Y A K F A S H I O N. Gemma on the Mongolian Steppe
The time is now to sign up for the 2012 MONGOL RALLY!! I'd been having an ogle at photos of rallies past, and came across the photos of Gemma from Manresa, Spain. A few years back she had a go at driving from Barcelona to Mongolia with her friend Jordi. There are a lot of girls out there whose idea of adventure consists of accompanying a high fashion cupcake with a pair of trendy heals and a couture minidress, and then packing it up to some urban jungle like Los Angeles. Not our Gemma. This is how Gemma described herself in her Rally Bio:
" Gemma is one of those people who is curious about everything and would willingly sign up to do anything, even if it's being invited onto a moving floor.
She was one of the fastest people around with a bike, until her face was printed against a concrete wall and she gained a little common sense... But so far she's only slightly enthusiastic about that, so bad idea perhaps to go to Mongolia in a third-hand car.
Strengths: If Gemma is in the middle, there's sure to be a laugh. It's understood by everyone who knows her - she's the only one who could convince you to stop a Russian police man for directions during a visit to the Kremlin while in possession of a false Georgian visa.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THE MONGOL RALLY?
"These adventures are genuinely dangerous things to do," warns the Mongol Rally website.
"Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of your participation are high. Individuals who have taken part in past adventures have been permanently disfigured, permanently disabled or even lost their life. These adventures are not glorified holidays. You really are on your own."
The Mongol Rally is not a race. It's an authentic modern adventure. Participants do it to raise money for the charity of their choosing -- and, because it's an experience like none other. It is designed to be tough. Car engine size is limited to 1.2 litres. There is no support team on hand at any point during the course. In some regions, there are not even any roads.
Gemma and Jordi, like the other participants, charted their own route - one that took them through Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
This year, ralliers leave England on July 7 in what organizers call "a car your Granny would use for shopping." With luck, they will arrive in Mongolia six weeks later.
Photographs Gemma Calmet