This is the start of the story. Trust us, it's going to be a good one.
My name is Matt, and myself and my friend John have signed to do something that we are widely regarded as crazy for thinking about, and totally mad for actually going with. If I'm honest, if I think about it too hard I start to agree - so I just avoid doing that.
We have signed up to take part in the 2018 Budapest-Bamako "Great African Run" - A humanitarian rally in which you travel from Budapest (in Hungary) to Banjul (the capital of Gambia). It's to raise money for charity, and it's very hard. We have basically 2 weeks to travel from start to finish over a distance which is in excess of 8000km. Starting on european roads, once we get into Africa we cross the Western sahara in order to get to our goal.
The reason for the event is to raise money for the AHU (African Hungarian Union) - They will provide medical and educational equipment to hospitals and schools all along the route. This is a great cause as in a lot of these towns and villages they have very little medical or educational equipment, if any at all! It's a great cause to be raising money towards.
In a well-kitted-out and modern 4x4, this challenge would be fine. Lots of fun even, and reasonably easy I guess. Except we don't have one of those - our vehicle of choice is a 1980 VW Westfalia Campervan (2WD) which I bought the end of last year. Her name is "fortune" because "Fortune favours the bold".
Stats on the beast as it stands now:
- 70bhp (probably less, it had 70 when new)
- Rear wheel drive
- 2 wheel drive
- 14 inch wheels with massive tyres
- Shiny chrome domes!
As for the luxurious side:
- Beds for 2 people
- A fridge
- A gas stove
- A night heater
- More storage than you could shake a reasonably sized stick at.
Hardly a natural vehicle for crossing the sahara - but it it was easy, it wouldn't be worth doing!
The list of things we want to do to the van to get prepared is extensive, and it's going to be a long 9 months getting it all done - but we'll get there.
In the next few weeks, we are working on getting this site a bit better, sorting out the infrastructure for accepting donations and sponsors, and getting stuck in on getting the van ready.
We have a long way to go and we're going to need a lot of help.
Let the adventure begin...