March 26, 2012

10,000 Miles by Car with Complete Strangers. ~ Anthony Actis

Affirmation of a healthy life requires drastic changes that often face resistance and contention from others.

I have the right life. I have a wonderful family with whom I don’t think I’ve ever fought with. I studied hard throughout high school and never got into trouble or really took any dangerous risks outside of my skiing and cycling lifestyle. I completed an undergraduate degree in engineering from a great school last year. I have a 40-hr desk job that in all likelihood sets me up to be in a management position within the next four or five years.

All that’s left is to buy a mcMansion with Kentucky blue grass, obtain a luxury vehicle and allow television to consume my life.

Although I have self-diagnosed myself to have contracted the travel bug,

I have never really stepped out of the box, dared or aspired to live beyond what is expected of me.

The path I am on is one of complacency. I envision myself waking up in a dream-like state, five or 10 years from now and wondering how time seems to have vanished, as if robbed from me by a skilled thief. Only this thief is myself.

Oftentimes I am my own worst enemy—in petrified fear from committing to my goals, while committing to ennui.

I now poise myself to partake in the biggest risk, nay, adventure, in my life. My entire life will be changing in the next couple months.

Finally, I am forcing change.

Over the course of five weeks, I will drive 10,000 miles—with complete strangers—from London, GB to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

What on earth am I getting myself into?

The Mongol Rally is an annual charity event that raises funds for The Lotus Children’s Centre in Mongolia. The only rules are that each team must raise a minimum of £ 1,000, and that each vehicle must have no more than 1.2 L powering its motor. Completely unsupported, each team will cross two continents, 15 countries and eight time zones.

I’m driving across one third of the Earth: in a European compact.

A Fiat Punto to be precise.

Each year, teams raise funds to allow this organization to continue providing assistance to street children and orphans in the region—pretty cool. The Lotus Children’s Centre educates and cares for youths that would otherwise be left to fend for themselves.

My yoga practice has allowed me to focus upon what my true priorities are in life, and understand that society’s status quo is quite toxic.

As individuals, life is truly what we make of it. It is an amalgam, a summation even of the choices we make, the experiences we have, the ideas with which we create our world view and the people with whom we interact.

The transition away from life as a corporate cubicle dweller could not be more exciting!

My team, “Baatared But Not Beaten,” is still searching for another member. At the moment, it is myself and Rebecca, a Scottish yogi that I have never met before. Our fundraising efforts have not been as successful as we would have hoped. Still, I cannot help but smile in eager anticipation.

I have a one way ticket to London. I will probably come back to Colorado after a couple months. Perhaps I will try to find a different engineering job. Or, I might try to work at a ski resort in the mountains, maybe even take a TEFL course and teach English abroad for a while.

I haven’t told many people about my plans and lack of supplemental plans. Many of those that I have told react with excitement, even a mischievous grin as they contemplate briefly what such experiences may be like. However, I have met much resistance, particularly from my family, who accuse me of being irresponsible and immature, wasting my education and my life away.

Sisyphus may have accepted the absurdity of his existence and surroundings. Absurdity in life is a chance to relish in its wonder and amazement; it is a chance to experience chaos and unity simultaneously.

Unfortunately, society has come to recognize mankind’s place as little more than a cog in the corporate machine.

I am committed.

My complacent nature will capitulate to my accountability to the team, the cause and to my intention for change. I have no idea what I will be doing when I return from this adventure. I am at ease. My leap forward is underway and I am soaring into the sky.

For anybody interested in following Team Baatared But Not Beaten on the journey, connect via Facebook, the official site or our charity page (donations highly appreciated).

To get a taste of the action check out this video:


Anthony recently finished a 200-hr teacher training in Denver, and is not really sure how he feels about teaching. He is also a total nerd, having recently finished his undergrad in Chemical Engineering, but is slowly remembering that there is more to life than thermodynamics and transport phenomena. He hopes that someday his psoas muscles will learn to smile in eka pada rajakapotasana as much as he is on the inside. A native of Colorado, he is a lover of the mountains, snow, flip flops and shorts, home brewing, and everything craft brew. As a citizen of the world, he is enamoured with francophile culture, asking difficult questions, people watching, airports, being uncomfortably polite and courteous, early morning asana, existentialism, pain au chocolate, motorcycles, and Oxford commas.



Editor: Brianna Bemel

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