On the first day of Overland Rally, KP and I were wandering through the vendors square. KP had just pointed out the third person who he had either met last year, watched their youtube videos, or read their blog. "You realize this is like my Oscars," KP explained to me, using a reference point I would understand.
The whole weekend went like that. Taking classes from world class photographers and journalists from Overland Journal, meeting people who casually mention living in Ethiopia for 10 years, or driving from London to Singapore in a Series 1 Land Rover with their three kids, you know just normal everyday stuff.
In a weekend of highlights, one in particular stood out for me. My first class of the Rally was Navigation and Compass Skills taught by Rachelle Croft and Rhonda Cahill of Expedition Overland and Team Xelles. I went to this class alone because KP wanted to take Solar 101 (and a good thing, because we got a great deal on our whole solar setup). I was intimidated by the experience of most of the people at the Rally and was sure that I would be way behind in this introductory class.
Rhonda and Rachelle started out by explaining their experience with compass and map only navigation. They compete regularly in something called Dead Reckoning races. These are navigation only, NO GPS, races that span thousands of kilometers across incredibly tough terrain. These girls are bad-asses!!! They are also really great teachers. They started out with the basics, had us all finding North then turning in circles as we guessed as a group where each heading would be. At first it didn't make sense how to change your heading, and "put the red in the shed", then in a moment it just clicked! After that, I was the one my little group was asking questions. Apparently I can't tell my left from my right (as anyone who knows me well will attest) but give me a compass and I know what I'm doing!
I took their class the next day on how to be a rally driver, mostly because I wanted to hear more about their experiences. Turns out, they were promoting the first ever ladies-only Dead Reckoning rally happening in the states in October. They walked us through the process of getting involved, and by the end of the class it was decided; I was going to race in the Rebelle Rally!
One week later, I have participated in a conference call with the race director, talked to 8 potential teammates from all over the world, made a plan to get sponsors (being a rally racer is not cheap), and started buying plotters, maps, and compasses. I am so excited to be a part of this historic event happening in October right at the kick-off of our huge adventure! KP has been incredibly supportive of this huge new life goal that a week ago did not exist. But that's the kind of husband he is.
Check out the Rebelle Rally home page for more info about this crazy, awesome event and stay tuned for more updates!