It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, but I think you’ll agree this episode was worth the wait.
After spending seven weeks driving nearly 11,000 miles, our road trip was nearing its end, but we still had a series of challenges ahead. While annoying at the time, in retrospect, the hardships we’d encounter would make completing our journey all the more rewarding!
In just our first 48 hours in Mongolia, we’d already broken part of our rear axle, experienced a tire blowout, and had to contact the American embassy to send a team to perform a late night rescue. Now our route would take us over even rougher terrain, and our mechanical issues would continue, but somehow in spite of it all, we actually started to really enjoy our visit to the country.
When we got stranded near the edge of the Gobi desert, a nomadic family watched after us, welcomed us into their ger, and served us warm milk from their herd of goats.
And we discovered that despite its poor reputation, Mongolian food isn’t always so bad after all!
Against all odds, after 53 days on the road, we eventually managed to make it to the finish line in Ulan Ude, Siberia, and although it turned out in some ways to be a bit underwhelming, we were still thrilled and felt a great sense of accomplishment!
After all this time, it was really sad when the day finally came to drop our beloved vehicle off at a rail yard to get shipped back to Europe with dozens of other rally cars, where it would eventually be scrapped.
The story’s not over just yet, though. There’s a surprise twist at the end, but you’ll need to listen to episode 23 to find out for yourself!
As I mentioned at the end of the show, I hope to answer listeners questions in the next episode, so if you’ve been following along and there’s anything you were wondering about our trip, please drop me a line! You can also contact the show through Facebook or Instagram, or tweet me, and I’ll see if I can include you in the show.
Finally, I want to thank the North American Travel Journalists Association, which recently gave a gold award to my episode from Kazakhstan and the Society of American Travel Writers, which also gave a gold award in its Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition to episode 11, “Just Plain Weird” (from Turkmenistan).
Thanks to all of you for sticking with me through all the ups and downs of our adventure. It was an amazing experience, and I hope you had as much fun listening as I did sharing all these crazy stories. And although this this trip has now concluded, rest assured that more stories from other places are on their way.
Thanks for listening!
Photos by Drew Gurian