Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What would you like to know?

Let me know what questions you have about the rally and if you are interested in learning more about a potential rally through South America!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chingiss Khan and the Mongol Horde

Genghis Khan is the English spelling of the actual Chingiss Khan, the most famous and revered of the Mongolian people. I have been amazed at the wonderful sites and feelings I experienced during my time in Mongolia. Even though we got off to a rough start, (36 hours stranded at the Western Mongolian/Russian border) I was able to get to know the humble people and jaw dropping sites contained within this country. Ghengis lived during the 11th century and had many wonderful ideas that he brought to the nation he conquered. He was a beast of a man, massacring anyone who stood in his way. His empire encompassed most of Asia and Eastern Europe, a scale of which I had never realized before my visit to Ulaan Baatar. The Mongolian people revere him as a god and to this day consider him the leader of their people in essence.

I share this because I feel that this was the greatest thing I took away from Mongolia, the unending pride in what can be accomplished by someone who has set their mind to a task. We came through some rough times, and I feel I am a better person for it. Our group some how came to have the name of the 'Rebel Five.' I bought the pictured painting both to commemorate this experience of the rebel five and to remember the many great learning and life experiences earned from my Mongol adventure.

I will hopefully have more details in the next update from where I left off before,

Until then,


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back in the USA...

I am finally back in the US after several hours of flights, a long delay at the Mongolian Border and 7000+ miles of driving. I have not had much time to collect my thoughts over what has transpired over the last two weeks, but I will plan on sending out updates throughout the span of my trip shortly. It was an awesome adventure to say the least, stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lithuania the Beautiful, Belarus the Bad...

Vilnius was an incredible city with tons to offer tourists. It was great that we had already booked a room in advance so we did not have to worry about it upon arrival. The road to Vilnius was beautiful, but very similar to several other countries that we had travelled through, rolling hills of farmland. Vilnius itself was a war torn city much farther along the way to being rebuilt than the Ukranian city of L’viv. During this trip we have been sight-seeing quite a bit more than I had imagined possible. Fortunate or not, Vilnius did not offer much in our Lonely Planet guide that we wanted to see. So our first destination upon arrival was a local restaurant the guide suggested for local cuisine. We all decided to order a skillet of various potato dishes that are unique to Lithuania. After sampling a few of the different selections, it became apparent that they were not going a selection my mouth would hold in high regard for taste. We left the restaurant still hungry and decided to find a local site and tile with a legend of granting wishes to anyone who turns around once while standing on the tile. I will not reveal the wish I made, but it was made!

From there we headed to the hotel room to get set up for the night. It was in an alley with a locked gate and we ended up in a renovated building surrounded by structurally unsound counterparts all around. It was a great find inside and we decided to play a game of monopoly to determine who would get the bed. I went out second in the game with Stanton being the eventual winner of a very coveted prize. To those who have not experienced a game of monopoly with our group of friends, I will suffice it to say that they get pretty heated and are a ton of fun. The next morning found us off to Belarus and what would become possibly the most interesting day of our trip through border crossings at both the Lithuanian and Russian Borders.

Stay tuned for more and congrats to Matt Dearing and Aubree Dearing in welcoming their new son Jackson to the world!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Time for everything....

The Hungarian Bath was one on a list of firsts that I have identified from this trip.
1. First stay at a Hostel
2. First time driving on a cobblestone road.
3. First official meal of fish and chips, Belgian Waffles, Swedish Pancakes, and more to come.
4. First visit to Europe.
5. First time camping illegally in someone’s forest and again in a corn field.
6. First time ordering or asking for something to someone I couldn’t communicate verbally with.
7. First time having three or more mosquito bites within a one inch region of my body.
8. First time holding a hedgehog.
9. First visit to a castle that once housed royalty.
10. First time being in four countries within one day and over 13 new countries in total.
11. First time driving on the left side of the road legally.
12. First time ordering food and not knowing what I was getting.
13. First time getting passed by a semi carrying vehicles and passing with oncoming traffic screaming by!
14. First time getting rejected at a border crossing. (Belarus)

There have been a ton of firsts on this trip. The last few days have been very interesting. We arrived at the car after blogging and found that some boots had been placed on the vehicles after two hours away. I was surprised to find that it had happened as we didn’t see any sort of signage talking about needing a parking ticket. We immediately called the number and about 20 minutes, 100 Euro later, we were on our way. We stopped out of town towards the Ukraine and stayed in a campground right next to a local zoo. The gentleman attending the gate made it difficult to get in, but after some basic signaling and grunts we were in like Flynn. It was a nice campground and I was grateful to get in a good night sleep when we had been out and about all day. I met a few interesting folks, including a man from England that was a member of the Rainbow Tribe of the Light. To my understanding, this is a group of people dedicated to living ‘light’ on the land and having enlightenment in their soul. The cool thing is that they are totally drug free and promote peace around the world through good example. He was on his way to a gathering in the Ukraine and invited us to join him if we were able. The other highlight of this night was the conversation that took place between Bryan, Ken, Sean and I. We stayed up discussing various thoughts on philosophy and life, carrying on into the light hours of the night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Belarus and Beyond

This won't be a long post, we are in Warsaw and don't have much time. I will try to write more and post it tomorrow,

Happy Anniversary Marv!

Love Geoff

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hungary or bust...

I am amazed about how many things I have seen in the last few days and how fast it has happened. The last number of days I have been in Bratislava, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, all of which are among the oldest cities in Eastern Europe and the World. The streets are paved with cobblestones and are warped from the wheel of time. History has a funny way of telling you what you are doing right and wrong with your own life. I have been contemplating where to head when I get back from this adventure as I will have completed both my school career and a large goal of travelling around the world in less than a month. What I have decided is that I need to work harder and apply the things that I have already learned in order to reach that next tier of success that I desire within my life.
I am actually sitting in a McDonald’s and it feels more like a Starbuck’s as they have wireless internet and there are a ton of locals sharing stories over their cafĂ©. It has become the place to hang out here in Europe apparently. The Hungarians all speak English very well, but you will never catch them speaking out of their native tongue unless you address them directly. It is amazing how fast the cultures change here as well; the distance between nations is often smaller than the travel between states in the US.

We were in Vienna long enough to see some of the amazing buildings, including the amazing cathedrals in the center of town. We decided to continue along the road, however, in order to make sure we will have plenty of time to get through the Siberian part of Russia and Mongolia’s western border. We were able to see a local dance crew ‘serve’ us with a few moves, do some shopping around town, and then see the majority of the older, more significant sites during the drive out of town. I will definitely have to get back to Vienna in the near future as there is plenty more to see.

I am now in Budapest waiting to go to our appointed treat of the day, a Hungarian bath to sooth our sore bodies. Travel is difficult when you are packing in 7000 miles in three weeks!

I will post again as soon as I am able, until then, Cheers from Eastern Europe!