How Am I Going to Pay for the Mongol Rally?

2012 is a big adventure travel year for me. It’s the first time I’ve made travel plans without ditching them because there is no way I can possibly afford them. This time around I have decided, rather firmly, that I will be doing the Mongol Rally followed by a solo journey along the Silk Road from Xi’an to Istanbul. Once my decisions were made, I started to think about how I was going to pay for all of this. It’s a valid question, both trips come with a bit of a price tag and when I made the decision to do them I was only earning money from ads and sponsored posts on this blog which is not really enough to pay for two mega trips.

So, how am I going to pay for all of this? Well, my Mongol Rally teammates and I are working towards finding sponsors to help offset the cost of the rally. After all, we need to buy a used car, pay for insurance and gas, find places to sleep, eat and have some fun along the way. We also need clothing and gear to make the rally slightly comfortable. I know, we shouldn’t be comfortable during an epic road trip to the Mongol Rally. If we can find enough sponsors to offset the cost of the rally (I’m offering ad space on the car, on this blog, in posts etc. to sponsors. Plus my undying love and affection), we’re golden and my stress levels will surely decrease.

But what if we don’t? Shhhh! Don’t think that!!

I’m a spontaneous person by nature, and I often dive-in before I have everything I need to actually swim. It’s like teaching a kid to swim by pushing them into a pool. I’ll flail around a bit, but I eventually drown or figure it out, depending on the situation. It’s barbaric, I agree, but it seems to be the way I do things. This time, I’m doing things a little differently. Aside from the Mongol Rally, I also need to travel back to Europe, overland. That trip alone will cost a few thousand dollars.

I could save money by staying with family (check) and stressing over writing freelance articles and selling ad space. I could probably do it, but it would be tight. Plus, there is the fact that I generally don’t get paid until almost a month after the article has been submitted, or the ad has been placed. Keeping those things in mind I made the call to do things a little differently. I’m still writing freelance articles (I have some coming out with and another secret publication that I don’t want to jinx by telling you the name of) and selling ad space on this blog, but I’ve also done something I swore I would never do again. I went out and found a job. Like a real job. The one with real bi-weekly paychecks, backstabbing co-workers…

I was reluctant at first but decided that taking on a real job for 6 months would be a great way to save money, fast. After all, I’m staying with family, so there is no rent, utilities or phone bills that I have to pay. The only thing I need to pay for is gas for my car and food. The job I accepted is somewhat sales based on commissions. Can you say ‘Cha-ching!’. I don’t want to brag, but I think I’m a pretty damn good salesperson, especially when there are cash incentives involved. Do you hear that noise? I think it’s my money train chugging towards me.

There is, of course, a few hitches in my little money train that I need to navigate before I get my hands on the cash inside the golden caboose.

  • My job is in North York and I’m living in Orangeville. Due to the insane rush hour(s) traffic, I need to leave my house by 6:30 a.m. to get to work in time to start my shift at 9:00 a.m., gross. 12 hours after I leave for work, I actually get back home. As my work day is 8hrs long, that means I’m spending 4 hours a day driving, sitting in traffic, or sitting outside work inside my car.
  • I have like 55 days of mind-numbing training. I tend to pick things up quickly, especially if I’m using a computer. In a hiring class of about 20 people, there are about 5 of us who finish training modules and then sit for 45 mins doing nothing as the rest of the class catches up. It’s painful. Seriously. I’m writing this before I leave for work and I already wish I was home for the night.
  • I’m supposed to be paid $12.50 and hour, but during training, I only get $11.50 an hour. The extra dollar is set aside and I don’t get that money until after training and I’ve sold for a month. Then I get it in a lump sum and every hour I work going forward is paid at the rate of $12.50.
  • As if spending 12 hours of my day either working or driving to or from work wasn’t enough, I also need to do things like write freelance articles, pop into social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and post on this blog. That means I’m spending about 3-4hrs each night working after I’ve finished my mind-numbing day of training.
  • I only get one day off a week (due to Christmas and New Years which is dumb!) so my one day is spent doing laundry, writing, cooking for my family, planning travel, returning emails, editing photos…you get the picture.
  • My time is very limited, which means I use lunch hours and breaks to socialise and talk to potential sponsors and publishers. I am so not unplugged.
So, my hitches are manageable. All I need to do is ignore the annoyingly perky and chatty woman next to me and remember that I’m making money to pay for a year (or more) of adventure travel. Come to think of it, I need to find an awesome, inspiring Mongol Rally photo that I can use as a background image on my iPad to remind me of work.
The next 6 months are going to be insane. I’ll be spending every waking moment either working (apparently they offer lots of overtime, cha-ching!), writing, trying to round-up sponsors, attending travel type events in Toronto, finding, securing and insuring the car for the rally, planning with my teammates via Skype, keeping this blog up to date and interesting, interacting on social media, securing press coverage for the rally and so many other things. Are you exhausted yet? I am! That’s okay though. The Mongol Rally starts July 13th and I plan to fly to Scotland in June to explore and relax before I take on this epic adventure.
Time for work!

About The Author

I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

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8 Responses

  1. A Crafty Traveler

    I feel tired after just reading that but I’m sure it will be all worth it in the end! Good luck and I’m looking forward to reading all about the adventure in 6 months!

  2. Erin

    Wow that does sound exhausting. Sometimes travel does need sacrifices though and it’ll be worth it in the end. Glad you have scheduled some time to relax before the adventure begins.

  3. Kate Ming-Sun

    I need to take inspiration from this post and start working on that 4th bullet point. Good luck and thanks for this post!

  4. Colin Burns

    Great work on the Rally, I know you’ll be right, the hard slog will definitely be worth the extra effort you need to put in now! Just tattoo “Mongol Rally” on the back of your eyelids so each time you fall asleep at work you can remember you should be awake for the rally 🙂

    • SpunkyGirl Monologues

      Thanks! It’s A LOT of work to prepare for the rally, but you’re right, it will definitely be worth it in the end. I think part of my problem is that I think too big when it comes to adventures like this. lol

  5. Andi Perullo

    I know you’ll find a way to make it happen! I can’t wait to see your posts from the trip. What an exciting 2012 you’re going to have!!!


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