15th July 2016

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So, tomorrow we set off to attempt to drive 20,000 KM to Mongolia and rather ambitiously, back again. Every other rally we have done has been in a Mercedes which, surprisingly, are rather comfortable for long journeys. This is in a tiny Nissan Micra and the longest rally we have every planned – about 3 times further than Timbuktu, but within the same time period.

Our Russian visas expire on the 18th August so we probably should be out of the country by then. Have just googled what happens if you do over stay your visa and surprisingly the advice is unanimous that it’s not a terribly cunning plan. We might get away with a couple of days over with some good blagging and a bit of luck. Any more and we have to apply for an exit visa that takes three weeks and we aren’t allowed to leave the city during that period. A few people have spent some of that time in Russian prison cells.

Driving to Timbuktu wasn’t a walk in the park, but now we are going to have to clock up three times more mileage every day. We aren’t going to be able to spend anytime exploring places along the route as we have too much distance to cover and not really enough time.

So although I am sure the trip will be amazing, it’s going to be hard. I am taking the view that it’s not going to be a lot of fun and perhaps, if I had known how it was going to turn out might not have agreed to it all in the first place. However, that’s pretty much the same whenever I push myself out of my comfort zone and try and do something pretty big. Then, when the day comes it actually dawns on me the size of the actual challenge. Anyway, having low expectations of fun means I can only get pleasant surprises on the way.

One of the key reasons in doing this is to raise as much money as we can for www.aimeducation.co.uk This is part of a year long fundraising campaign for them as they are also my rotary clubs charity of the year. Who, will also be putting on not only other fund raising events for them but also getting involved volunteering their time too.

The reason we are all supporting the charity so much, followed a talk by Carl Harrison the CEO gave, on the work they do with kids. He talked us through some of the backgrounds the kids have come from and how they work with them and the amazing results. Therefore would be fantastic if you could sponsor me here – https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mongolists.

A huge thank you again to all of you who have already sponsored me in the Channel swim. I know you must be getting sponsorship fatigue by now but I will try and keep you amused with updates. And the swim was only risking hypothermia and jelly fish stings. The stakes are much higher on this one from car crashes, prison, eating sheep’s testicles and the ‘International Rally Bar’ ending up guillotining us. Oh, and being attacked by bears when wild camping in the Siberian forests…