ADVENTURE Driven by adrenaline and the quest for excitement, four friends take the highway to Ulan Bator, Mongolia
The open road and prospect of adventure at every turn and crossing. And when there is no signal to follow or crossing to keep, motorists will be governed by the dry heat of the desert, the steep ridges of the cliffs and the whims and fancies of capricious weather. Described as the greatest adventure in the world, The Mongol Rally is a journey organised by The Adventurists, the group that is also responsible for other grand escapades such as the Rickshaw Run from Cochin to Kashmir.
Techies, Allwyn Kent, Rejoy C John, Vinesh TV and Siby Mathew also known as Genghis Khans’ East India Company are a day away from the trip of a lifetime as they prepare to drive, without assistance or GPS from the United Kingdom to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.“This is not a race, they give us a starting point and an ending point, and we are free to take any route we want. It is dangerous, limited resources and serious handicaps we need to figure our way out,” explains Rejoy.
There are language problems, culture problems, and a host of other issues that they will need to tackle to keep it going. Rejoy gives us an example of what could go wrong, “As per the rules we are allowed to use a vehicle that has a capacity of only 1.2 litres, and for a journey as extreme as this the engine could fall out and we will have no idea what to do.” But they are also making sure they tie most loopholes and leave nothing to chance. Siby has been spending time at the workshop and learning a few things that just might qualify as life skills on this trip.
The route that has been mapped out goes through Central Asia – Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, UK, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey from where they will cross the Black Sea to get into Russia. And then on to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
“A lot of money has been spent on this trip so we want to make the most of it and see as many countries as we can in the bargain. And it is not a race so it does not matter if we get there first or last,” says Rejoy. Once they reach their destination, the car they drove in and a sum of 1000 pounds will be donated to charity for the children in Mongolia. “There are also teams who decide to do the rally in ambulances or fire engines and then donate the vehicles to the government in Mongolia,” he says.
A car has been purchased from a dealer in the United Kingdom, the visas for all the countries have been procured, accommodation has been arranged, and airline tickets in hand, they guesstimate that the trip should be complete in about 40 days.
This is also the first time there is a team from India participating in the Mongol Rally. “There is no particular reason for the name we chose. Kent was registering us and he had to give a name at the time and it was something he just came up with,” Vinesh says with a smile.
“This is not a glorified holiday” warns the website. “It’s a risk we are taking and that’s the whole point,” they say in confidence and unison. The four are not new to road trips and have gone till Ladakh on motorbikes in search of adventure, this time we can follow them by subscribing to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CharityDriveLondonToMongolia or on their website www.gkeic.in/.
CATHERINE RHEA ROY