I wrote a quick snippet about the Mongol Rally recently. The 2011 version is underway, & although I am not involved with it, I am definitely following it. (Much like one would follow the Tour de France, but with less coverage on Versus.)
In short, it is this crazy 4-6 week adventure where you take a shitty little shoe box of a vehicle from Goodwood, UK over 10,000 miles, including countless countries and two continents, to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia.
You do it for your own personal adventure reasons. (Here is a great article about the reality of the seriousness of the adventure.)
And, you do it for charity. At the end of the rally (it’s not a race), if your car has not blown up in the steppes of Mongolia, or on the (non)roads in Kazikstan, it is auctioned off. Automobiles are in high demand out there, and your beaten up vehicle fetches much more than a similarly-conditioned vehicle would cost in America. For example, many teams purchase vehicles for less than $1500, and then they are auctioned off for 4 times that much. All of that money is donated to charity to help children in Mongolia. In addition, you raise funds on the lead-up to the rally, again to be donated to charity.
The organization that runs the event, the Adventurists, have a great tongue-in-cheek website about what the rally is. But, the are also sincere about the risks involved in your mere participation in the rally.
For example, check out this video of a current rallier reading the “official warning” from the Adventurists. (It’s posted on blip & I have no embed capabilities as far as I know, so link to it, you lazy shit.)
The rallier in that video is travel author & tv host, Leon Logothetis. He’s known as a solo traveller, so he is doing the rally only with his camera man accompanying him. He is posting short updates on his daily travels on the LA Times. You can also follow him on his twitter.
There are hundreds of other teams including a team from Salem, MA. Another is the Social Media Syndicate, which is a team made up of a woman that quit her career a few years ago simply to travel the world & 4 relative strangers.
Those three seem to be posting with relative frequency via their various outlets. I’m going to keep tabs on them & plan on tackling this adventure sometime down the road.