AS Student Abel Spithost and the 2016 Mongol Rally
|Datum:||21 januari 2016|
This summer AS student Abel Spithost and fellow student Luca Germani are taking part in the 2016 Mongol Rally and driving a crappy old car from the UK to Mongolia with no knowledge of cars whatsoever, no backup, and no support… what could possibly go wrong?
What on earth did we just get ourselves into?
As neither of us degenerates fancied the typical backpacking vacation that most young adults embark on nowadays, we decided to do something more radical instead. Why not participate in the 2016 Mongol Rally and drive a crappy old car halfway around the globe from London to Mongolia? We hatched the plan in some dingy bar, and haven’t looked back since! Naturally we have tried to socially justify this foolish adventure, which is why we will donate all of our excess donations to the Dutch-based Stichting MS Research Charity. Abel and Luca both have someone close to them that suffers from multiple sclerosis; an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system and disrupts the flow of information both within the brain and between the brain and the body, which results in a wide variety of symptoms that gradually reduce the quality of life of those affected. Common symptoms include difficulties with mobility, overwhelming fatigue, visual disturbances and many more. Currently, there is no consensus on what causes MS, there is no known cure, and the long-term outcome of those affected is hard to predict. Metaphorically speaking, it’s not that different from driving an old car halfway around the globe: we will most likely encounter technical problems along the way, we cannot predict when these will occur nor can we predict their severity, and we cannot anticipate whether these issues will remit or whether they will become progressively worse. We just have to hope for the best, and with any luck we’ll experience just a handful of minor setbacks and a truckload of major comebacks!
So far we can introduce two out of three Cruisers to the world. The boys first met at the start of their International Relations Master’s program in Groningen in 2014, and they immediately bonded over their appreciation of off-color humor and their below average guitar-playing abilities. As neither team member has ever looked beneath the hood of a car at any point in their lives, these youngsters look poised to get into trouble sooner rather than later. The identity of our third driver is still shrouded in mystery, but some say he may be Vin Diesel himself…
Even though he was born and raised in Rome and is a descendant of a fifteenth-century captain in the Pope’s Army (true story), Luca still manages to root for a football team from Turin. His general geographical unawareness will definitely come in handy during our cross-continental journey sans GPS technology! On a more positive note, if we ever get kidnapped in Russia, Luca’s connections amongst Putin’s inner circle are sure to keep us out of those cozy Siberian gulags!
Growing up in the aesthetically unimpressive countryside of the Netherlands, Abel would like to find out whether the entire planet is just as flat and full of meadows as his home province. Very prone to cult of personality tactics, he tends to sympathize with all the shady world leaders for all the wrong reasons. His childish sense of humor will undoubtedly piss off his team members within a matter of hours, and they’ll likely have him detained at the first possible border-crossing.
Our third team member is all smoke and mirrors up until this point. Some say he is such a good chauffeur that he doesn’t even need a car to drive to Mongolia. Some say he might not really be a he and may actually bring some well-needed diversity to our team. All we know is the Stig hasn’t answered any of our texts and we feel played.
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