“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment”. Hilarire Belloc said that. Though there is one other reason Matt Sully travels. His adventurous rallies that see him drive across the globe are designed to raise much needed funds and awareness for charities close to his heart. And on his next trip, he’s inviting you to come too. Drive from Europe to Africa.
After having lost members of his family and friends to terminal illness, Matt now travels for his cause. Supporting the Marie Curie Foundation and Cancer Research UK, his next trip will be a 40 day rally in June 2017 called the Odessy to Dakar. Starting in the UK, drivers will travel from the Arctic Circle to Africa (Dakar is the capital of Senegal), and back again. 1 vehicle, 6 ferries, 25 countries, 15000 miles. The best car rallies in the world.
He’s done all the planning, he’s mapped the route, costs and logistics of what is needed to complete the trip. And he’s extending an open invite for anyone who wants to find a team of mates and join him. International Car rally.
What do you love the most about travelling?
I love to explore new places, and to travel through lands that I have never been to before, not knowing where I am going to stay. It could be a car, a tent, a hostel or in a hotel. It doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that it’s unknown. I want to drive across Europe and down into Africa.
My dad didn’t get the opportunity to explore the world. So I have been inspired to travel for him. Best route for driving from the UK to Africa.
What is the Odyssey to Dakar?
The Odyssey to Dakar comes from my love of the Dakar rally of old, The Dakar Rally. This is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation, and it is certainly the inspiration for having put together my own.
Even though the Dakar rally is now in South America, I decided to create a version via the Arctic Circle, Romania and the Carpathian Mountains and then down to Dakar and return. The majority of the time will be spent on road, but the last section through Africa will go through the Sahara Desert and down through Mauritania before we drive on to Dakar.
There is a route to follow, although I expect we will deviate from this a little. We have accommodated a few rest days for teams to catch up with the pack, or if others have breakdown incidents and even for a little bit of sight seeing.
While there is no set time scale, I am aiming to complete the trip in 40 days.
Why is a roadtrip more fulfilling than other methods of travel?
Driving places under your own steam is spectacular way to see a country; you can drive at your own pace, put you tent down and rest overnight.
I much prefer to drive than travel by rail, coach or even flying. There are so many less restrictions when you drive, especially when it comes to where you can go. If something catches your eye, you can stop and investigate. You don’t have anywhere near this amount of freedom or flexibility with other methods of travel. You can discover places which are completely unknown.
Why is discovering places which are completely unknown so rewarding?
There’s a certain buzz about what could be around the next corner, and I am very curious soul. International car rallies I can join.
It may seem like the world has been mapped and photographed to it’s extent, though not everywhere has been explored yet. And there is something adventurous and exciting about that. Through this rally, I would like to highlight these places, and show people that it is easy to explore destinations that are lesser known. Drive to Dakar. Drive to Dakar from the UK.
I’ve found that people often need a little coaching to get out and about and see some of the world. Life seems too short to not explore, so I’m encouraging everyone to join me on this journey, and we can discover the world as a group.
What kind of people do you meet when travelling through destinations which are off the beaten path and unknown?
People vary from country to country. Though there have been a few wonderful people throughout my travels that come to mind.
In Iran, despite the western press, there are wonderful people who are very generous and kind. We stopped to ask for directions and they invited us to join the picnic they were having. Not to turn down their generous offer, we said yes. They wanted to learn and speak English, and this gave them a perfect opportunity. I don’t think they see English people very often.
A Mongolian garage engineer is another wonderful encounter I remember. He fixed my car with a few spanners in his workshop, after I broke my engine cooling fan after crossing a 1.5 foot deep river. It cost me a whole £10.
How will you be handling safety when travelling so remotely? Ie what happens if the car breaks down somewhere remote?
Safety is key, and as with a recent rally we completed through Mongolia, each car will be carefully stocked with tools to guarantee safety, ie we will need to have a fire extinguisher on board, and it is recommended that teams will have GPS devices. If the car breaks, then we will fix it. Best roadtrips.
Even when we seemed to be in the remotest part of Mongolia, a person would appear on a motorbike. I am hoping this will be the same travelling throughout Africa. We have found we can usually get a tow with traffic that is passing by.
Safety in numbers is often the biggest key, and from this stand point it helps that we are traveling in teams. Summer roadtrip ideas.
Which destinations are you most looking forward to visiting on the Odyssey to Dakar?
I am looking forward to Scandinavia, and some of the roads in Norway, as I have never been there at all. The Atlantic Road, Norway, Lysevegen Road, 2 day trek up to Trolltunga, Norway should be a highlight.
We missed Romania on our Mongolian Rally, so are looking forward to spending time in Transfăgărășan and Transalpina. Driving on the F1 track in Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, Monaco will also be an exciting day. I know the track now winds it’s way through the streets, but it will be amazing to be there.
We plan on hitting Dadès Valley and camping at Bivouac La Palmeraie Ouarzazate in Morocco, and experiencing the ghost ships and the Eye of the Sahara in Nouadhibou, Mauritania. Best road trips in the world.
How does a travel rally work? Do you give people a suggested route, are there any specific rules they must abide by?
A travel rally is one where you have a start and end destination. It is not a race at all, as it is not a competition. There are no prizes for coming first. You get there under your own steam. I have a suggested route with rest days built into it. All information is on the website. Fun road trip ideas.
The rally can be done as one 40+ day long trek, or has been split into 4 other stages if 40 days is too long for each individual can take off of work. You can view the suggested route for stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4 on our website. Best road trips Europe.
Our rules require that upon registering, each team must supply a team name, and information about their drivers, nationality, photo of the vehicle which will be used, and charities supported. The vehicle is required to roadworthy and have a valid MOT, and all drivers must have an international driving licence. Each team will be responsible for getting their own Visas.
The rules also require displaying our rally logo on the 2 front doors and the bonnet. We believe this will invoke a little bit of unity amongst team members. It has been suggested that teams can also purchase a T shirt if they choose to. And we expect people to help each other if they break down.
What kind of vehicles can be used?
Any and all vehicles are allowed. From small cars such as a Fiat Punto, Nissan Micra, Citreon Saxo, to a small motorbike or even something unusual like a Mini Moke or a Morris Oxford. Awesome roadtrip ideas.
What kind of estimated cost will be involved?
Based on a car that does a full tank, we have calculated that 400 miles will cost £35 or 48 Euros. It will take around 30 days to reach Dakar, and an extra 10 days to return to the UK. The total costs on that much mileage is an estimate of £1834 which includes fuel and 6 ferries for a Team of 2 persons. This does not include £105 for a Mauritania Visa for those who need one.
On top of this you need to add on costs for accommodation and food.
For this rally you will be supporting two charities which are close to your heart. Tell us about the great work of the Marie Curie Foundation and Cancer Research UK.
Marie Curie helps people living with any terminal illness, and their families. They offer expert care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left. How to take an epic road trip.
Cancer Research UK, fund scientists, doctors and nurses to help beat cancer sooner. They also provide cancer information to the public, through the website & leaflets. How to plan a really good road trip.
If you are interested in joining us on our rally to Dakar and looking for a charity to support, these two are fantastic, and great ones to be involved with. I have lost very close members of family and friends, and consider cancer to be one of those diseases that we can combat. I am splitting money 50/50 between charities for this rally. The best car trips in the world.
If you can’t join us on the actual rally but would like to donate, you can pledge a donation here. The best European car trips in the world.
How do people register a team to join you?
Team Name, Drivers, Nationality, Photo of Vehicle, Charities Supported
Look forward to seeing you on the Odessy to Dakar!
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