Trying hard to depart…

Our journey to Dover had two key stops: my parents’ house in Somerset and Dan’s father’s house in Maidenhead.  Dan and I took our cars up to Somerset and waited for Rich who would drive up once the landy had passed its MOT.

  We had been frantically dashing around for the past week trying to get everything ready. We still hadn’t managed to sell our old set of wheels, which were taking up space in our friend Sheona’s garden and the car needed an MOT to validate our European insurance. Dan and I were sitting in my parents kitchen when we received a forlorn phonecall from Rich informing us that the car had failed due to holes in the bulkhead. It needed welding. Poor Rich was stuck in cornwall for another day, forced to surf the clean, crisp surf and spend another night with friends in the pub. After this gruelling ordeal, the car was ready and Rich came and joined us in Somerset.
  Rich and I drove on to maidenhead. We stopped in a service station to say goodbye to my dad, pick up my brother and meet an old friend of ours. The reason all these people happened to be at this particular service station near Andover was a result of the complicated, frantic logistics of the day (the details of which are best left out). The rainy KFC forecourt, although surreal did not detract from the poignance of the goodbyes.
 A new problem had arisen on the drive from Cornwall. The torrential rain we had been fleeing had shorted out our indicators and hazard lights. The series of roundabouts and lanes on route to Maidenhead even more of a challenge, as we waved our arms out of the windows cutting across lanes. We also detected a new and rather worring wobble at speed. There was a much needed drink waiting for us at the Nuth residence which happened to be a bottle of champagne.
  We awoke after an excellent evening of food and wine for a final day of admin. We opened our joint account, had the wheels balanced and packed the car. The latter task was the moment of truth: whether all the equipment, luggage and provisions were going to fit in the car. After many hours of carefully tessellating, pushing, stamping, strapping and bolting luggage we were ready.  We were to tired to do a last check to make sure we had everything and drove off in a hurry.
  Our last experience of the UK was sitting in the crowded booth of a port-side pub, waiting for our midnight ferry. A lone singer/guitarist rattled through pop songs to an increasingly enthusiastic Friday night crowd. We were then briefly reprimanded by the police for throwing a rugby ball around the ferry queue.
  We dosed on the floor of the ferry for the duration of our voyage and were groggily awoken to Normandy; drizzly and cold in the small hours. We drove on though northern France. I only have vague memories as to how far we drove or in what direction. Tired and cold, we were looking for a remote forest or wilderness to put the tent up. These however proved sparse as our diesel engine roared through one sleeping French town after the next.    In a village called Tetigan we gave up and pitched camp as hidden as we could, in a park hedge. All four of us slept for a good eight hours top and tail in that three man tent. When we awoke the rain had stopped and the world seemed a lot brighter. We pushed on East.
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West Briton Article

We are pleased to post the article recently written for the West Briton:

THREE Royal Cornwall Hospital doctors have set out on a 12,000-mile fundraising road trip from Perranporth to South Africa.

The trio left the resort in their 20-year-old Land Rover on October 8 heading east through central and eastern Europe to Turkey, before entering Egypt and negotiating the eastern coast of Africa.

The trio aim to report on the health beliefs of the countries through which they travel by way of a series of short documentaries, as well as an online blog.

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ON THE ROAD: Royal Cornwall Hospital doctors, from left, Richard Wain-Hobson, Sebastian Wallace and Daniel Nuth who are embarking on a fundraising road trip from Perranporth to Cape Town in South Africa

They want to raise £10,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres and Gondar Ethiopia Eye Surgery, and gather data for an international trial funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is expected to take eight months before Daniel Nuth, 28, Sebastian Wallace, 26, and Richard Wain-Hobson, 25, reach Cape Town.

They have already raised £612 during a fundraising evening at The Seiners in Perranporth with a performance by their favourite Cornish choir, The Perraners.

Dr Wallace said: “This trip is a huge challenge for us. It is arguably the least accessible and most volatile time for a few decades to be attempting a journey along this route.

“We’re excited, but realistic about the risks and challenges ahead.”

During the trip they will ask what healthcare options are available for people in Africa, why traditional practices are so attractive in these societies and investigate the validity of common health rumour and hearsay.

Dr Wain-Hobson added: “Sub-Saharan Africa is facing some of the biggest healthcare challenges the modern world has ever seen. If we are to successfully help them overcome these hurdles we must have a sound understanding of the position of western medicine in a given community, and what the beliefs of the local communities are.

“We hope this expedition will help raise awareness that this is a huge part of furthering healthcare here.”

The documentaries will capture their experiences, as well as providing regular updates of their trip on their blog published on their website, http://www.cornwalltocapetown.com

Having Left

So, it has been a week and a half since we left Cornwall. This statement in itself seems incredible. When immersed in routine and familiarity, each week can fly by, dropping us surprised into the next month or season. For us now the opposite in the case. I am sitting in Prague and a lot has happened. However, before any new stories, I feel I need to pay tribute to our staring point. Cornwall.

Our leaving party was charged with emotion. The excitement of the waiting world, a limitlessness adventure, has only begun to grow as we move across Europe. Our last days in Cornwall had the autumnal feel that something great had come to an end. Really, for us, one adventure has drifted into the next. Goodbyes were said, loose ends tied off and we were sent off with a warmth that reflected sincere and lasting friendships. Above all, this is what makes a place of residence a home.

Driving east toward Somerset we were reminded how good the West Country has been to us. Since arriving seven years ago as fresh faced medical students, it seems we have furnished every tor, beach and street with a story; be it a rainy Sunday walk, a perfect sunset surf or an endless night. This has been our adventure.

 Swallows line the telegraph wires, ready for their their long journey south, beyond the Sahara. Today, we are chasing their tails. Like them we will remember and return.
NB: post written by Bass with augmentation of Czech beer, pinch of salt required!

The Good & The Bad…

The Good News:

An utterly fabulous night was had at our leaving bash last night in Perranporth. We’d like to thank everyone who came and ate, drank, sang and gave so generously to our charities. We raised a fabulous £612 all told, which is amazing! Our thanks in particular go to Dan and Lisa of Seiners for lovely venue and dinner, the Perraners for coming to sing,  Skinners for donating lots of ale, and everyone who so kindly donated raffle prizes.

 

The Bad News:

The requirement to have an MOT before departure is proving troublesome. Those of you who dubiously raised an eyebrow at our ambitious plan to book an MOT at 7am the morning after our leaving bash will not be surprised to hear that this has not happened. The discovery that the front bushings are seriously worn means another few days work, with a new aim of MOT + departure on Wednesday. Apologies to everyone whose hospitality we must trespass on for a few more days, but we will leave soon, we promise!

Excited about Send-Off!

We’re nowhere near ready, but it’s our send off bash in a few hours in Perranporth! We can’t wait. We have 75 confirmed for dinner, with more coming for a sing later. Wonderful news.

Our thanks in advance to Seiners Bar, who have been wonderful in supporting and doing all the work for the event, and to everyone who has been kind enough to support the raffle with wonderful prizes, and of course to you all for coming! We’ll see you there…

On the Radio!

Click here to download our interview with Tiffany Truscott on BBC Radio Cornwall – 

So it turns out that being interviewed on the radio is quite the experience. We decided that we would turn up before time, prepaired, practised, calm and collected. As we screeched to a halt outside the studios ten minutes before we were due on air, I wondered what that would have felt like. The BBC, at least, were organised; we were ushered through, given a quick ‘interview 101’, told not to worry, and suddenly the red light was on and looking expectantly at us.

Luckily our interviewer, Tiffany Truscott, seemed to have done this before, and steered us through in what felt like a reasonable organised fashion.

We left elated, amazed that we had managed to avoid pregnant silences and (major) expletives. We had just one rule… In no circumstances were we going to listen to the interview!

If however you would like to listen to our interview, it can be found HERE. Jump to 27 minutes to find us.

The Path We Follow…

So to the route! Our great meander through Europe to Turkey, landing in Egypt and plunging south to the source of the Blue Nile and beyond…

We head off from Perranporth, Cornwall on Monday the 8th of October, crossing at Dover a few days later. Form there we drive through France, Belgium, Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Then we thrust down through the Balkans to Athens, Greece. Our first month is now behind us as we move on to Istanbul and the gateway to Asia minor.

In the last days of November we will aim to catch a ferry from Mersin, Turkey to Port Said, Egypt. Setting foot on African soil we will make our way through the ancient Kingdoms of Lower then Upper Egypt before chasing the Nile into Sudan. Where this great river divides at Khartoum we will give a presentation to the Haggar foundation. From here we will follow the curve of the Blue Nile into the highlands of Ethiopia. In the northern highlands we will visit the city of Gondar the focus for one of our charities G.E.E.S., Gondar Ethiopia Eye Surgery.

In the far west of Ethiopia we will start work on the project for late January/February: delivering blood pressure monitors, investigating the prevalence of Pre-Eclampsia, and assessing the feasibility of a screening programme for the CRADLE project. We then cross through the wilderness of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya and dog leg back into Uganda where we hope to work for a few weeks in Iganda Hospital.

Back in southern Kenya we will have a bit of rest and relaxation before heading down to Tanzania, where there is the option to do further work for the CRADLE project. We then drive through Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Finally South Africa. In Cape Town, when we have recovered, we will work for a final month in Trauma and A&E before heading home. We may sell the car to some a charity or some travellers heading back the other way or ship it back home.