MUSCAT – Four young men — David Foran and Fintan Gillespie (both from Ireland) and Chuck and Rhys (both from Australia) — who had set out from the steps of the Opera House in Sydney in a black Hummer H2 to travel over 45,000km for roughly six months through 44 countries and across four continents, were in Oman on their way to the final destination — Dublin, Ireland.
Calling the adventure a ‘Crazy Journey’, David Foran, leader of the expedition, was delighted to be in Oman. When asked about the primary goal of the expedition, he was quick with an answer: “Just to see the world and also to raise some money for an Irish organisation AWARE.”
He reminisces: “Two-and-a-half years ago, during a lecture at the University of Sydney, I had a crazy idea to drive from Australia to Ireland at the end of my degree. After years of planning, this crazy idea became a reality and has developed into a ‘Crazy Journey’! I had friends who had suffered from mental illness, so it was decided that this epic adventure would be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness and funds for such a worthy cause.”
So, the “crazy group” took off from Sydney on December 3, 2007, and has so far covered about 14 countries.
Fintan recalls that safety was a concern in Iran as they were escorted by a posse of army personnel throughout the country until they took on the ferry at Bandar Abbas to go to the UAE. “It was because some tourists were kidnapped recently and the authorities did not want our lives to be in danger,” he said.
The vehicle is driven only by Foran, who owns it.
“The journey offers a great opportunity to interact with the local people and know about their culture. The drive from Delhi to Kolkata was a thrilling experience as I drove for 24 hours non-stop. On our way we encountered elephants and had great fun in manoeuvring the roads,” Foran said.
Fintan admired the countryside of Laos and said the place is very picturesque. The group, after entering the main place of a country, stays there for a day or two and explore the important sights there. They have been treading their Hummer through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iran and the UAE. They entered Oman from the UAE and will return to the UAE again before departing to Saudi Arabia and to Jordan.
Voyaging with their Hummer gives them a lot of satisfaction, they claim.
Fintan was taken by the beauty of Thailand while Foran was impressed by the Taj Mahal of India and Lahore’s majestic Badshahi Mosque. All agreed that Muscat has excellent roads.
They are yet to explore Oman. They plan to have a tryst with the green turtles at Ras Al Hadd and enjoy dune-bashing on the Sharqiyah Sands.
Foran also enjoys the traditional food of the country they are in.
“In Oman, we feasted on the succulent kebabs and we love it,” was how Foran put it.
When asked if they had any problems anywhere he chipped in: “Once we were close to Afghanistan and thank God we were not kidnapped!”
The daredevils are also conscious of the environment. Therefore, they have offset their carbon emissions for the entire trip by donating to Carbon Neutral, a carbon offset company that has planted hundreds of thousands of trees in some of the most environmentally vulnerable areas of Australia.