then everything has.
Since this is an adventure not a wimpy guided tour we un-invented the un-route. That means you can take any path you like from the start in the UK to reach the finish line in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
There’s a place to start and a place to finish but since Mongolia is not particularly close to the UK, where you go and what happens in between is anyone’s guess.
Some teams plummet south through Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan, others rise up north through the Arctic Circle, still others surge straight through Central Asia and countries that don’t even legally exist.
It’s about getting out into the world and discovering it for yourself, so we resolutely refuse to give you a route or detailed information about what to expect. Think how rubbish it would be if we all followed the same route – like a traffic jam all the way to Mongolia or worse, like having a guide-book to the Rally.
The more I read, the more I become increasingly intrigued to this amazing opportunity. It sounds amazing. Well it does to me. Since finding out about it I have told anyone that will listen about it; stories I have heard from it, what it entails, and how I want to do it next summer. I am obsessed. However it obviously will not appeal to everyone, it requires a big commitment with preparation of visas, routes, car etc. You will also have to get permission to take about six weeks off work or have a long empty summer holiday like me, Thank You University.
Seriously though, why do it? I could already give so many answers to this question. The biggest answer I have is that I love adventure. All forms of it, not just cycle touring, although I have found that to be amazing and I still do it regularly. I think diversifying and throwing myself into something completely new will be invigorating to me and the ways in which I like to travel. Of course it would be lovely to do the same journey by bicycle however at this moment in time I do not have the opportunity of spending a whole year travelling. Hopefully I will after university.
I like making efficient use of my time and using a car to drive to Mongolia will allow me to travel, meet new people, present new and tough challenges, have new experiences, and make a lot of money for charity, all within a timescale which I can fit around my everyday life. In a similar way Micro-Adventures are about fitting adventures around your busy schedule and life. I think this will be similar as I will have a fixed time period when to travel and this is how I can make the most of it.
The Mongol Rally is of course a team event and some of my friends also really like the idea of taking on this challenge. So there will probably be 3 or 4 of us in one little car, at the moment we are thinking of calling ourselves Team Owls but that is all tbc. It will be a big undertaking and no doubt cost quite a bit of money, however with the help from a few sponsors we hope we can rise to the challenge. We will have to deal with foreign police, deserts, steppe, mountains, bad roads, no roads, foreign languages, and no doubt a very broken car. As all of us at this moment in time have zero mechanical skills we are definitely throwing ourselves in at the deep end. We have 14 months to sort everything out to ensure that we do reach Mongolia, no matter what happens along the way.
In many ways I think it will test me however this only serves to make it more appealing, I know that seems weird but you can’t beat a challenge. This is just the adventure I have been looking for, for a long time, it seems to just tick all of the boxes. There is still an awful lot to arrange and sort out, even still Mongol Rally 2014 here I come!