An Australian traveller has revealed his plan to conquer one of the world's most extreme challenges.

Stew Perrie, a 26-year-old Australian journalist who's currently living in Manchester, UK, is gearing up to compete in the notorious Mongol Rally with his boyfriend Michael Monteith, Sydney school mate Jamal Workman and a fourth companion.

Every year approximately 400 teams take part in the race, which usually runs from London to Ulan-Ude, Russia. However this year they've put the start line near Prague, with the competition set to kick off on July 16.

In a twist, nobody will be crowned a winner at the end. That's because it's for charity, and each team must raise at least £1000 ($1928) in order to participate.

Advertisement

That's one of three rules of the challenge which are aimed at making the journey as tough as possible; another stipulates that cars must not have engines over 1.2 litres, and the final rule is that they travel alone using their own route.

Mr Perrie's team, named "Destined To Flail", is aiming to set the Rally record for the most countries visited; 42. The current record is 40.

"It's going to be just four people from around the globe huddled together in a little Fiat Panda with 23,000 kilometres of roads, mountains, deserts and disasters ahead of us," Mr Perrie told news.com.au.

"One of the biggest challenges will be to make sure we all stay sane."

Sounds enticing ...

So what inspired the group to take part in the challenge?

"The biggest attraction for me is the opportunity to not only raise money for charity but we are also getting to see some countries that I'd never normally consider going to," Mr Perrie said.

Stew and Michael are gearing up for a great adventure. Photo / Stew Perrie
Stew and Michael are gearing up for a great adventure. Photo / Stew Perrie

That includes some destinations notorious for their risks.

Advertisement

"I doubt I would ever organise a trip to the 'Stans' because of (the) idea that it's dangerous and hasn't got anything to offer compared to say Europe or South America. But after doing my research, Central Asia is what I'm most looking forward to because it's so different to Australia.

"Don't get me wrong, I know full well that the area has its dangers, geographically, politically and socially, but Michael and I were only a few hundred metres away when the bomb detonated at the Manchester Arena last year.

"I have the mentality that if you can't be safe watching Ariana Grande in Manchester or walking along a bridge in London or getting a coffee in a chocolatier in Sydney then is there anywhere that's truly safe? We'll just have to keep our wits about us and we'll be fine."

He said those countries actually seem to have a lot to offer tourists.

"While places like Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan get a bad rep because of where they are geographically, they've got some pretty amazing topography, such rich history and gorgeous architecture, and not many people get to experience the raw beauty of those countries," he said.

Of course, they are keeping their eyes open to dangers.

"There's no denying we're going through some rough terrain, like the Pamir Highway, which usually ranks in the top 10 for the worst or most dangerous roads in the world. But not only will some of the roads be difficult, but there are a few countries where bribing police is the norm and being gay is illegal — so, again, we'll have to always keep our wits about us."

The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. Photo / 123RF
The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. Photo / 123RF

The biggest challenge of all perhaps will be just getting along with each other.

"Don't get me wrong, I love my boyfriend and Jamal is one of my best mates, but spending two months in a tiny car, with not the best sleep or food will take it's toll," Mr Perrie said.

"While we're all a bit nervous, we cannot wait to get started on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There will be some serious high points and undoubtedly there will be times where we probably wish we never signed up for this crazy adventure, but that's what living is about."

And how will the adventure compare to their previous travel experiences?

"Michael and I saw the Northern Lights in Iceland just before Christmas last year in Höfn, which was pretty magical," he said. "We stayed in the Ice Hotel in northern Sweden in early 2017, which was very expensive, but worth every krona because it was such an outrageous experience.

"Jamal just ticked Everest Base Camp off his bucket list; was lucky to be in America last year during the big solar eclipse; was in Cuba when Fidel Castro died and was able to see the procession; and also ran a marathon in North Korea in 2016."

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Jamal.

"He got detained for three days in Morocco because he didn't declare he had a drone. He was relentlessly interrogated by the authorities, who accused him of being/aiding terrorists. He broke his foot in Thailand and was on the runway getting off an aircraft in Kathmandu when that passenger plane crashed earlier this month."

The team is raising money for the Rally's chosen charity, Cool Earth, and a further £500 ($964) for the team's selected organisations, McGrath Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support. They have set up a Go Fund Me page for donations.