For me, this isn’t just the end of the 2017 Local Government Challenge. This is also the end of my time working for Coventry City Council.
After three years in the Public Health department, I am leaving Coventry and the U.K. to go on an extended honeymoon adventure with my new husband.
Over the next couple of weeks, Shane (that’s my husband) and I will be saying goodbye to our jobs, renting out our apartment and preparing to leave the country for a year (or two, or three).
For the first leg of our journey, we are taking part in the Mongol Rally – the greatest motoring adventure on the planet. Every summer, around 250 teams cover over 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe to reach Mongolia. There’s no backup, no support, and no set route. There’s just us and our 21 year old, one litre, rusty Nissan Micra (Martha).
The rules of the Mongol Rally are very simple:
1 We can only take a farcically small vehicle (Martha)
2 We will be completely on our own
3 We’ve got to raise money for charity (we are raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of our friend Asha, and Cool Earth, the official charity of the Mongol Rally).
We start at Goodwood Motor Circuit on the 16th of July. The final finish line party is on the 9th of August 2017 in Ulan Ude, Russia. There is no set route for where to go in between.
We are planning to drive through Europe, Turkey and Georgia to Azerbaijan, and then to take a cargo ferry over the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. From there we will be touring the ‘Stans, passing through Uzbekistan and taking the Pamir Highway through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan. The final section of the trip is the one Martha will find the hardest – driving 1,000 miles from the West of Mongolia to Ulaanbaatar. There are no roads, and Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world, so it’s likely that we’ll break down… and that we won’t find anyone to help us.
From Ulaanbaatar we have a last stint to Ulan Ude in Russia where the rally finishes. From there we will be shipping Martha off to Lithuania (assuming she’s made it this far), and carrying on with the rest of our adventure.
After we’ve said our goodbyes to Martha in Ulan Ude we will be continuing to travel around East and South East Asia. Starting by taking the trans-Siberian railway to Vladivostok, we’ll then enjoy a few nights in South Korea before spending a couple of weeks in Japan. From Japan, we will take a cruise to Shanghai, spend a while in Hong Kong, travel the length of Vietnam, explore the Philippines, and take a trip around Myanmar before settling for a while in Thailand to learn to scuba dive and enjoy island life.
When we get bored of the beach (if we ever get bored of the beach), we will carry on to Malaysia and Singapore, before hitting Borneo (hello turtle island and orangutans), and Sumatra. Our last stop will be Bali, where we’ll stay for a while to learn to surf and to get everything in order for our new home in Australia.
Depending on the latest visa rules and how employable we are after spending six months or more out of a job, we are hoping to settle in Australia for a while and find a place to live and a place to work. We also want to spend some time travelling around Australia, diving into the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, driving along the Great Ocean Road, exploring the outback and touring Tasmania.
When we’re ready to leave Australia, we’ll be taking the scenic route home. We’ll hopefully spend some time in New Zealand and then cross the South Pacific by boat, stopping in Tahiti, Bora Bora and Hawaii, before we reach Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. We’re then planning to spend around 6 months in South America, travelling down through Peru, Bolivia Chile and Argentina, stopping at the tip of South America (Ushuaia), and hopefully taking a detour to Antarctica. We’ll then carry on up to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls into Brazil, enjoying the Rio carnival (if we time it right) and climbing Mount Roraima and exploring Angel Falls. We’ll continue round to Venezuela and Colombia, and finish by flying to the U.S.A and spending some time in California, before we fly back to Europe.
To keep up to date with where we are and what we’re doing, please follow our joint blog at www.shaneandgeorgia.com, as we start a new and very exciting phase in our lives 🙂