Guest post by Drew Staniewski -
In a few days, fellow Nashvillian (and current D.C. transplant) Ryan Townsend and I will be embarking on the travel adventure of a lifetime by participating in the Mongol Rally. Quite possibly the holy grail of all road trips, the Mongol Rally is 10,000 miles of pure adventure across more than a dozen countries and over 1/3 of the planet from London to Mongolia.
To accomplish this mighty feat, we purchased a woefully unqualified vehicle in the United Kingdom. Our “steed” is going on 10 years old, has well over 100,000 miles of wear and tear, and has an engine capacity of 1.3 liters (try finding a car in the States these days with an engine that small!).
In short, we are an unqualified team with an even more unqualified vehicle driving across a third of the planet. What could go wrong? Well, in the words of the event’s co-founder, the so-called Mr. Tom: “if nothing goes wrong then something has gone very wrong.”
So why attempt such an absurd journey? Charity, of course! Assuming we are fortunate enough to make it to Ulaan Baatar, the finish line in Mongolia, our vehicle is sold at auction and the proceeds donated to the Lotus Children’s Centre, which does great work for children and families in Mongolia.
Now for the best part: we also get to raise money for a charity of our choice as part of this venture, and Hands On Nashville was an easy choice. The Mongol Rally is, above all, about the human interaction along the way and there is no doubt Hands On Nashville well represents the value and power of such interaction here at home.
Whether it is something like coordinating the volunteer response to the May 2010 flood or connecting volunteers to more than 300 service opportunities each month, Hands On Nashville serves an indispensible role for our community by mobilizing and organizing Nashville’s greatest asset, its people. What I love about raising funds for Hands On Nashville is that it means supporting not only our community, but also its people and all the initiatives across the city that Hands On Nashville volunteers make possible. It is truly a unique and invaluable organization and we are proud to do whatever we can to help its mission.
For information on the rally, our team, our route, or our charities, check out our website at www.gigglegang.org. We will accept donations, advice, concern, and emotional support, particularly in regard to our vehicle. (Help us raise money for Hands On Nashville here.) We will be updating as much as we can along the way and plan to record the entire 10,000 miles on HD video via a camera externally mounted on our vehicle (surely it will hold for the whole trip). I hope you will share in this journey with us.
A special thanks to Drew and Ryan of the Giggle Team (and good luck, guys!) and other enthusiastic HON volunteers who use Crowdrise to raise awareness and financial support for Hands On Nashville with their creative projects and adventures. Crowdrise is really easy to use, and anything goes from international auto-treks to beard-shaving and most importantly, all the funds support Hands On Nashville. If you want to share your love of HON without leaving your computer, be a Tree Giver and sponsor a Tree at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm. Register here, tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and watch your tree grow!