As I mentioned in my last post I spent most of July and August on a wild adventure, attempting to drive from the UK to Ulaanbaatar in a 1.2 litre Fiat Doblo. I’m still not entirely sure why I agreed to do the trip or why I eventually found myself bouncing along roads in various states of decay for 6 weeks. Much of it was fun but the further we got the more stressful it became.
However, it was a worthwhile experience and even the bad stuff will become more entertaining over time. So we have 800 plus photos, god knows how many hours of film, we had 3 cameras on the trip to ensure nothing was missed and a precise itinerary of when and exactly where we were during the 6-week trip, courtesy of a satellite phone. Interestingly enough the phone also provided information on our altitude, I’m sure that could prove to be useful as well, although I’ll have to think how.
One of the other member’s of Back Man! Turn Her Over, Drive!, Kingsley, was also clever enough not to lose the note book he was writing in during the trip; I believe I may have mentioned that I stupidly misplaced mine, it’s probably in a yak now, anyway, let it go (if I only could, it was clearly filled with writing touched by genius).
Before we left the team talked in vague terms about doing something with all the information and experiences we would collect on our journey and these conversations continued during the trip and are still being batted around now.
We have had a very positive response to the trip from friends, family and work colleagues. Most of this response has been generated by the Facebook page we set up for the trip to allow people to follow the journey, read about where we were and see any photos or video clips we had the opportunity to post. Since returning I’ve been spending much of my free time going through everything just to see what’s there, posting the more interesting stuff, turning it into videos etc. And the responses have continued to be positive.
So it seems as if we have an interesting story to tell, but what form will that story take? There are a number of options, most of them fairly obvious.
We could just leave well enough alone and have a Facebook page with some mildly amusing video clips of us swearing at each other and discussing matters relating to food poisoning (this took up a surprisingly large amount of time).
We could make our own documentary, there’s certainly enough footage; this is the plan of the organisation behind the rally.
We could write a book, again all the elements are there and we wouldn’t be the first, I was given another book published on the rally 3 or 4 years ago. I must confess I haven’t got round to reading this yet.
Finally, there’s a novel in there somewhere, it just has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light, although this is more likely to be a lone gunman project.
My idea is to take this in a new direction and see if we can combine a documentary and book into some sort of interactive hybrid thingy, using electronic publishing to mix it all together into a pleasing cocktail.
It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of Back Man! Turn Her Over, Drive! to combine the disparate elements we have into a beast of quality, prose and beauty. Something that can capture the empty beauty of Mongolia, the frenetic pressure of Istanbul and combine it effectively with the prosaicism of the 7th hour of driving on a road in Turkmenistan that doesn’t have potholes but trenches. So that’s the plan, obviously I’ve not spoken to anyone else yet, so keep this under your hat until I’ve had a chance to run it by the team.
If they agree, over the coming months you can follow us as we try to achieve this ambition, from idea to hopefully fully published e-book. We will attempt this feat with the support of “The Word Runs Through It” and to keep this a truly family affair we will be seeking your input and help.
Let me know what you think of my proposal, does it have any legs, will it make it to Ulaanbaatar without any mechanical problems, or will it die in a ditch somewhere in Kazakhstan?