I may never win an Oscar, Emmy, or even a Bloggie, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t give an acceptant speech. So – here goes; we couldn’t have made it to the Mongol Rally finish line without the support of our amazing sponsors. We utilized each and every one of them during our journey and all rejoiced that we had them on our ‘team’. If you are a future rallier, then you may even want to consider these tools for your trip! Here’s how we used their products on our journey:
All Ways Rentals (New Zealand) – They bought our Nissan Almera for us! We never would have even made it to the start line without them. They had advised us that a 4 door Almera would be a good choice for this journey and they were absolutely right. Prior to leaving London they even serviced it for us and provided a couple of new tires which we were very thankful to have. The Hot Box lived up to our expectations and ended up raising approximately $4000 for charity once we reached Mongolia! It was a sought after vehicle as people stopped us all over the country asking to purchase it from us.
Intrepid Travel – They fueled us up all the way to Ulaanbaatar! Thanks to the Intrepid trip raffle, we rose $2000 to put towards fuel for the trip. We were a little worried at first that the $2000 wouldn’t take us very far, but once we drove out of Europe the fuel prices dropped and we were able to make it the entire way on our $2000 budget! Not only did Intrepid help us raise this money, but they also bought our carbon offsets for our journey!
Track24 Solo – This little device was not only tracking our progress, but it provided peace of mind. Every day the satellite tracking device would sit on our dash board (or sometimes our back window nestled in a roll of duct tape) sending a signal to the satellites every 10 minutes; thereby plotting our position on a map. The great team back in London and Dubai would update our facebook accounts daily with the latest satellite view and occasionally put in their own commentary about our camping choices. This was also a way to send text messages back to our team of social media experts (SMAC) once we were out of email/texting areas. We’d send a text via the Track24Solo and they’d post it to our twitter hashtag. Finally, the device also provided a ‘panic’ button that we thankfully never had to use. The little red button was safely nestled under a red protector on the back of the device. If we had pushed it, then an immediate message would have been sent out to our emergency contacts we had identified earlier. I think some of the other teams we ran into could have really used this feature!
SMAC – Candice Walsh and Cailin O’Neil were our team on the ground helping us keep our sites and social media accounts running when we no longer had access or time in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia – Ottsworld Hijacked! They put up with our neurosis and posted blog posts for me as well as posted to Facebook and twitter accounts. Then the world of WordPress threw them a curveball in the form of a malware attack on my site which shut it down. While I was driving through Mongolia my site in shambles, but luckily I had Warren Talbot on my side and he was able to fix everything while I was slowly driving along avoiding potholes.
One Sim– I must admit I didn’t have many expectations of One Sim in the beginning as I don’t normally use a cell phone when traveling. I simply turn my phone off and rely upon wifi connections or do my research/planning in advance. However, little did I know that the world One Sim card would turn out to be a life saver many, many times on this trip! As we entered Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan we used it numerous time to make calls to various hotels, hostels, and apartment rental places as we frantically looked for places to stay. We used it to communicate with other teams via text messages. And finally, the most important thing we used it for was to tweet our updates in text messages while driving through Mongolia. This was the only thing that really kept us connected throughout the entire journey.
Two Nav Compe GPS – Our GPS navigation system helped tremendously getting in and out of the various cities we drove through. When it’s mapping functionality ran out when we left Europe, we thought we’d be putting it away, but we discovered another use for it…the compass and driving data. We used our Two Nav all the way through Mongolia to ensure we were going the right direction as well as to know how far we had gone (which was never as far as we had thought we went!) This really helped us understand where we were and if we could make it to the next village to fix the flat tire or not!
Oh London – Thanks to Oh London our team had a comfortable apartment (or in London speak…a flat) to stay in while in London the week before the rally. This was invaluable as we were able to work together to get the supplies we needed, pick up our car, and get the car prepped for the journey. Plus, it helped us save money in the expensive city of London by cooking for ourselves in our apartment all week. The location was perfect for hopping on the tube and getting to see the sights pre rally.
Roomorama – Even though Roomorama came aboard at the last minute their contribution was greatly appreciated! They provided us apartment lodging in Brasov Romania, Kiev Ukraine, Volgograd Russia, and in Ulaanbaatar after we finished. It was a great way to stay in a central location and get to see some of the sties even though we were moving through the cities quickly. Lodging can be one of the most difficult things to deal with in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but Roomorama had great apartments in these lesser known cities that were perfect for our team. Plus – the apartment we had in Kiev was da bomb…I really didn’t want to leave!
Nox Audio – They kindly provided us each a set of audio earbuds so that when we got sick of each other in the car we could listen to our own music! Music and earphones are essential for any road trip!
Tep Wireless – They provided us super internet connectivity (via wifi/mifi) while in the UK. They also provided us units for the rest of Europe, however they weren’t nearly as reliable as the ones for the UK. Overall though – if you are going to travel in England – they are a great gadget to carry with you in your pocket!
And last but not least, a couple of people who sponsored us are also worth my thanks. The talented Hop/Jaunt design team supplied us with our awesome logo for our team seen every time we filled up with gas! And the Indie Travel Podcast for helping us on the media front get the word out about the charitable adventure!
Looks like my time is up and they are about to escort me off the stage! Thanks again to these great sponsors – we were so happy to have you as part of our team!
I finished the rally – listen to my post race podcast from Heather on Her Travels – Mongol Rally Podcast and get the low down on how it all went from my lips to your ears!
- It’s Real Now
- Pimpin’ Our Ride
- Festival of Slow – Mongol Rally Kickoff
- First Stop – Brussels
- Stopped by the Police – Mongol Rally
- Learning to Drive on the Autobahn
- CzechOut our Camping – Mongol Rally
- Racing Through Prague – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Romania
- Twilight in Brasov – Mongol Rally
- Four People One Key – Mongol Rally
- Crossing Borders with Natasha- Mongol Rally
- What I see out my window – Mongol Rally
- Ukraine Highway Culture – Mongol Rally
- Mongol Rally: Driving in Ukraine
- Hotel Nissan – Mongol Rally
- Kiev Paperwork Forgery – Mongol Rally
- Teaming up in Volgograd – Mongol Rally
- Russian Stereotypes
- Good Luck at the Kazakhstan Border – Mongol Rally
- The Hardest, Longest, Slowest, Dirtiest Road Yet – Mongol Rally
- The End of The Road – Mongol Rally
- Camping on the Mongol Rally
- Locals to the Rescue – Mongol Rally
- Setting Up Camp – Mongol Rally
- Bad Things do Happen on the Mongol Rally
- The Birth of Kazakhstan Tourism – Mongol Rally
- Kazakhstan’s Secret City – Astana
- The Best Laid Plans – Mongol Rally
- Our Car’s Health – Mongol Rally
- My ride in a Kazakhstan Police Car – Mongol Rally
- The Real Adventure Begins – Mongol Rally
- Minor Repairs – Mongol Rally
- How To Wait at a Border – Mongol Rally
- Border Bonding – Mongol Rally
- Mongolia Freedom – Mongol Rally
- Lost in the Mongol Rally
- Slowing Down – Mongol Rally
- The Mongol Rally Diet
- Muffler Mayhem – Mongol Rally
- Sink or Float – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Hospitality – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Mongolia
- Tire Trouble – Mongol Rally
- Desert Illusions – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Malls and Mechanics
- Shocking Tarmac – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Cloudscapes – Photography
- Ulaanbaatar in our Sights
- The Finish Line – Mongol Rally
- Hurray for our Mongol Rally Sponsors!
- What’s it all for?
- What Happens to the Car?