Perpetual travelers, Lauren and Mike, who left their cubicles to travel the world are gearing up for their next adventure and looking for your help. They are participating in the Mongol Rally, a race from the UK to Mongolia to raise money for the country which was recently hit by a severe freeze. I spoke with Mike and Lauren (who chronicle their travels on their blog Abandon The Cube) about the Mercy Mongolia charity, the race, and how you can help out.
Why are you racing by car from London to (Ulaanbaatar), Mongolia?
We’re raising to raise money for charity, but also because its an amazing adventure on an uncommon route through countries we’ve been eager to visit and to help people we’ve come to love.
When is the race and approximately how long will it take you?
The rally launched July 24th, 2010 from London and will take between 4-6 weeks.
What is your planned route?
We’ll head from the UK, through France, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
Is there any time to stop and visit any places along the way?
While we’re interested in getting to Mongolia and helping charity, we’re also all about the journey and we’ll be stopping along the way quite a bit. A massive detour to Romania to see Transylvania, for example.
How are you preparing for the race – any special training (i.e. learning about cars, first aid, etc.?)
We’re very busy trying to find sponsors to help fund this adventure and raise money for the charity, but in addition we’re stocking up on survival gear and (although its a bit pathetic training) we’re watching Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild non-stop to learn emergency survival ideas. Learning about cars is a must, once we pick a vehicle we’ll spend time reading and trying to get hands-on experience with the make and model of car. And all free time is spent on the remaining two training bits – learning Russian and practicing my ukulele. (Interestingly, a team last year was denied entrance into a country and played their guitar for them and they were let in.) I’m hoping music really will heal all wounds and help us have a great trip, make friends and meet people, and ease through borders in style. This may be wishful or dreamy thinking, but its part of why this rally will be so much fun.
What is Mercy Mongolia?
Mercy Corps is a non-profit charitable organization that helps folks around the globe in high-risk areas for natural disasters and poverty. The Mongolia branch helps herders stay independent and helps them find markets, helps with early education in rural areas, and other programs that directly benefit Mongolians. Impressively, 90% of all donations to this charity go directly to help those in need with the remaining 10% for organizing, fund-raising, etc.
How can people reading help support you?
We’re trying to raise money for this noble charity, and folks can donate online directly on our website to Mercy Mongolia. The widget [right under this interview] links directly to a secure site so donating is safe and easy, and if people really want to help, they can also post the widget on their webpages, blogs, or send it to their friends.
We’re also looking for corporate sponsorship for our team to help fund our adventure from London to Mongolia by car. Donations to our team can also be made online via Paypal, 100% of that money goes to helping the team pay for transportation, visas, and registration fees; and our team is offering benefits to sponsors that are outlined in our website.
You can help Mercy Mongolia by making a contribution using the widget below or visit the Abandon The Cube donations page. Good luck in the rally Lauren and Mike!