I have spent the past two days in Lewes, near the southern coast of Great Britain. It is located in a valley close to the English Channel. These past two days have given me a chance to go over the Rascal one last time, as well as load up the last bits and pieces of equipment I have purchased over the past six months. I guess it is all over except the waiting.
My visas and Letter of Invitation finally arrived. That means I can now o to all the places I have planned (assuming they let me in), and the Rally can go as planned. That is better than for some teams. The Rally Facebook page is jammed with posts from teams who have suffered mechanical failures, had teammates (with their cars) pull out, visas get rejected, and a whole host of other issues. Given that the worst I have to deal with at the moment is facing this all on my own, I am feeling pretty good!
We all received an email today from the organizers. For the most part I have been pretty cavalier when responding to the question of, “Aren’t you worried something will happen to you?” Honestly it isn’t something to which I have given much thought...until i read this”
Driving across long distances on difficult and unfamiliar terrain is an extremely dangerous thing to do, which can result in severe injury and even death.
Many of the scenarios you will find yourself in will be totally different to anything you may be used to. The vehicle you will be driving may be highly unsuited to driving long distances on varied terrain meaning they are likely to break down, and compared to other possible forms of transport put you at higher risk of being involved in an accident. Individuals who have partaken in the Mongol Rally in the past have been involved in serious accidents which have left them with permanent disfigurement, permanent disabilities or have even lost their life.
The Mongol Rally will be a gruelling journey across thousands of kilometres. You are responsible for your own route which means that you are likely to cover ground that previous participants in the Mongol Rally have not. Added to this, the regions that you may choose to pass through may be volatile. This means that it may be the case that you experience scenarios that cannot be foreseen or suffer short and long term physical effects that cannot be predicted. By way of example, during the Mongol Rally 2008, some ralliers were in Georgia when war broke out.
The nature of the Mongol Rally means that if you are involved in an accident whilst driving your vehicle from the start to the finish line, that the nearest medical assistance may be many hours and miles away from you. If you are injured in a way that requires specialist attention, it may be the case that the region that you are in does not have adequate medical facilities to treat your injuries. On previous Adventurists' adventures, severely injured individuals on Adventurists' teams have had to be medivacked out of their location to medical centres in alternative countries.
People who have partaken in the Mongol Rally in the past have been severely injured, paralysed or have even lost their life. Take this warning seriously.
Yeah. I guess this is for real.
My good friend Rachel is a doctor. She and I have known each other since we met on the flight to college our Freshman year. Over the years she has given me medical advice (which I did not take), checked me for concussions (which I did not have) and bandaged me up for stupid things (like sticking my finger in a mixer). Suffice it to say, she is used to me doing dumb things.
Before I left she told me that she was going to put together a first aid kit for me. While I was pretty sure I was not going to need one, I had to admit that it wasn’t a bad idea to have one...just in case. The day before I left Portland, her husband, Dave, arrived on my doorstep with a bulging grocery bag of medical supplies. “Rachel put this together for you. SHe says you probably won’t need everything.” I peered in the bag and saw everything from gauze bandages to sterile eye wash. Rachel was nothing, if not thorough!
“Now this,” he explained as he pulled out a small green box, “is some weird crustacean thing. It is supposed to really help with serious bleeding. So, if you get a gunshot wound, you just shove it in and it will stop the bleeding until you get to a hospital.” I didn’t know what to say. My dear friend was sending me off on the Rally with a gunshot wound kit.
After Dave left I rummaged through the surgical ward that Rachel had sent. I didn't think I was going to need all the sterile gloves, or the eyewash, or the mummy-worth of bandages. However I took the band-aids, the antibiotic cream, the crazy glue (originally invented to deal with wounds on the battlefield), and the gunshot wound kit. Everything fit nicely in a gallon ziploc bag. While I appreciate all the love and kindness and donations people have given me for this trip, I sincerely hope Rachel’s contribution is one I don’t have to touch!
Tomorrow I leave for the starting line. All the teams are gathering for a sendoff party and camp out. It will give us an opportunity to finally meet face to face, check out each other's cars and routes, and quell any butterflies. The fact that there will be a well stocked bar there, for charity, dosn't hurt either. I will be sad to leave the UK. The people here have been wonderful and the scenery has been gorgeous. But adventure awaits. I hear it calling and I must answer...even if it means breaking out the first aid kit from time to time.