Monday, December 14, 2009

Online Diary: OZ Rally '09

visiting a minefield in Kosovo
In search of the greatest Freedom Fest on earth, Fiona, a banger car rally enthusiast and veteran, and I, an expert culinary vagabond, planned to drive 22,000 miles in a '69 Baja Beetle from London to Sydney this summer. We also decided to adopt the charity No More Landmines. They work to clear minefields around the world and also support mine victim rehabilitation centres. We raised around USD 5,000 together for the Mine Awareness Trust ( in Kosovo and the COPE rehab center ( in Laos. It's incredible to think that just £50 can help an adult or child who has been maimed by a landmine to walk again! It feels good to get involved in countries that we are visiting and help the local communities, and we would like to thank all of our friends for donating to this cause. We personally visited both projects enroute and we assured everyone that both are honest charities who work very hard at making their communities a better and safer place.
We did not make it all the way to Australia with the car. We suffered many setbacks which included ongoing car problems, illness, weather (rainy season in SE Asia), and of course, a major dispute with our compulsory self-drive tour company in Tibet. Unfortunately, we were not able to make up for lost time before Fiona's deadline on Oct 14. This is when she had to return to work, and her boss would not give her any more time off despite her desperate pleads from China. ;'( We did make it to our last charity project in Vientiane together with Pedro, and this is where we said our last farewells. Fiona continued on to Singapore where she shipped the car back to the UK, and afterwards flew to Brisbane to meet up with family and friends. I continued on the original route on my own, making additional stops along the way, and eventually ended up at a holistic spa in Bali for some much need rest and relaxation for 2 weeks. Afterwards, I flew to Kerala, checked into an Ayurveda hospital for 23 days where I received a complete Panchakarma detox. A lifetime dream come true! After 5 years on the road I can say that the Oz Rally had to be my biggest challenge to date. This online journal has truly been a labor of love and hope that you enjoy it very much. HugS!

Charity is not only about helping the survivors, but also honoring those who died defending their respective country's freedom. God Bless. Many thanks to Artur, MAT project manager, for all his generosity.

A typical day in the Oz Rally, Yep! Keep reading for more challenging but hilarious adventures. Driving in Pakistan on our way to the Indian border

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