(CNN) — Two veterinarians driving around the globe in an ambulance with their canine in tow may sound just like the premise of a film.
But it surely’s very a lot the truth for UK couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon, who’re at present a few 12 months into a world journey throughout greater than 50 international locations in a bid to set the Guinness World Document for the longest journey in an ambulance.
The pair, who set off in October 2021, have been attracting fairly a little bit of consideration as they transfer from nation to nation within the former personal ambulance, a white Land Rover Defender with inexperienced and fluorescent yellow stripes, which was beforehand used at equine occasions.
“We have by no means had anybody strategy us for medical help,” says Dodi, stating that the ambulance would not actually appear to be the emergency autos utilized in any of the locations they have been driving via.
“However we get plenty of stares. In visitors, everybody’s you.”
UK couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon try to set the Guinness World Document for the ‘Longest Journey in an Ambulance’.
Dodi and Nixon, who’re each veterinarians, have been on the lookout for a automobile to transform right into a camper van and journey the world in, when Nixon occurred to stumble throughout the ambulance on eBay again in 2018.
“The preliminary plan wasn’t to purchase an ambulance or attempt to set a world document or something like that,” explains Dodi.
“We have been on the lookout for a purposeful automobile to go touring in and we fell in love with the ambulance and the aesthetics.”
After they bought the automobile, which nonetheless had all the fittings and fixtures of an ambulance inside together with a stretcher, Nixon got here throughout an article a few group who have been making an attempt to set a document for the longest distance pushed in a hearth truck.
When she found that nobody appeared to have formally tried this in an ambulance, the couple contacted Guinness World Document to ask if they may give it a attempt.
Nixon and Dodi have been advised that they’d want to fulfill a listing of specs, comparable to making certain that the automobile retained the aptitude to operate as an ambulance (though it would not be used as an emergency automobile,) and that it nonetheless resembled an ambulance externally.
They are saying they took this on board whereas designing the inside structure, and have been in a position to preserve to the rules, whereas nonetheless having room for a cooker and a fridge “and all the opposite belongings you would affiliate with a camper van.”
Within the many months since they left the UK, the pair have pushed round 24,000 kilometers (almost 15,000 miles), and traveled to 24 international locations, together with Armenia and Bosnia, with Nixon appearing as “chief driver.”
Nixon occurred to stumble throughout a list for the ambulance again in 2018 when the pair have been trying to find a van to journey in.
Though they’ve already accomplished the minimal distance of 20,000 kilometers initially set by Guinness World Document, they’re “going to maintain going and attempt to set the very best determine doable.”
Taking alongside their springer spaniel Peggy Sue, who has an EU pet passport, in addition to the required rabies vaccination and blood check required for animals to journey inside Europe, was at all times a part of the plan, and the pair say she’s been “residing her finest life” throughout their time on the highway.
“She is likely to be 10, however she thinks she’s two,” says Dodi. “She will be able to hike all day, and if she wants to take a seat within the van all day, she will be able to do this. So by way of us doing our outside pursuits, it isn’t been a significant downside.”
Whereas they’ve needed to skip a couple of actions the place canine weren’t permitted, and a few international locations have been much less canine pleasant than others, Dodi and Nixon have completely no regrets about taking Peggy with them.
“I feel it is in all probability introduced us extra alternatives,” says Dodi, noting that Peggy has been one thing of a folks magnet.
Nevertheless, as a result of varied elements, such because the struggle in Ukraine, a battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the nationwide protests occurring in Iran, and the truth that some borders in Central Asia are nonetheless closed as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, they have been compelled to alter their route.
The couple are actually planning to journey again to the UK early subsequent 12 months, earlier than transport the ambulance to Halifax in Canada, and driving the PanAmerican Freeway, the longest drivable highway on the earth, to the underside of Argentina. Their remaining vacation spot can be Liverpool FC — a soccer group in Montevideo, Uruguay with the identical identify as their hometown group within the UK.
At current, they’re not sure whether or not they’ll be bringing Peggy to South America with them, and are contemplating leaving her within the UK with household once they briefly return early subsequent 12 months.
“I feel if we do not take her we will miss her rather a lot,” says Dodi, earlier than explaining that Peggy has struggled with the warmth at some factors of the journey and so they’re involved about how she’ll handle in South America.
“However equally, we do not wish to put her via something she’s not gonna be pleased with.”
Though Dodi and Nixon had initially deliberate to spend two years finishing the problem, they’ve since prolonged this by one other six to 12 months.
Dodi and Nixon say they’ve each misplaced colleagues and buddies within the trade to suicide and are eager to boost consciousness on this subject.
The set off from the Albert Dock in Liverpool again in October 2021.
Though they’ve explored some unbelievable websites, together with the very best peaks in Kosovo, Montenegro and Armenia, they are saying it is the folks they’ve met alongside the best way and the experiences they’ve had which have stood out essentially the most.
Dodi remembers an evening once they have been driving round Georgia on the lookout for a spot to remain in a single day and ended up being invited to the house of an area, who occurred to be having a birthday celebration.
“We have been handled like honored company,” he says. “They put us up in a bed room the next day and served us breakfast.”
The couple say that quite a few locals have prolonged dinner invites to them whereas they have been driving round Turkey and so they’ve attended varied barbecues.
“The world is stuffed with very pretty folks,” says Dodi. “It is actually warmed our hearts to see that it isn’t some scary, horrible place.”
Whereas their lives are considerably on maintain as they proceed their journey, they have been seeking to the longer term, and say they plan to return to the UK and cool down as soon as they’ve accomplished this problem.
“The cash will ultimately run out,” says Nixon, explaining that they’ve set themselves a £30 (round $26) a day funds and plan to select up momentary work once they’re within the UK, the place the ambulance is booked for its MOT, a compulsory check to make sure that the automobile is roadworthy, in February.
“We want to consider going again and having a household in some unspecified time in the future,” provides Dodi.
In the meanwhile, they’re very fortunately having fun with the liberty of with the ability to journey the world collectively and making connections with different vacationers alongside the best way.
“We have met so many individuals doing such unbelievable journeys,” says Dodi. “There’s at all times somebody doing it for longer, going to extra locations and doing it in some weirder manner, that at all times makes you envious. And also you assume ‘If solely I might do it like that.'”