Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Without problems, there is no adventure"

Ben Coombs - Mongol Rally
A few months ago I stumbled on the website of Ben Coombs - an adventurer dedicated to driving unusual vehicles across some of the most famous overland routes.  His first epic driving adventure was in a team as part of the Mongol Rally.  His vehicle of choice: an old Mini.

Since then he has undertaken a few more unique trips, one of which he has detailed in his book & ebook and which I previously mentioned blog post: Overland in a classic Porsche

Survival of the Quickest
My reason for mentioning Ben again is to encourage you to read his book. His writing style, frank and open, will keep you entertained as you journey overland with him and his travel companions.  He is not shy to express his anxiety levels as the old Porsche creaks over rutted roads, or the tough team dynamics after a long day and night drive. I was captivated by his words and was silently encouraging him along the journey as the Porsche scraped through another pothole. I found myself longing to be the passenger, and driver on this trip.

Not many overlanders take his approach to an overland adventure:
I wanted the journey to be a challenge.  I wanted it to be uncertain.  A reliable 4x4 just wouldn’t offer the same potential for problems.  Without problems, there is no adventure. 
Ben Coombs

Here are few quirky quotes from his book "Survival of the Quickest". The ebook location of each quote is referenced below.
Sports cars and 4x4s were never designed to travel together in convoy!  
Some countries sit comfortably in one’s subconscious.  You just like them, without knowing exactly why. 
You don’t simply decide to visit the pyramids.  You are drawn to them by a strange compulsion.
Ben Coombs
Many overlanders will relate to this next sentence:
However the apprehension refused to be dismissed so easily, and remained with me. On a trip like this, it always makes sense to listen to such premonitions.  When you spend every day relying unequivocally on the car – listening, feeling, hearing and smelling its every foible – you develop a kind of sixth sense as to whether everything is okay. 
Ben Coombs
 There are few things more blissful than finding yourself on a silkily smooth road after so many miles of suffering out in the corrugated desert, being pounded every mile of the way. 
This book is not for you if you are looking for a standard travel book describing the sights and smells of a local fish market (which happens to be next door to a 5-star lodge!).  If you want motoring adventure, honest team engagements and the emotional pressure of overland travel, then this is a must read.

To encourage you to read the book, Ben Coombs has kindly allowed me to link to the preface of the book. You can download a copy via this link: Survival of the Quickest (PDF)

Be sure to buy a copy of the book!

Quote References (Kindle):

- Highlight Loc. 282-84
- Highlight Loc. 747
- Highlight Loc. 913-14
- Highlight Loc. 2019-20
- Highlight Loc. 2510-11
- Highlight Loc. 3534-37

Additional Reading:
Check out my Amazon bookshop for books, maps, ebooks and out of print travel journals.

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