Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maps and more

We have started to get together some of the stuff we will need on our trip.  First step was to get some maps to help us plan our route and visa plans.  I love maps, so having these maps around has provided an excellent waste of time for me.

I also got an international driving permit (actually two of them; one from AAA and one from AATA) and you can take a look at all of these goodies below.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A glimpse of what's to come

One of Yevgeniy's many interesting friends happens to be a very skilled photographer who recently took a trip to Mongolia.  You can look at his work by following this link:

While you are there, check out some of his other work, it is really good.  

Please consider supporting us: Adventure's Sum Mongol Rally


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Lip Synch in Turkmenistan

Turkmenbashi (leader of Turkmens)
One of the reasons I am so excited about participating in the mongol rally is the unique countries through which we will be traveling. I will try to keep this blog updated with interesting things I find out about the countries we will visit, people we might meet, and things we might see.

Turkmenistan seems to be quite interesting. For example, former president for life, Saparmurat Niyazov, issued a number of decrees that one might find interesting:
  • banning of recorded music at public events
  • banning of opera and ballet "because they are unnecessary"
  • no lip synching
  • no gold teeth
There was also a strange requirement for getting a driver's permit in Turkmenistan, reports the BBC: " Turkmenistan, knowledge of the highway code and control of the steering wheel are no longer enough.  Candidates now have to pass an exam in President Niyazov's spiritual writings, contained in a book named the Ruhnama."

Former President Niyazov's Ruhnama turns out to be quite the interesting book.  Apparently he claimed that God let him know directly that if any student read it 3 times, the student would be admitted to paradise automatically.  There is a documentary about it:

I hope when we get pulled over in Turkmenist an our international driving permits will be enough to persuade the police to let us go.  I don't know much about the the Ruhnama.  Turkmenistan now has a new president, Mr. Berdimuhammedow, so do drivers now have to learn his spiritual writings?

Lots of Desert and Gas, Not so Many People
Turkmenistan is made up mainly of desert and has the smallest population of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia.  Beneath the vast deserts lie some of Earth's largest proven oil and gas reserves.  The country is bordered by Afghanistan on the south, Iran on the west and Uzbekistan to the North.
One thing in the Turkmenistan desert that we are looking forward to seeing is the "Door to Hell," a giant crater in the city of Darweze that is constantly burning natural gas.  That is if we are allowed to take our car there.  I have read that the government is pretty restrictive about transit visas and routes taken.

Watch it on youtube: Here

Our trip through Turkmenistan should take us from Turkmenbashy to Ashgabat, then north to Darweze and into Uzbekistan and on toward the Aral sea, which will be the topic of another post all together.

As always,  please consider supporting us by donating on our website: Team Adventure's Sum Mongol Rally.

- Jordan

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On our way

Team Adventure's Sum is the Mongol Rally 2009 team made up of Brian, Yevgeniy, and Jordan. We are just three friends out to have the adventure of a lifetime and help some people less fortunate than ourselves. Jordan and Yevgeniy are currently living in New York City and I (Brian) live in Boca Raton, Florida.

There will be many hurdles in the upcoming months as we prepare ourselves for this trip. The first and hardest part was simply getting a spot for the Rally. This year, there were 300 spots which, according to the adventurists' website (the hosts of the event), sold out in under two minutes. Jordan was the one who secured our spot for this adventure which has been called both "greatest adventure in the world" and a "race against common sense". Whatever view our supports want to take is fine. The race is very dangerous and there is no support if you get yourself into a jam. But we look at this as an opportunity not only to see parts of the world that people can't even locate on a map, but also as an opportunity to raise money for some great charities and actually see the work that these charities are doing.

We just hit another milestone on the "tasks-we-must-complete" list. We just launched our website and set up our donation pages. You can find our website here:
Adventure's Sum Website

We also have 2 great charities for which we are attempting to raise money:

Mercy Corps, TAN project


Christina Noble Children's Foundation

In addition to these official charities, we are looking for sponsors to help us get the vehicle (which will also be donated in Mongolia) and ourselves, a good portion of the way around the globe. There will be a ton of media coverage and our vehicle will make a great place for those wishing to advertise in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and beyond.

We should be having another team meeting this weekend to discuss our vehicle and the matter of obtaining visas for the different countries we will be passing through. I am sure one of us will post our thoughts on these subjects after the meeting.

--Brian Sonberg