THIS summer, three friends with a taste for adventure are embarking on an epic journey – and will raise money for HEAL along the way.
Jamie and Charity Knight and Olivia Bartleet will be driving 3,700 kilometres across India in an auto-rickshaw – the famous Asian ‘cabin cycle’.
Auto-rickshaws are familiar sights in all Indian cities and are basically three-wheeled motorbikes with a roof on top. Tuk-tuks – as they are commonly known – are an alternative to taxis as a means of getting from A to B.
The team will be travelling from Guwahati, a major metropolitan city in the Assam region, where they will buy their tuk-tuk and drive it all the way to the other side of the country to Jaisalmer, the Golden City, in Rajastan.
The journey will be anything but a guided tour, however, with the three adventurers being left very much to their own devices.
“This is not a high-end race event with uber-expensive, souped-up automobiles and a host of support teams,” says Charity, a graduate of Bristol University. “Our trip is being independently organised by the three team members, with inspiration taken from adventures by the likes of Charlie Boorman and the Adventurists.
“There will be no-one to help if our auto-rickshaw breaks down, or if we get stuck in a monsoon, with the cabin filling up with rain water due to lack of windows or doors.
“We shall be crossing through deserts, through the foothills of the Himalayas, across marshlands and through the most chaotic of cities, where we will no doubt fear for our lives as we dodge cows, people and buses.”
The team admit to having no car mechanic experience and language could be a problem, but the trip should nevertheless be an unforgettable adventure.
“It will be an experiment in survival,” says Charity. “Days will be spent in deserts, with petrol stations being a far off dream and sleeping in a bed a mythical tale. Our auto-rickshaw only travels an average of 30mph, so if injury strikes, we are in trouble.”
Two of this intrepid trio, brother and sister Jamie and Charity, from Ashurst in West Sussex, have already taken part in the Mongol Rally last year, driving across 10 countries and two deserts, passing along the River Volga, through the Ural mountains and into Kazakhstan.
“Our trip to India is not just about adventure and experience,” says Charity. “We are raising money for a charity close to our hearts, HEAL, which helps relieve under-privileged children, educating them so that they will never live a life of poverty again. We are aiming to visit one of their projects in India, so we can see how we are helping, and where exactly the money goes.
“We hope that people can help us support this charity and sponsor us on our adventure, whether it is through cash donation, or sponsorship in some other form.”
You can make a donation by logging on to www.justgiving.com/AnAutoRickshawAcrossIndia and you will be able to follow the trio’s progress on a blog here on the HEAL website later this month.