Mongol Rally: Facing Road Blocks and RePlanning with Drama

Mongol Rally: Facing Road Blocks and RePlanning with Drama

I was quite happy and surprised at how smooth our Mongol Rally planning went during the first couple months. From late January till early April it was all smooth sailing.

We found a few new sponsors like OneSimCard and XCOM Global, raised a bit of money for our charity (yet not nearly enough), we had our car, and our team was a big happy family when Stephen of A Backpacker’s Tale joined us to become a team of 4.

Little did I know, that our smooth sailing in planning would come crashing against a wall at high speed!

Drama of Llama Mongol Rally

And so, the drama started!  Hey, if we are called The Drama of Llama, at least we need to live up to our name once!  Actually, more than once…

Drama #1

In early April the team got its biggest blow. Our teammate, Vitalli, mentioned to us that he would have to drop out of the team due to a very promising job offer in the US.

For a few weeks, we (well, he) tried to find a loophole where he could take the job and still do the rally, but in the end, it was unsuccessful. We lost a precious teammate and our official clown. Sigh…

Drama of Llama Mongol Rally

Drama #2

Did I say we lost a precious teammate?  Yes, not only Vitalli was our in house clown (well, he still is from the sidelines), but he was also the owner of the car. Ooops, now the team has no car!

Vitalli needed to sell the car so he could pay for his working visa and moving expenses, but his price was above our budget.  Totally understandable.  Now the team has to look for a car.

Un-Drama #1

As if fate had everything planned, when I was in Senegal a couple of weeks ago I shared with my hostel roommate, Alex Humphries, the current drama the team was facing.

Without knowing, I was somehow sparking his curiosity on the rally.  After some discussion and deliberation, Alex joined the team!  We are again a team of 4!

Drama #3

Our (second) team of 4 didn’t last long. A few days after, Livia told us she too would have to get off the team due to budgeting reasons. Did I say we now need to buy a car?! We were back to 3.

And, I’ll admit that this even made me consider if I should do the rally of not.  But, I decided to stay.  I have a commitment!

Drama #4

Mongol Rally route

Looking like crazy for a 4th teammate, we “shouted” here and there we were looking for an extra person crazy enough to drive a vacuum cleaner to Mongolia (yeah, that’s basically the size of the car’s motor and the car itself).

I posted on The Adventurists facebook board that we needed a 4th teammate and shared our route so prospective adventures would know where we would be going.

Not only didn’t we get anyone interested in joining, but the response we got was quite frustrating: the border between Georgia and Russia is closed (a border we intended to cross). That Blows!

Drama of Llama Mongol Rally

For a few days we considered different options:

  • Should we go to Azerbaijan and take the ferry to Turkmenistan?  There’s no time to get the extra visas, plus the ferry is expensive.
  • Should we instead cross from Azerbaijan to Russia?  We couldn’t find reliable information on this possibility.
  • Should we reroute completely and take the route through Ukraine?  Possible, but we want to go to Turkey!
  • Should we still try Georgia and test our luck?!  Let’s do it!!

Apparently, according to the information we’ve found, there’s a possibility of crossing the border at one specific border crossing. It’s still not guaranteed.  Should we not be able to cross, we would backtrack and take the ferry from Turkey to Russia.

So, that’s the plan till now.

Un-Drama #2 

We all made our best to find a 4th teammate, but it wasn’t until Stephen posted it on the travel bloggers facebook group that we managed to find our (hopefully final) 4th member. I present to you, Leif Harum of The Runaway Guide!

Un-Drama #3

A few days ago, we were two weeks away from the car registration deadline, and we were still nowhere near finding a new car under our budget.

Upon further discussion, we raised a bit our budget and discussed with Vitalli the option of buying his car.  Win, Win!  We have our old car again! Oh, by the way, her name is Lizzy! (Lizzy the Vacuum… Just don’t tell Vitalli I call her that way)

Drama of Llama Mongol Rally

Drama #5

I’m still not sure how I’ll drive manual after my embarrassing experience driving in Ouarzazate. I’m still hoping to learn a bit more with my friends when I stop in Puerto Rico just before the rally. Oh, the horrible things I’ll do to their cars!

Drama of Llama Mongol Rally

So, where are we now?

Stephen has his Russia and Kazakhstan visas ready to go while I’m waiting (impatiently) for the Visa Machine to process mine. It’s not cool to be in a foreign country without your passport. Leif and Alex will start their visa process soon and on their own.

The car will soon be transferred to Alex’s name (since it’ll be easier for paperwork and insurance since he’s from the UK) and will be registered with the rally in the next few days.

We recently added ExOfficio to our list of sponsors and we’ll so have an ExOfficio giveaway!  Stay tuned for that!

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Dave and Deb of The Planet D and I did my best to pick their brains and learn from their Mongol Rally Experience. They were great and gave me some valuable tips. Thanks guys!!  You can read about their experience here.

You can learn more about our experience on our Mongol Rally page.

Thanks! Until the next rally update where we’ll share some more drama!


Read the next post about our Mongol Rally experience!


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10 thoughts on “Mongol Rally: Facing Road Blocks and RePlanning with Drama”

  1. Boy, did we have a lot of that “I’m going, I’m NOT going” business over the past year with our team! If everyone who actually swore up and down they were coming with us actually showed up at Dover Castle, it would take THREE buses to get us to Mongolia.
    Glad to know things are looking up for y’all and we can’t wait to meet you (and Lizzy) at the launch!

  2. Congrats on continuing to make it through the planning! I thought it was the hardest part of the Rally – until I got in the car and we started driving…then I realized the hardest part of the rally is the actual rally – and team dynamics and the decisions you have to make every day. 🙂

    So glad you got to talk to Dave and Deb – we had a lot of the same issues. However as I read your post I kept thinking…why do you need a 4th teammate? In retrospect – we would have loved less – and sort of got less in the end! I’m sure Dave/Deb told you that! However I suppose the 4th helps with budget if that’s a concern.

    Looking forward to seeing how it goes – it coming up fast! Sorry we could never connect – but it appears that you are making your way to the start line well!

    1. Thanks, Sherry! I know it’s been a while since your comment, so by now I’ve finished the rally, and yes… the hardest part was actually the rally!

      I’m really happy Dave and Deb gave me a few pointers as they really helped!

      In the end we did it as a team of 3, which later became a team of 13! (after we crashed we split into 3 cars and convoyed together for a good while.)

  3. WhoooHooooo – I just watched the video on the about page of your team site, and it looks incredible, so I’m glad you managed to find a 4th teammate and buy the car after all! Also, great multimedia!

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