From The U.K. to Mongolia: The Launch Party

With a starting mileage for our trip of 86,833 miles, we arrived at the campgrounds near Bodiam Castle ready to sign our team in and park our humble car, Money Pit, amongst the others.  I had forgotten to mention in the previous post how we came up with the name for our car, one very important task.  So here’s the quick story.  After a few failed attempts of giving name, we decided to exercise some patience and wait for the appropriate name to hit us.  As we were standing on the M4 shoulder looking at our broken down car with shocked expressions, I started what I like to call stutter laughing.  I then asked Dillion if he ever saw the movie Money Pit where Tom Hanks starts laughing hysterically at the bathtub which had just fallen through the floor and he exclaimed, “You just named the car.”  We both sighed and looked lovingly upon our own little Money Pit.  Okay, that wasn’t a short story but moving on, Dillion, myself and Money Pit all arrived in one piece, on time and in good spirits.

The parking lot invited you to an open season of people/car watching and judging.  Dillion and I knew we’d done a terrible job drumming up sponsors for the event, in fact we had a grand total of zero, but thought we fared better in the preparedness department.  Still we paled in comparison to the large majority of these teams.  We were surrounded by cars with 4 spare tires, a couch on the roof, giant papier-mâché fists, cars covered in decals and even an American school bus.  We humbly exited our vehicle and desperately tried to step up our game by putting the few decals we had on the car before anybody looked too closely.  After we signed in and settled in a bit, I took a walk around checking out our possible convoy teams.  One car that particularly caught my attention was a yellow Renault Kangoo (at the time I saw it though, I only knew it as the funny looking yellow car) which was decorated with 4 pairs of skimpy animal print underwear on the headrests.  My first thought was that they were a bunch of sophomoric dudebro creeps who like to collect women’s panties.  I rolled my eyes and continued on.

Parking lot of dreams
Parking lot of dreams

After you do the rounds checking out each other’s cars then it’s on to meeting the people and hearing their stories.  I wasn’t surprised to see that the majority of the teams were all dudes, but was curious to note that the most common number of dudes per team was 3.  I never got a clear answer on how many all-women teams there were but I only witnessed one team.  This was when I initially got the urge to redo this whole rally with a team of my closest gal pals.  There were also a fair number of couples representing at this rally and I estimated that approximately 33% of us would break up either during, immediately after or within a year of this adventure’s conclusion as a direct result of something that happened during the journey.  Traveling over such a long time frame is inherently stressful and when you mix love in with any stressful situation, it has the potential to spark drama.  Negative thoughts aside though, we carried on and mixed and mingled with the others sharing similar stories of getting ready for the big event.

The "Before" Picture
The “Before” Picture

Having had plenty of time to settle in with our cars, pitch our tents and mingle, the scheduled activities for our launch party took place and we were peppered with self-congratulating speeches about how awesome we were for even showing up and how this is going to be the greatest thing that ever happened to us.  Bless the host’s heart, but my face did betray a bit of skepticism at those kinds of remarks which I felt were more likely to breed self-important douchebags than to motivate an ordinary bunch of people who enjoy a good adventure for its own sake.  I zoned out for the rest of the welcome speech and focused on this feast that we were promised by innumerable cheeky e-mails.  Again though, I felt The Adventurists underwhelmed.  My idea of a feast and I think Webster’s Dictionary’s idea of a feast is a satisfying meal with multiple courses and range of food.  Their idea was a single hamburger or sausage in a bread roll.  I mean, it’s one thing to say you’ve spent all of the budget on stupid gimmicks like a knockoff Medieval Times show and thus can only provide a light snack, but to promise a feast was a bit grandiose.  Not everyone was as passionate as I was about this point, but given how high of a priority food is for me, I was offended.

After our light snack, we enjoyed what was actually supposed to be a formal dress event in the castle.  I heard ramblings about this earlier that they were serious about the fancy dress, but after seeing the tuxedo print t-shirts and group of 3 young lads in speedos, I felt normal in a tank top and shorts.  One of the highlights of this party was the free booze in the form of mead served by proper wenches.  By this point, people had already been drinking their own booze for several hours and so people started getting weird.  My favorite character was Tim The Disco Wizard who looked like he was permanently on ecstasy.  How you even come up with that combination is beyond the limits of my imagination.  We continued the night outside where some random band played really loud music and people began displaying their interpretive dance skills.  I myself was approached by a young Asian man who wanted to kiss me and when I said no, proceeded to call me a liar and ran off into the unknown.  Dillion and I decided to call it a night at this point and retired to the mansion to fall asleep to the sounds of drunken revelry.

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