The greatest adventure in the world. Those are the words that have often been used to describe the Mongol Rally, an annual car rally that begins in Europe and ends in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, stretching over 10,000 miles. Last year I eagerly followed the updates from travel bloggers Sherry Ott, Rick Griffin, and The Planet D, as they successfully completed the rally. I’m thrilled to see another travel blogger friend taking part in the rally this year, Pam MacNaughtan, of Spunkygirl Monologues. With the rally now just weeks away, I got a few minutes to talk with Pam about it.
Q: The Traveling Philosopher: What exactly is the Mongol Rally?
Pam: The Mongol Rally is a car rally, and one of the most intense adventures in the world. It’s over 10,000 kms of rough (and sometimes non-existent) roads. Although adventure is key, so is raising money for charity. Since the first rally in 2004, the Mongol Rally has raised over £3 Million.
Q: The Traveling Philosopher: What would I have to do to participate in the Mongol Rally?
Pam: Do you have a week for me to tell you? The first step is to sign-up when spots open in September. After that, find teammates, pay your deposit, find a car, plan your route, apply for your visas, there is a lot do to. The earlier you sign-up and start preparing, the better off you’ll be.
Q: The Traveling Philosopher: What made you want to participate?
Pam: It was December, I was home briefly between trips, and I was in need of an exciting adventure. I love the possibilities that the Mongol Rally brings. I’m addicted to chaos (which is unhealthy, I know!) and the thought of bribing police, camping in the dessert, dealing with Embassies, gets my nerves jumping. I love it.
Q: The Traveling Philosopher: How can people get involved and participate who aren’t actually taking part in the rally?
Pam: As a team we’ve sat down (on Skype as we’re all strangers, and have never met in person) and spoke about ways to raise money for he charity. We currently have two ways for people to get involved. Intrepid Travel is one of our sponsors for the rally, and they already support our charity, The Lotus Children’s Centre. Donations made through the Intrepid Foundation site are matched dollar for dollar, which is awesome. The other way people can get involved is through our Mystery Crate offer.
Q: The Traveling Philosopher:
Pam: What are these “mystery crates” you speak of? Are they like the mystery crates that were dropped on the island in LOST? I must confess. I am one of the few people who never watched LOST. The Mystery Crates (which are more like envelopes) are available with a $75 donation. Each crate will contain momentos and treasures from the rally. It’s a way for us to bring a little bit of the rally home to our readers. The crates could contain a postcard signed by the mafia, a Russian doll, an ‘extra’ bolt from the car after a repair, caviar from the Black Sea. Anything is possible!
Q: The Traveling Philosopher: What do you think will be some of your takeaways from the Mongol Rally?
Pam: As a solo traveler, I think the biggest one will be patience. I’ll be with two strangers, 24/7, for 38 days. I think this type of adventure will truly test me. I’ll learn more about things like instant problem solving, and quick decisions. I’ll learn about customs and cultures as we encounter locals. I’ll learn how to change a tire! The more I plan for this adventure, the more I realize that it is a lot bigger than I originally thought. It’s exciting and scary, but mostly exciting.