What do you get when you take three young men, one car and over 13.000 km (9.000 miles) of driving through 15 different countries, where none of the three speak the language or seem to know much about?
That's right - you get the adventure of a lifetime, and this is exactly what the Mongol Rally turned out to be for three lads from Tresco (Scilly Islands).
The report of their trip of 30 days fills not only a website, but also a free ebook I happened to come across at Amazon's kindle store a year or so ago. The book's title, "You Want Breakfast Now?", does not offer any hint of its content, making reading it a small adventure for the reader as well.
(In the second half of the book the origin of the title is revealed.)
I'd not heard about the Mongol Rally before, but apparently it is a well established annual charity event (it has its own website, of course, and a wikipedia entry). The three young men from Tresco didn't know everything before they started, either, but they certainly learned loads along the way, and let their readers participate.
Apart from being an enjoyable read, I learnt a few things which may come in useful (at a future pub quiz, for instance), such as, why potholes are called potholes, and the name of Mongolia's currency. Would you know?
A bit of proofreading would have greatly benefitted the book, but it's not so bad as being unreadable. To know when to write "its" or "it's" seems to have been a greater challenge than the Rally itself, and the author (or whoever edited/proofread the text) gets it right only a handful of times in the whole book.
But as I said, I enjoyed it a lot, and was often very glad to be where I am: in a country comfortably well off, where (usually) we can rely on a working basic infrastructure such as roads and bridges (not something to be taken for granted in many other countries). I sleep in a comfy bed every night and can have a nice hot shower every day, there are more or less regular trains taking me to and from work, and I have no trouble booking a hotel room or shopping for food because it can all be done in my native tongue.
That's much more than many people can claim to have, and more those three young men (and all the other Mongol Rallye participants, some of whom the reader meets in the book) had for a month. They did all that of their own choice, while countless people have not much choice; for them, leaving their home towards an unknown destination is a question of life or death, and in all likelihood many of them will never see their original homes again.
Such thoughts crossed my mind every now and then when reading of the Mongol Rally adventures. I know it is not my cup of tea, but I appreciate the valuable lessons learned by those who have done it, and enjoyed reading about it.