Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The beginning...

Well obviously not the beginning, but the beginning of my tale.
The tale itself is long and arduous, and although not fraught with danger, there may be a few posts where you will have to close your eyes, lest the very words on the screen imperil your soul! (or at a push give you a nasty migraine)

Back in the mists of time (2007 to be precise) after the 21st World Jamboree and the Mafikeng Centenary Moot I came up with a cunning plan.

The plan was to organise an expedition to Mongolia and China, via Russia. I have family in Mongolia and friends in the Mongolian Scouts and knew that I could put something together to show people what I loved about Mongolia. I spoke to some friends from previous expeditions and put together a team to help me realise my plan.

During the course of the 2 years the team itself changed (as teams sometimes do) and even though people had to leave for various reasons their input and commitment was invaluable and I thank them for it. Without their help the expedition would not have happened.

The Expedition itself changed. Due to price increases in Russia, a 2 day stopover in Moscow was no longer feasible. Alternatives were Seoul in South Korea or Irkutsk in the Russian Buryat Republic north of Mongolia. Once again our plans were thwarted as Seoul went above budget.

Visiting Irkutsk meant 5 days on a train; so the participants were given the choice of 3 Nations or more time in 2 Nations. The 2 Nations option won the day and we were too far down the road to change the name, so the UK became the 3rd Nation. Not ideal but there were no other choices.

The Mongolian/Chinese program changed several times testing the team to the limit. In one instance we had 6 hours to make a decision on booking flights for 72 people, which meant changing 2 other flights. Again a credit to the team who pulled it off with nothing more than a few grey hairs to show for it.

The beginning of July came around faster than we would have liked (flights - sorted, visas - nearly sorted) and people were on facebook going "Only 14 days to go!!" and we were thinking "We Know! Stop reminding us!"

Things started to finally fall into place like a huge puzzle (created by Sadists for Masochists). I had the four corners and most of the edges but could I find that bit of sky - no!
A week beforehand and everything was running smoothly. We were all waiting for the other shoe to drop - but luckily some one had pinched it.

Now sit back and let the journey begin...

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