5 weeks till lift off....
Gee where do I start - so much has happened in the last few days its hard to keep track of everything. Organising this venture is the ultimate emotional rollercoster; some weeks you feel like you are trying to climb a neverending mountain, other weeks everything goes right and you are bowled over by the kindness and generosity of people. This week has definitely fallen into the latter category.
On Tuesday Jo and I drive down to Winchester to see expedition guru Sam Rutherford and his wife Bea. Sam drove from London to Sydney in two pink landrovers in 1997 (www.lsoexped.com) and since then has set up his own company www.prepare2go.com, with his wife Bea, organising rallys and advising people like Jo and myself on how to travel the world and make it back in one piece. Since this is their business it was extremely kind of them both to dispense free advice to us.
Talking to people like Sam you pick up tips that you never would in a month of research. Perhaps his best piece of advice was to keep our sense of humour - particularly in China which allegedly makes India seem like the proverbial stroll in the park - and never to lose sight of the fact that the main thing is to get home safe. He also allayed our fears that someone might steal Ting Tong; it seems that painting her pink is infact a stroke of genius since it would be pretty hard for someone to steal her without being caught pink-handed as it were. Thanks both of you for your help..and you might have the (mis)fortune of having two rather grubby tukkers staying with you in Brussels on the last leg of the trip.
Having had lunch with a World Record holder on Monday we were spurred into chasing up Guinness to see if our journey would make it into the record books. The answer came back that upon completion we could well break the record for 'The Longest Jounrey ever by Autorickshaw', currently held by Ken Twyford and Gerald Smewing who drove an Indian auto-rikshaw 19,165km. (11,908 miles) between Hyderabad, India and Great Harwood, Lancashire, England, from December 17, 1999 to June 23, 2000. The only slight caveat is that the rules stipulate that the vehicle must have 'no modifications'. Do roll bars, a comedy horn and shocking pink paintwork come into this category I wonder?
Our wonderful web designer Brian at Indrum in Brighton (www.indrum.com) has been busy adding all sorts of gadgets behind the scenes this week. We can now see how many hits we've had at www.tuktotheroad.co.uk and where our hits are coming from. You can imagine our excitement on seeing that in the last 3 days alone we've had over 3000 hits. Amazing, who are all these people looking at our site! And no, its not JUST us, although we might have added a few to the counter.
On the press side of things, Marie Claire are interviewing us for a feature on May 3rd, and The Mail on Sunday have said they want us to write a piece on our return. There was also the journalist (who shall remain unnamed) who, in a brilliantly camp voice, asked Jo if our 'luxurious' tuk tuk was equipped with a microwave. Dream on.
Finally - the launch party is shaping up. Fingers double and triple crossed that the superb band The Egg (www.theegg.org.uk) are going to play alongside Alice and October. Having seen them at Glastonbury and The Secret Garden Party a few times I know that with them on the roster our launch will be one to remember.
Happy Easter everyone, don't eat too many eggs and see you all at The Cobden on May 17th. xx The Tukkers