Hey there! We’re Craig and Aimee and we create travel videos of our adventures around the world. Most of the time we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, but that’s only part of the fun! So far we’ve visited 20 countries, met people from all walks of life and somehow survived only speaking English. That said, we’ve always wanted to learn a language. If there’s one thing we’ve learned on our travels, it’s that the smallest word or effort to speak to someone in their native language goes a long way. The smile of appreciation on someone’s face is enough to make you want to learn how to speak fluently — trust us.
Still, learning a language has always seemed like a mighty and daunting task. As alluring and exciting as being able to speak another language sounds, the thought of actually starting the task has always put us off. But after signing up for Mongol Rally — a charity race that takes you through 14 countries — we thought it would be beneficial to know at least a few words of three new languages. Here’s how we got started.
What Is The Mongol Rally?
In July we will be driving 10,000 miles from Wales all the way to Russia. The race is known as the Mongol Rally and there are only three rules:
- You have to drive in a 1.2-liter car or less
- You are completely alone
- Save the world
Rule number one is already sorted, as we have a tiny 1.2-liter Fiat Panda that we’ve named “Fferanda Babes” in our arsenal. Somehow we’ll need to find a way to fit four adult-sized humans inside this car (not to mention our luggage) and have it successfully take us halfway across the planet.
Rule number two is self-explanatory: We are alone — there is no external help. If we break down, we can’t make a phone call for an emergency mechanic with a helicopter; if we run out of gas in the Mongolian desert, we’re walking to the nearest station; if our wheels fall off in Serbia, we’ll have to put them back on ourselves. As they say: If it’s not dangerous and you’re not lost, you’re not on an adventure.
Rule number three relates to charity. Everybody participating in the Mongol Rally must raise money for a charity called Cool Earth, which is an awesome organization that works in partnership with indigenous communities to save rainforests. We are also raising money for a charity that did loads for Aimee when she was going through cancer treatment: CLIC Sargent. They’re a brilliant children’s cancer charity, and their care teams provide specialist support across the UK.
Why We’re Using Babbel For The Rally
Knowing what we’ve learned from our previous travels (and particularly how a few words can go a long way), we’ve decided to learn three languages for this monster adventure: German, Turkish and Russian. We chose these languages specifically because we’ll be in those countries the longest and also because we’ve never attempted any of these languages before. Can you tell that we love a good challenge?
If our tires fall off in Germany, or we break down in the Turkish countryside or need a lift to the finish line in Russia, we know that these languages could make or break the trip.
To be honest, we’re pretty nervous — but we’re going in with open minds and the belief that a smile and a simple “thank you” will give us a big boost with the locals. We’re expecting to have an arsenal of phrases to help us succeed in driving our laughable car all the way to the finish line.
We’re definitely leaning on the Babbel app to guide us on our way, and so far we are absolutely loving the way it works. As the saying goes, “Ain’t nothing to it but to do it!” So we’re doing it, and we’re learning slowly every day so that when our brakes fail, we can politely shout to the Russian guards: Pomogite! (Помогите! / Help!)
Wish us luck, and we’ll see you on the road!
Craig & Aimee