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.
Someone once told me I was a quitter, well today I quit my job and it feels great. With quitting my job comes the realisation that what we have been planning for the last year and a half is finally coming to fruition: in just 43 days Emma and I will embark on our adventure of a lifetime.
It is glaringly apparent that we still have a lot of work to do; the lists are longer than ever and every woken minute is spent thinking about the trip. For me the planning and preparation are half the experience and I have loved every minute of it.
Now that both our work places know we are leaving we can seriously step up our promotional media and hopefully get some last minute local sponsorship; although I’m not holding out much hope. Of the 150+ local companies we approached only 4 had the courtesy to even reply with an answer (incidentally all said ‘No’).
If anyone is interested in sponsoring us, you can download our local sponsorship pack below.
My grandad is one of the main inspirations for our 800 days adventure. Over the years, he travelled extensively and took me on my first official adventure in 1993 to the Nepal Himalaya where we climbed three high valleys, including Everest Base camp. When my grandad sadly died he left me part of a collection of Royal Mint coins that he had always collected; buying every new edition and release. This week we sold the gold sovereign coins from this batch on eBay. With the money we raised from this we are now able to buy our essential Airtop roof tent; our cosy sleeps home for the 114 week duration of our trip. I have so many wonderful memories of travelling with him and now he has helped us create more nomadic memories. ‘Sovereign’ means excellent and outstanding. Just like him.
It is important to both Andy and I that we are not merely tourists on a whistle-stop tour within each country we visit. We want to experience what life in each country is really like; laugh with local people, stuff ourselves with regional foods, get drunk on foreign boozes, become lost in wilderness realms and stumble upon indigenous wildlife. On the same note, we are conscious of it being a one-way arrangement; all take and no give. For this reason, we have decided to team up and work with a few local non-governmental organisations in several of the countries on our 800 days itinerary. Our trip is already a low-cost endeavour so unfortunately any financial support for these charity organisations would be minimal. What we can offer however, is our time and extensive knowledge (well, we have plenty of time). We are willing to help wherever needed and are focusing on community based educational, social and environmental projects. We are hoping to arrange running educational courses or groups in our area or expertise. For myself, I will run short courses on local environment and wildlife (collecting bugs, measuring plants, identifying birds). Andy will run art workshops which could include drawing, painting, textiles, photography, woodwork and sculpture.
We have recently confirmed our first 800 days local project partnership with Emmanuel Children’s Home in Kerala, Southern India http://www.emmanuelchildrenshome.com/ . This project was established in 2000 with 12 children; the home now has 160 residents including orphaned children, vulnerable young women, boys and girls from extremely impoverished single parent families and youngsters with physical disabilities. The home provides shelter, food, education and security for poor and disadvantaged kids irrespective of caste, creed, religion or social and financial status. Children who come from distressed or broken homes are provided with special care for their physical, mental and emotional health, nutritional, developmental and educational needs.
We are looking forward to spending at least a month with all of our 800 days local partners and being able to give a little bit back.
With our first 800 days charity partner project secured, our adventure has now taken on an altruistic slant, one which we hope to build upon with the introduction of more charities worldwide to which we can donate our time and resources. To the outsider, this makes our 800 days expedition less of an extended, work-avoiding ‘jolly’ and allows us the chance to give something back to many of the countries and local communities that we will be visiting.
We’re not trying to make out we’re following in the footsteps of Mother Theresa or anything, but what we do want to achieve will require some financial backing for basic materials and for this we feel justified in asking for a little help from our friends.
Father Harry Clarke, a Catholic priest from Stockport first introduced the car boot sale to the UK after seeing a similar event being held in Canada while on holiday in the early 1970s. There are now over 2,000 car boot sales happening across the UK every weekend. One of these can be found every Saturday at Le Mare de Carteret School on our home island of Guernsey and it is to this temporary tarmac shopping paradise that we planned to take a Bee-Bee full of goodies to try and make our fortune.
The idea is a winner on several counts; firstly, people get to carry out what is now fashionably termed ‘life laundry’... the de-cluttering of one’s possessions which according to ‘life coaches’ can have a serious emotional impact on our lives. Win. Secondly, these possessions consequently avoid the dustbin; re-using items is even better than recycling in planet-saving terms so our endeavour is also ecologically aware. Win. Thirdly, complete strangers will acquire something they more-than-likely don’t need for a vastly, knocked-down price; the psychology of getting a bargain includes a rush of dopamine (happy chemical) in the brain which elicits a feeling of pleasure and general well-being. Win. Finally, we get to raise some much-needed monies to help us reach our adventuring goal which has now taken on a slightly less selfish aspect. WIN.
It took a few rounds of house-to-house collections to acquire our second-hand treasure trove, then several hours of sorting, organising and pricing everything we had managed to pillage. We bartered our wares over two weekends; the period in-between Bee-Bee was loaded from floor to ceiling as we drove our mobile swag shop around the island with strings of beads and jewellery swinging from makeshift rails hanging on suit hooks and a poker game board threatening to decapitate either one of us every time we braked sharply. With 7am starts this was never going to be an easy money-making scheme; in addition to a cold, grey, drizzly Saturday and an army of punters resembling junk-starved vultures. Driven by our mission (and bacon sandwiches) we haggled, negotiated, traded and sold until the car park emptied and our money boxed rattled and bulged. In total we raised just over £300, a princely sum when you consider this will fund all the materials we need to run month-long workshops and courses at an orphanage in South India.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the extremely generous donations from family and friends, for which we are enormously grateful. Alongside the car boot staples of clothes, cuddly toys, books and board games, contributions ranged from DJ Turntables and mixers to horse riding gloves, rotating dip bowls and a Skim Board. From costume jewellery and handbags to a cut glass fruit bowl and a snowboard jacket. Not forgetting Big Daddy’s underpants and autograph in a huge (obviously) frame... sold for a respectable £4 to a woman whose husband is not going to know what hit him on Christmas morning.