Naimakka have had the chance to interview George Cusworth, one of four members of Team Mammoth Steppe – a team who is making a 10 000 mile travel across mountains and deserts in Mongolia, by car. The team is currently traveling from Birmingham to Mongolia. And before you follow their project, you have the possibility to read more about the thoughts George Cusworths had, before the adventure got started.
Can you give us a short summary of the project?
– Our team of four friends are setting off from the UK in a modified ex-Post Office van with the mission to get to Mongolia in five weeks. The ultimate aim is to donate the vehicle to Go Help charity for use as a much needed emergency aid vehicle in Mongolia. The journey will take us across three deserts and five mountain ranges, to some of the most remote places on Earth.
Have you made a travel like this before?
– Never! This is a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. We have done other smaller travels such as trekking in Chile, but this beats them all hands down. We have learned a lot from the planning stage and this is invaluable experience for the future.
How do you feel now, before the trip?
– There are definitely mixed feelings – excitement, apprehension and fear! We have undertaken months of planning and training in preparation for the worst case scenarios. This even included a ‘survival weekend’ with the UK military, so we feel a little more confident for what the trip throws at us.
Where did you get the inspiration from?
– We were initially influenced by Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round (book and TV show). So after a few drinks on a summer evening, we decided it was our turn to have a go. Fourteen months later, we are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime!
How do you plan your trip? And what kind of situations are important to prepare for?
– There are many uncertainties that we have to be prepared for. We have put a lot of time into planning the route in order to minimize risks of traveling through dangerous areas in conflict. In fact we had to change our route to avoid Ukraine following the recent civil unrest. Other than that – we must rely on our training to be prepared for anything.
Do you complement each other as a group?
– I would like to say that we have a range of useful skills to help us get to Mongolia successfully. However we do not really have any formal mechanical training! We have learned a lot about the vehicle and each other during the planning stages and that will intensify when we leave the starting line. There will inevitably be some disagreements but that’s life in a van for five weeks! We share the same interests and passions which also helps.
Do you have any relations to Mongolia?
– No, we do not have any previous relations, however, we met the British Ambassador for Mongolia a few months ago who promised to meet us in Ulaanbaatar for a drink. We’ll hold him to that!
Where can we follow the results of the film you’re producing while you travel?
– Yes, we are producing a documentary including the build up and the trip itself. This will be distributed on the internet and shown to a corporate audience on our return to try to encourage other people to challenge themselves outside their day jobs. During the rally, follow our blogs and live tracking on the website.