The Mongol Rally is a non-competitive, frankly ridiculous summer car rally from London to the Siberian town of Ulan Ude. The rally used to conclude in Ulaanbaatar but now for monetary reasons beyond the understanding of this author, the caper merely passes through Mongolia. It’s still called the Mongol Rally, though ….
Anyway, the three fundamental rules are as follows:
The car must be a smatter of shite, with an engine size limit of 1 litre.
You are on your own (no support team).
Teams need to raise at least £1000 for charity.
It’s a dangerous, DIY mode of travel. One must be creative, daring, and blessed with a stoic fortitude that the three to four week, 10,000 mile quest demands. Folk have been hospitalised, stripped naked and robbed; many arrive home skint. And sadly, a bloke died whilst passing through Iran a few years ago. There’s a sense of autonomy in the endeavour, and an undeniable romance – you’re an ersatz Marco Polo in a falling-to-pieces Volkswagen Beetle. FYI: I’ve personally had gnarly dreams of journeying from Mogadishu to Cape Town in the farcical Mutt Cutts Van (’84 Sheepdog) from Dumb and Dumber (1994).
It’s almost as if it’s too easy to travel these days, that ‘anyone’ can do it. This is true, and the vainglorious elements within us have us chasing down more difficult, testing, and unusual pursuits – how else to explain all the death-from-selfie occurrences on outback mountain tops? There is, though, no better story at a shindig than announcing to friends and neighbours that you’ve just driven to Siberia in a Ford Fiesta. Planes are for the masses, clearly. I verily anticipate the hipster-infused travel craze of 2018 – from Hamburg to Volgograd on a Segway, each participant armed to the fucking teeth with a bag of green tea, a 35mm SLR, and a typewriter.