couple traveling the world in an ambulance bought on ebay | Tech US News

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(CNN) – Two vets driving around the world in an ambulance with their dog in tow might sound like the premise of a movie.

But it’s the reality for British couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon, who are currently about a year into a global journey of more than 50 countries in an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the longest journey in an ambulance.

The couple, who set off in October 2021, are attracting quite a bit of attention as they travel from country to country in the former private ambulance, a white Land Rover Defender with fluorescent green and yellow stripes, which was previously used at horse events. .

“We’ve never had anyone come to us for medical assistance,” Dodi says, noting that the ambulance doesn’t really look like the emergency vehicles used in any of the places they’ve been through.

“But we get a lot of stares. In traffic, everyone is looking at you.”

Ambulance Challenge

The British couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon are trying to set the Guinness World Record for the

British couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon are attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the “longest journey in an ambulance”.

Lawrence Dodi

Dodi and Nixon, who are veterinarians, were looking for a vehicle to convert into an RV and travel the world when Nixon stumbled upon the ambulance on eBay in 2018.

“The initial plan wasn’t to buy an ambulance or try to set a world record or anything like that,” explains Dodi.

“We were looking for a functional vehicle to travel and fell in love with the ambulance and the aesthetics.”

After they bought the vehicle, which still had all the fixtures and fittings of an ambulance inside along with a stretcher, Nixon came across an article about a group trying to set a record for the longest distance driven in a fire truck.

When he discovered that no one seemed to have formally attempted this in an ambulance, the pair contacted Guinness World Records to ask if they could try it.

Nixon and Dodi were told they would have to meet a list of specifications, such as making sure the vehicle retained the ability to function as an ambulance (although it wouldn’t be used as an emergency vehicle) and what not. externally it looked like an ambulance.

They say they took this into account when designing the interior design and were able to meet the guidelines, while still having room for a stove and fridge “and all the other things you’d associate with a motorhome”.

In the many months since they left the UK, the couple have driven around 24,000 kilometers (almost 15,000 miles) and traveled to 24 countries, including Armenia and Bosnia, with Nixon acting as “chief driver”.

Canine companion

Nixon came across a list for the ambulance in 2018 when the couple was looking for a van to travel.

Nixon came across a list for the ambulance in 2018 when the couple was looking for a van to travel.

Lawrence Dodi

Although they have already completed the minimum distance of 20,000 kilometers initially marked by the Guinness World Record, “they are going to continue and try to set the highest possible figure”.

Taking their springer spaniel Peggy Sue, who has an EU pet passport as well as the rabies vaccination and blood test required for the animals to travel around Europe, was always part of the plan, and the couple say she has been “living as best as possible.” life” during his time on the road.

“He may be 10, but he thinks he’s two,” says Dodi. “She can walk all day, and if she needs to sit in the van all day, she can. So as far as us doing our outdoor activities, it hasn’t been a big deal.”

Although they had to skip some activities where dogs weren’t allowed, and some countries were less dog-friendly than others, Dodi and Nixon don’t regret taking Peggy with them.

“I think it probably brought us more opportunities,” Dodi says, noting that Peggy was something of a people magnet.

Dodi and Nixon, who have been sharing their travels on their online blog, originally planned the trip “to be a true global circumnavigation,” which would see them travel through Central Asia to Russia before sending the ambulance to North America.

However, due to various factors such as the war in Ukraine, a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, nationwide protests occurring in Iran, and the fact that some borders in Central Asia are still closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, they were forced to change routes.

The couple now plan to travel back to the UK early next year, before sending the ambulance to Halifax in Canada and driving the Pan American Highway, the world’s longest driveable road, deep into Argentina. His final destination will be Liverpool FC, a soccer team from Montevideo, Uruguay with the same name as his hometown team in the United Kingdom.

Sensitization

At the moment, they are unsure whether they will bring Peggy to South America with them, and are considering leaving her in the UK with family when they return briefly early next year.

“I think if we don’t take her we’re going to miss her a lot,” Dodi says, before explaining that Peggy struggled with the heat at some points on the trip and they’re worried about how she’s going to manage. in South America.

“But equally, we don’t want to put him through anything he’s not going to be happy about.”

Although Dodi and Nixon had originally planned to spend two years completing the challenge, they have since extended this by another six to 12 months.

The couple have been raising funds for two charities: Anthony Nolan, a UK charity that connects people with blood cancer with volunteer donors, and independent charity Vet Life, which provides emotional, financial and mental health support to the community veterinary
According to a 2020 study by Merck Animal Health in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians are 2.7 times more likely to die by suicide than members of the general public.

Dodi and Nixon say they have both lost colleagues and friends in the industry to suicide and are eager to raise awareness about the issue.

making memories

Departed Liverpool Albert Dock in October 2021.

Departed Liverpool Albert Dock in October 2021.

Sarah Eddon

While they’ve explored some incredible sites, including the highest peaks in Kosovo, Montenegro and Armenia, they say it’s the people they’ve met along the way and the experiences they’ve had that stand out the most.

Dodi recalls one night when they were driving around Georgia looking for a place to spend the night and ended up being invited to a local’s house, who happened to be having a birthday party.

“We were treated like honored guests,” he says. “They put us up in a dormitory the next day and served us breakfast.”

The couple says several neighbors extended dinner invitations to them as they drove through Turkey and attended several barbecues.

“The world is full of very lovely people,” says Dodi. “It really warmed my heart to see that it’s not a horrible, scary place.”

Although their lives are somewhat on hold as they continue their journey, they have been looking to the future and say they plan to return to the UK and settle down once they complete this challenge.

“The money will eventually run out,” says Nixon, explaining that they have set a budget of 30 pounds (about $26) a day and plan to work temporarily when they are in the UK, where the ambulance is booked. your MOT, a mandatory test to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy, in February.

“We have to think about coming back and having a family at some point,” adds Dodi.

For now, they are very happy enjoying the freedom of being able to travel the world together and make connections with other travelers along the way.

“We meet so many people doing such fantastic trips,” says Dodi. “There’s always someone who does it longer, goes more places and does it in some weirder way, that always makes you jealous. And you think ‘If only I could do it like that’.”

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