Choosing Your Mongol Rally Team
It’s hard to know before a stressful situation exactly how people are going to respond to said stress. I’ve compiled a series of questions to ask of each other to determine your compatibility as travel partners for the Mongol Rally.
All questions must be answered as honestly as possible. Lies will not only hurt the teller, but everyone else involved.
- What is your preferred accommodations? Hotel? Hostel? Campgrounds? Couch surfing? Sleeping in the car? Wild camping? Sleeping under the stars? Passing out drunk on sidewalks? You’re going to want to be very clear about this before you agree to move forward.
- What’s the earliest you are capable of being ready to hit the road? 6am? 8am? Noon? Be honest. This WILL become an issue.
- Do you have any chronic physical needs? Neck/back pain, gastric issues, migraines? How do you plan to manage this when there is no solution available to make it better? Be real with yourself about your physical needs
- How much do you plan to drive every day? Are you willing to relinquish the wheel without a power struggle? Are you willing to not just take over when needed, but assertively and cheerfully say, “My turn!” It gets hard to get out of the drivers seat, but it also gets hard to get out of the comfort of riding. Can you peel yourself out of either using your own will?
- Can you pack for 10 weeks in just a backpack? If no, reconsider doing the rally. And I’m not exaggerating when I say you really only need 3 pairs of pants, a skirt, maybe a dress, a few t-shirts, a couple long sleeves, and a few warm layers.
- Can you fight but still talk through a situation that needs a decision right now? This means putting aside anger, hurt feelings, pride, etc., to find a solution. You can yell at each other after the pending threat is over. Can you do that? If you bail on making a decision then you’re abandoning your team!
- Can you follow through on what you’ll say you will do? Fundraising is hard work. You must be committed. Getting up at 4:30am is rough, but you said you’d do it. Can you make yourself do things you don’t want to do?
- Do you expect to follow a strict itinerary or are you able to travel with a rough idea and then go with the flow day-to-day? The Mongol rally will demand the latter, but you also need to plan out mileage per day when it’s required to get out of a country before visas run out.
- No matter how strong or weak you are physically are you willing to pitch in all the strength you do have without being asked? Cars will need to packed, tires changed, and cars pushed.
- Are you willing and able to see what needs to be done and simply do it without being asked and without expectation of pay back, thank you, or retribution?
- Can you travel in extreme conditions with the worst hangover you’ve ever had while making decisions about things you don’t understand in a language you don’t know without being an asshole? If no, please be prepared to apologize to your team-mates on a regular basis.
- How do you handle serious sleep deprivation? Ask yourself how you handle stress after a week of about 4 hours per night. Answer honestly. Spoiler alert: we all crack. How will you handle it?
- How often do you require a shower? Side note: I would like to say as a rally veteran that I’m super proud of my team for their amazing ability to go without showers.
- Do you require western style toilets and toilet paper? This is not a trick question.
- How do you feel about doing both your No. 1 and No. 2 business in fields, woods, deserts, etc.?
- Ladies: how do you plan to handle your period and everything associated with it while traveling through countries without regular facilities?
- Can you sleep in a tent, on the ground, on the floor, in the common area of a hostel, or in a car? If no, reconsider doing the rally.
- Define an expectation of budget. CLEARLY define the amount of money required to do the style of rally you have agreed upon.
- Are you polite in everyday situations? “Please, Thank you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, it’s ok.” It’s a little thing but goes a very long way to keep team relations happy. Can you utilize that same politeness under pressure? Under extreme stress and distress? Probably not all the time, but if you can at least try, and more importantly if you can genuinely apologize then you’ll be alright.
And, just as an added note, the rally will make you drink.