Although in this day and age we are just as likely to get mugged in London as we are in Lima, the fact is we’ll be travelling through some desperately poor countries where our appearance alone will present us as wealthy, affluent foreigners (despite us probably looking more effluent than affluent). We’ve prepared ourselves as well as we can in terms of security of our possessions but our personal safety is also a prime consideration. Avoidance is always key; don’t wander in dodgy parts of towns and cities alone late at night, don’t display valuables, be careful at ATM machines etc.
However, even with preventative measures in place, there is still a risk there that can’t be ignored and to help us be prepared for this extreme scenario we enlisted the help of Trevor Leech and Sean Murphy of Jujitsu Guernsey. Trevor and Sean are a 5th and 4th Dan respectively, with over 55 year’s joint experience in Jujitsu, a Japanese art of weapon less fighting. They are affiliated with the United Martial Arts International Guild and World Budo Kai. With limited time, they taught us the fundamental basics of responding to a personal attack. The focus was on breaking free from the hold of an assailant to allow us to run away fast from any potentially threatening situation.
They taught us that an attacker never expects their victim to react in a fast, targeted manner so with this element of surprise you are already altering the balance of control. Self defence is about moving in such a way that makes it difficult for an attacker to maintain their grip or hold on you, in addition to possibly striking a sensitive part of their body. No matter what the size or strength of an aggressor, you can cause sudden pain by striking their nose, eyes or groin. If grabbed from behind, a sharp slide down the shin with your heel in addition to stamping on their foot will cause enough pain for them to loosen or release their hold on you, providing an opportunity for escape. Even if pinned down on the ground with your hands held tight either side of your head, a fast ‘snow angel’ downwards movement of your arms shifts the assailant’s centre of balance forwards allowing you to knee them forwards and momentarily incapacitate them. Although the focus is not on fighting, we did practice punching effectively (ie not like a girl with your thumb inside your fist). We were both told we pack a mean punch!
We are enormously grateful to Trevor and Sean who freely gave their time to demonstrate and educate us in some basic self-defence. We plan to practice these techniques regularly so the response becomes second nature. The bottom line is that is someone wants your wallet or your camera and they're pointing a gun or a knife at you, you give it to them. No question. This knowledge is absolutely for the worst case scenario but should it arise we will be equipped with the vital skills. If the ‘bear hug’ from behind is from an actual bear let’s hope the same moves apply!
This week we visited St Sampson’s Secondary School to chat to Ms Henry’s Year 8 Geography class about our upcoming travels. Hopefully it made an interesting change to their normal Geography lesson; we showed them our planned route and some of the places we were hoping to visit. We tackled some stereotypes with some of the countries on our itinerary and explained why we were embarking upon such an ambitious project. We were very impressed with the student’s global knowledge and received a few good suggestions about carrying spare tyres and pulling the ladder up into our tent at night! We were also advised to carry a knife (its tough growing up on the streets of Guernsey these days). We also wanted to encourage the pupils to work hard in order to achieve their ambitions; with determination and commitment even the ‘craziest’ of plans can be accomplished!
After a slide presentation, we took the class out to the school car park where Bee-Bee was parked; we popped up the roof tent and Andy explained about all the modifications that have turned her into the expedition-ready vehicle she is today. There was a lot of interest in our multi-iPod ‘control panel’ and how loud we would be able to blast out tunes in the middle of a tranquil wilderness. The most popular question was “where do you poo?” (...the answer to this may have lost us a few potential overlanding converts). From feedback we received afterwards we may have inspired a couple of future adventurers...
We asked Karl Pilkington to be a Patron for our trip...Unfortunately he said "Why would I want to do that, travellin's rubbish". Instead he gave us a signed DVD to auction off to raise some monies for our chosen charities. CLICK HERE then leave your bids as a comment, highest wins, Auction ends Friday 20th at 6:30pm. Enjoy.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is commonly recognised as “the world’s greatest living explorer”. A title awarded to him by The Guinness Book of Records back in 1984, since then he has broken many more world records and led many more expeditions to remote regions. He is the only man alive EVER to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface (more people have been to the Moon). In 2003, only a few months after a massive heart attack, 3-day coma and double bypass, Ranulph Fiennes (with Mike Stroud) achieved the first 7x7x7 (seven marathons in seven consecutive days on all seven continents)… And, if that wasn’t enough his expeditions have raised over £14 million for UK charities.
The above-mentioned feats are just the tip of the iceberg, please visit his website and learn more about this incredibly inspirational man. It is an honour to be able to print such a gratifying quote from someone so astounding; Emma and I can only strive to be as awesome as he is.
Thank you Sir Ranulph
We leave in 34 days and counting!
We’ve sold almost all our possessions and could put a sizable deposit down on a house if we wanted.
The rough route of our trip is 103,000 km or 64,001 miles.
One mile on the road = 0.25p
We will produce 62% LESS CO2 per day than going about our daily lives in Guernsey
We will pass through 39 countries.
We will cross the equator 5 times.
Most expensive place to buy diesel is Norway £1.52 a litre.
The cheapest place to buy diesel is Iran 3p a litre.
We will drive through 6 continents (Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, North America and Africa)
We will cross the Arctic Circle.
We've approached over 150 sponsors and all (but one) have said NO.
I've had 10 injections and two 'special' drinks of vaccinations for the countries we will visit.
The car modifications are coming on great and Bee-Bee is really starting to look like she’s ready to drive around the world. One area that is problematic with the Hilux Surf is the fact that it doesn’t have any roof gutters or rails thus making it challenging to fix any kind of roof rack onto the vehicle. Once I had pulled the roof lining out we had a better idea of how we were going to solve the problem. Initially we had plans for a grand full length overlanding safari style roof rock, the plans of which you can see below.
I took the plans to several local metal workshops and waited patiently for them to get back to me with quotes. Like many companies we’ve encountered most didn’t bother to reply at all and some needed serious chasing whilst one or two came through with the goods straight away. The quotes for the rack varied ridiculously from £600 right up to £2900. Unfortunately the company who quoted £600 could not carry the work out for another month. It was at this point that we decided to take a new approach to our problem and contacted Norman Logic. We decided that we’d go with a more simple approach to fixing our roof tent to Bee-Bee. Matt Norman suggested we made up two simple roof bars that would be fixed directly through the roof into the internal cross members of the vehicle. The roof bars would also be joined together in the middle with one cross brace to offer rigidity and to stop any twisting that might happen. The base plates have a threaded bar that fits through the roof and is bolted up from underneath. This new approach meant that we’d save a fair amount of weight on materials but would lose some valuable storage space.
We wanted the tent to sit as low as possible so that the vehicle isn’t too top heavy; Matt carried out some complex measuring and a couple of days later we had a rack on Bee-Bee. The bars fit perfectly and Matt did a grand job of making sure everything is water tight. The roof doesn't flex at all with the rack and tent in place and loaded with two fully grown adventurers. The rack also has brackets on either side allowing us to switch which side of the car we place the awning. The brackets also act as security stoppers in case the tent comes loose and slides sideways on the roof bars. Overall Matt Norman at Norman Logic did an amazing job, the welding is nice and neat and the whole project was well thought out and executed perfectly. We can't thank and recommend him enough.