There are millions of local characters with fascinating stories to share and Intrepid’s Efrat Margalit loved getting to know one young man from Uzbekistan…
“Muzafar’s parents were born in Iran. Muzafar (a.k.a Raza) was born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Like any other Uzbek guy in his early twenties, Raza wanted to get married. In order to find a good wife from a well-respected family, Raza had to have some property and money to offer. For the first time in his life he left his family and Samarkand behind and followed many other Uzbek men to Dubai in search of fortune.
It started with a tweet from Sherry Ott, asking if anyone was interested in doing the Mongol Rally. Pamela MacNaughtan (a.k.a. @spunkygirllogue) thought about that tweet for about 2 minutes, then responded, “I’m in”, the next thing she knew Sherry was connecting her with Charlie Grosso, a photographer from New York, who was looking for a teammate…
“Spanning 1/3 of the world, from London to Ulaan Bataar, the Mongol Rally is 10,000 miles of intense driving, through sand, over mountains, on gravel, through rivers large and small. It’s pure adventure. The route is not set, and support is non-existent. If the car breaks down, then the team needs to figure out how to get it fixed. If there is a border crossing delay, then the team needs to figure out how to deal with it.
On August 18, 1984, Courtney Gilmour was born in Sarnia, Ontario. Her right arm ends just above the wrist, and her left arm ends immediately below the elbow. She has one fully functional leg; her other leg ends mid femur. She uses a prosthetic to assist in walking. To complete tasks, she uses only the ‘nubs’ at the end of her arms. Today, Courtney lives in Toronto and is a writer for several online publications and a sketch writer for the famous comedy school Second City.
Through a short and powerful video by Eric Kruszewski you can learn more about Courtney’s story. Eric has made it his goal to bring awareness to the abnormal health effects caused by industry pollutants…
There are those stand-out travel moments when we meet someone who has an incredible impact on our appreciation of a place and an understanding of its people. Aaron Davis had one of those profound experiences, when with Intrepid he met Kei san in Japan…
“I have been affected by radiation.” Not a sentence I ever thought I’d hear someone say, but in Hiroshima I got to meet and talk to a hibakusha, a survivor of the A-bomb. Kei san is a most remarkable man with a wonderful outlook on life. He was 16 years old when the bomb was dropped and by a stroke of pure luck he was in school in Hiroshima at the time, which offered some defence from the heat and radiation blast.
Less than an hour from Irkutsk, it’s no wonder many Russian and international visitors love visiting Lystvyanka. The village is in the stunning Lake Baikal region, but Intrepid’s Boris Golodets introduces us to another special local attraction…
“Sveta is a vendor at the local village market in Lystvyanka. She has her stall right at the end of the market and not many people notice her in the back corner. In case you’re there – look out for the lady wearing her yellow hat when it’s cold. Seller Sveta lives in Irkutsk and each morning takes a very early public bus to come to the market and returns home late in the evening.
When Maxine Gallagher travelled on Intrepid’s Trans-Mongolian Express trip she expected to be moved by historic sites and the iconic journey, but it was also the ageing women of Russia who left an indelible impression…
“They line the streets, they fill the shops, they push past people in queues to grab 15 ruble bottles of vodka, they sell their motley selections of mushrooms on an old blanket, they walk slowly but purposefully, they stand still against walls, they stare in wonder at garish posters, they hold hands outstretched with dignity. They are Russia’s ever-present babushkas.
Who would have thought that 2012 would be the year that Intrepid’s Anya Hodson sets herself one of the biggest challenges of her life? It’s not surprising that she’s pledged to do this for a cause that she’s passionate about, as she always gives everything 110%, but the kind of challenge that she’s decided to take on is definitely outside her comfort zone…
“I can recall being in Cuzco last year, climbing hundreds of steps a day and feeling the grip of high altitude tightening on my chest and lungs. The sheer majesty of Macchu Picchu will never be forgotten, but the steep descent down so many steps caused aches in my bones that lingered for days. I remember thinking to myself that I could never do a trip that involved trekking or cycling for days on end – I just didnt think that I had it in me.
You’ve seen shows on TV where family trees are traced back and relatives are reunited, but how often does this really happen? When Tony Bloomfield booked an Intrepid trip in Croatia he had one special wish, to find out more about his father…
“Firstly a bit of background to my story. My father came from Korcula (family name Stanisich) to New Zealand in the middle 1930s and later married my mother. Unfortunately he was killed in a work-related accident when I was very young and my mother eventually remarried. In 2005, my mother, older sister and I went to Croatia. We visited Korcula and the village of Pupnat, where my father was from, in hope of meeting family members. We had an interpreter organised, but he failed to show up and sadly we left without making any contact.
In 2004, Benj Binks started working for Intrepid as a group leader on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He soon found himself in Mongolia and was caught off guard by the bustling modern city of Ulaanbaatar, with its cafes, trendy youth and hip hop. Mongolia soon became a highlight of his 3-week trips, and Benj fell in love with the country’s culture, people and music.
After leaving Intrepid, Benj pursued a career in filmmaking and returned to Mongolia to make his first documentary. Mongolian Bling delves into the world of Mongolian hip hop and explores how the youth are identifying with its beats and rhymes, whilst reconnecting with their ancient music. The film is in its final stages of production, but it’s now ‘all or nothing’. If $50k is not raised by Tuesday, 29 November, Benj and his team will receive nothing. If you want to help bring Mongolian Bling to the big screen, please make your pledge via Kickstarter today!