Wanted: Fire truck for 10,000 mile road trip

Mongol RallyIn July, the Mongol Rally takes off on a nearly 10,000-mile road trek from the UK and Czech Republic, finishing in Mongolia. Far from just a long road trip, Mongol Rally is about the vehicles, the distance and the teams from all over the world that will take part.

Mongol Rally is an unsupported road rally sponsored by The Adventurists a group charged with the notion that there is still grand adventure to be found in the world.

When they say “unsupported” they mean just that. There are no backup pit crews hanging around to help in case of a breakdown. Each team is on their own, no matter what the trek throws in their way. There isn’t even a map to follow; teams just need to end up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Sometime. Crossing over deserts, mountain ranges and non-existent roads, 250-300 cars will enter the event hoping to navigate their way through 15 countries and 2 continents.

There are a few rules. Vehicles can’t have engines bigger than 1.2 liters, can’t be more than 10 years old and driving “teams” must raise raise a minimum of £1000 for charity, at least £500 of which goes to the official Rally charity. Cars are driven by teams that average between 2-4 people. One team that caught our eye from the United States and Canada is called The Social Media Syndicate.

Dave Bousill and Deb Corbeil of ThePlanetD, Rick Griffin of Midlife Road Trip and Sherry Ott of Ottsworld and Briefcase to Backpack are a team of four Internet travel personalities/fugitives that make up The Social Media Syndicate. Experts in their respective niches of Adventure, Making the Most of Midlife and Taking a Career Break, they have come together for this road trip of a lifetime.

Mongol Rally

“We’re eager to follow the journey from London to Mongolia and very happy to play a role in assisting in the fund-raising efforts in an environmentally friendly way and what an experience this will be – exploring a road much less traveled” said team member Deb Corbeil.

In addition to allowing participants to experience the road trip of a lifetime, the rally will raise money for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, a charity that helps homeless and abandoned children of Mongolia.

“We specifically chose a longer rally route through the ‘stans’ in order to get to places that traditionally get little coverage in the travel writing world. The goal of the rally is to not only to make it there and raise money for Mongolian charities along the way, but in general to promote understanding of that part of the world” said team member Sherry Ott.

The Social Media Syndicate is looking for donations to help fund the trek and has an upcoming raffle in the works to make that happen. Money raised will help pay the estimated $4000 fuel bill but they also still need a vehicle to drive. It seems that a loophole in the criteria for acceptable vehicles combined with some good old American/Canadian ingenuity reveals that “Public service vehicles” are an exception to the rule.

“The Rally will give us a break if we can bring something of use into the country. Normally, we would have to pay a penalty for any car or truck over the 1.2 Litre rule, but there is a sneaky way around this while providing a valuable service to the country.

We need to bring in a useful public service vehicle!

Not only will we be bringing something into the country easing our conscience about donating a piece of crap, we will provide valuable comic relief as we figure out a way to navigate a bright orange or red monstrosity through the streets of Europe.”

The Social Media Syndicate has teamed up with Intrepid Travel, specialists in small group tours, to raffle off a ‘trip of a lifetime’ to an exotic location. The fund-raising “Rally Raffle” will be held from June 6 – 12 with the winner being randomly drawn and notified the following week.

Money raised from the Rally Raffle will go towards the Syndicate’s Mongol Rally attempt and the winner can choose from two trips as prizes:

Wild Mongolia – is described as “This 15 day trip in our final destination for the Mongol Rally is a trip to remember. Take in the sights of the country’s capital Ulaanbaatar before heading out for your great adventure. You will be staying in Ger Camps, hiking volcanos and enjoying Mongolian barbecues. Follow the footsteps of Genghis Kahn and take a camel ride into the desert sand dunes of Khogno Khan”

Inca Trail – ” This 8 day trip takes you through Peru. Starting in Lima you will spend the day exploring the historic centre of the city. It is then off to the charming city of Cuzco in the centre of the country. Explore the Sacred Valley and the ancient city of Ollantaytambo before beginning your trek on the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Voted as one of the new 7 World Wonders this is a trip you will never forget.”

We look forward to following along with the Mongol Rally, regardless of the route, vehicle or team. Throw in a fire truck? All the better.

Photos courtesy Social Media Syndicate

Video of the Day – Sunsets around the world


Seeing the sun set over a foreign land can lead to some of the most memorable moments on any given trip. Even though it’s an event we witness every day of our lives, watching it dip over a new horizon always feels like a completely new experience. Today’s Video of the Day is a collection of one backpacker’s best sunsets from a 365 day trip around the world.

Romain Corraze decided to travel around the world for one year after finishing his studies in 2009. Starting in France, he managed to venture through the USA, India, Cambodia, Colombia, China, Russia, Thailand, Argentina, Chile, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Australia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Belgium & France – and captured some of these sunsets along the way.

If you like it, then be sure to check out Romain’s full length documentary – “Backpacker, the movie“. The video was shot with a Sony HDR-SR11 and edited in Final Cut Pro – which just goes to show that anyone can create an inspiring video with today’s simple tools. If you have an inspiring piece to share, drop a comment below and it could be our next Photo/Video of the Day!

Outside Magazine posts their 2011 trips of the year

Outside Magazine shares their selection for the 2011 trips of the yearAdventure travelers still looking for suggestions on what to do, and where to go, this year may find some inspiration courtesy of Outside Magazine which has posted their selection for the 2011 Trips of the Year online.

Compiled by the Outside editors, the list, first appeared in the March print edition of the magazine which is on newsstands now. The recommendations will send travelers off on active adventures to far flung places ranging from Alaska, Nepal, Siberia, and beyond. The trips aren’t necessarily for the faint of heart however, as the suggestions include high altitude trekking, heli-skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting and much much more.

Each of the trip recommendations includes a short description of what travelers can expect, suggested dates to go, and a recommendation of a travel company to use when booking the journey yourself. Prices are also included, and be warned that some of them can induce a bit of sticker shock. But these trips are also unique excursions to remote places, which usually don’t come cheap. They also happen to be genuinely once in a life time opportunities for most of us, and will almost certainly leave a deep and lasting impression on those who take them.

As an active traveler who happens to enjoy a bit of adventure in my getaways, each of these trips appeals to me on a different level. But were I forced to choose one or two that stand out the most, I’d recommend the mountain biking journey through Argentina’s Patagonia or the expedition across Mongolia on horseback. Both offer a fantastic adventure through stunning landscapes unlike any other on Earth.

National Geographic jumps into the adventure travel arena

National Geographic announces 11 new adventure travel options The very name National Geographic evokes images of adventure and thoughts of exciting journeys to far away places. The iconic Society has probably done more to inspire travel than any other single entity ever. Several generations have grown up gazing at breathtaking images in the organization’s popular magazine and reading about daring explorers on those beautiful, glossy pages. Now, in what seems like a long over due move, Nat Geo is throwing its hat into the adventure travel ring, announcing 11 unique trips that will offer a compelling mix of cultural and physical activity with some of the most stunning scenery on the planet as the backdrop.

The aptly named National Geographic Adventures have itineraries that are sure to appeal to any adventure traveler. For instance, they offer a 15-day trek through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that takes you to the 23,997-foot Chomo Lhari – the most sacred mountain in the country. If you prefer your trips keep you closer to sea level however, then perhaps the 9-day Alaska excursion would be more to your liking. That trip features sea kayaking and whale watching in Glacier Bay National Park. Meanwhile, backpackers will likely be enthralled with the 14-day hike through Chile’s stunningly beautiful Patagonia region. Other itineraries take travelers to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, on safari in Tanzania, and across Mongolia on horseback.

Each of the itineraries has been specifically crafted with the help of a National Geographic expert, who has applied their knowledge of the various regions to create a series of trips that are unlike any other. Those trips come with an activity level rating, with easy, moderate, strenuous, and “ultimate challenge” options available. Accommodations range from luxury tents to quaint mountain lodges and inns, and the group size is capped at just 16 to ensure the best travel experience possible.

To find out more about these new adventure travel options, click here, and for the full line up of trips from Nat Geo, check out the National Geographic Expeditions website as well.

Use Facebook or Twitter, win a trip to Iceland!

Adventure travel company Overland Experts (OEX) is dipping their toe in the social media waters, and to celebrate, their giving away a free trip to Iceland – and winning couldn’t be much easier. The company has launched efforts on both Facebook and Twitter, and they’re hoping to reach 3000 followers on one or the other of those social networks by the end of the month. If they do, on September 1st they’ll pick one of their followers on either network to head off on an exciting adventure.

To enter, simply go to the OEX Facebook page, which can be found by clicking here, and “Like” them or follow them on Twitter at @OverlandExperts and Tweet out the following: “Want to win a free trip to Iceland with Overland Experts? RT this and follow @overlandexperts. Details: http://bit.ly/OEXgiveaway #OEX” That’s it! Do one or the other, or both of those things, and you’ll be automatically entered to win the trip. For more specific information on the contest, check out the Iceland Trip Giveaway page here.

Overland Experts specializes in off-road driving training, but they are also a travel company that focuses on small group adventures, by 4×4, to remote corners of the planet. They offer excursions to Peru, Chile, Kenya, Egypt, Mongolia, and more. Their trips are an interesting mix of cultural immersion and exploration of the natural environment and they use their four-wheel drive vehicles to reach places that most people will never have the opportunity to see. Check out their website for more information and to find a trip that is right for you.

[Photo credit: Overland Experts]