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7 things I learned by driving a small car from England to Mongolia

7 things I learned by driving a small car from England to Mongolia

This past summer I took a somewhat epic trip that involved driving a small car from England to Mongolia. It required a good deal of planning, visas, cash, quitting my job, and a strong sense of adventure. Here is a seven point summary of things I learned from that trip:

1) The power of the destination.

This one seems obvious now, but I don’t think I was as consciously aware of it until this trip. The lesson is if you have somewhere you are going, whether it be physical or metaphorical, one’s greatest potential is unlocked in this time.

2) People are the same.

There are a shit-tonne of people in the world of various types. We tend to get ourselves into similar tribes and find ourselves against some other tribe. Truth is that we are pretty much the same and our needs are all shared. That is: water, food, shelter, sex, family, gas (energy), love. That’s it!

3) Let go.

You can’t control everything. Letting go and embracing the chaoticness or flow of life is sometimes the best thing to do. Fighting it only leads to stress.

4) Some people will dislike you.

This one I did not expect to come across on this journey. It really has nothing to do with driving a small car a long way, but weirdly it was a ‘sleeper’ lesson to be had. For whatever reason, there will be a time when someone doesn’t like you or what you do. Most people I knew love that I gave up my job and took a journey, but there were a couple that disapproved. You could go into the psychology of it all but it doesn’t matter. Some people will dislike you and you just have to know that.

5) People are everywhere.

I know the world’s population is around 7 billion. What I didn’t know is that means the entire planet, even in the world’s most desolate places, is full of people. There are basically people and their stuff everywhere. Even if you drive for 10 hours and only see a few people you’re just not that far away. The short answer is there are too many people using too much stuff and the world is most likely fucked. Sorry for the downer point.

6) You are capable of more than you know.

Put yourself into a difficult situation and I guarantee that most of you will do some next-level shit to get out of it. Most of us live in our comfort zone and it turns out there is a very large amount of unused potential sitting in that buffer. Find those edges.

7) Uncertainty is scary.

This dials into our core emotion of fear. When you don’t know how something is going to turn out you feel fear. Instinct tells us to pull back, but as a man who drove a small car a long way, our greatest strength and achievements come in that phase. Be tolerant of risk. It feeds back into your potential.

Being the perfect guest

One of the things I enjoy most about traveling is getting that ‘local experience’. It’s the time when you see a place through a local’s eyes; a glimpse of what it might be like to live there albeit without the drudgery of having to work. Staying with a friend is a great way to do this, and also lets you free up money that would be spent on a hotel to have some fun with.

Here are my tips to help you get invited back:

  1. Always leave a bottle of wine, a gift, or at least a handwritten thank you note.
  2. Avoid lengthy stays. As my aunt Patricia used to tell me “guests are like fish Kyle. Anything longer than three or four days and they start to smell bad”.
  3. Clean the kitchen or stack/unstack the dishwasher.
Thank you bottle of wine

Leave a thank you bottle of wine


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