Sometimes it’s okay to live a little. For four to six weeks, from mid-July, three brave Kiwis from Christchurch are off an experience of a life-time.
Robert Trott, alongside partner Michele Wilson and good friend Matt Wills, have signed themselves up for The Mongol Rally, dubbing themselves the Pirates of the Car I Be In (the pirates).
It takes a unique personality to have the ability to drop everything and set off on a harrowing adventure through the Mongolian desert with no set route and no support teams, but this witty and full-of-life trio have the determination, and suave demeanour to get them through any situation.
It hasn’t been an easy road to the Mongol Rally, Michele nearly missed out due to visa issues, but the team have scrimped, scraped, and fundraised for every dollar they can possibly get their hands on, enabling them to get to the start line. They have also been lucky enough to acquire a few generous sponsors along the way as well.
The Mongol Rally will see the trio race across 10,000 miles through Europe and Asia, over rough mountain terrain, scorching desert and everything in between, all on board a trusty stead with an 1198cc engine.
Pretty simple really; there are three rules the teams must abide by according to organisers, The Adventurists, and they are… 1: you can only take a farcically small vehicle, 2: you’re completely on your own and 3: you’ve got to raise £1000 for charity.
Cool Earth is the official charity of the event; it’s an environmental charity that works in partnership with indigenous communities to save rainforests that would be destroyed without intervention. At least £500 of their money raised will go to Cool Earth the other £500 goes to a charity of the pirate’s choice – Rural Teaching Organisation Cambodia (RTOC).
While travelling through Cambodia Matt volunteered for a week at the school, “the reality for these kids is that without the ability to speak English or Mandarin, they can almost certainly expect a continued life of hardship and poverty,” as said on their Givealitte page.
RTOC is a non-profit organisation so anything they can get is appreciated. So far the pirates have well-exceeded the £1,000 requirement and donations can still be made to www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help4rtoc.
It certainly won’t be an easy journey, but as Michelle says, it is a journey you will only get to experience once.
“We got the idea from some of our university friends who did it last year, their videos were amazing.
“They started off the race completely clean shaven, by the end of it they looked a bit rough.”
Michele hopes she won’t receive the same beard growth during her time in the rally.
The Mongol Rally is undeniably an adventure of a lifetime, but shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the pirates will have to keep their wits about them.
It is said that damage to cars, minor injuries and robberies are commonplace during the rally, and as the rally gains popularity many hospitalisations have occurred. In 2010 one British rally-goer lost their life after an accident in Iran.
The pirates aren’t letting that get to them though and leading up to the race their only concerns were with visas.
While most of us feel like we don’t have the ability to just stop work for a while and enjoy life to its fullest, the pirates have taken it upon themselves to do something crazy, they’re creating stories that they’ll want to tell their grandkids because let’s be honest – life is far too short for boring work stories – and your grandkids don’t want to hear those.
By Natalia Rietveld