After traveling over nine-thousand miles, we finally rolled into Paris, only to be stuck in traffic for over an hour just blocks away from the finish line.
Sitting in line and being unable to move was a stressful end to a long race, but the time allowed us to distill everything that had happened over the last thirty-six days.
At the start of the Peking to Paris rally, our expectations were ambitious. We came in wanting to do well. With enough dirt and off-road experience, we thought if we paced ourselves through Mongolia we could not only get the car from China to Paris, but that our little 4 cylinder Porsche could place Top 10. Our ambitious hopes were quickly realized. After the laundry list of mechanical issues derived from Mongolia, our fate was decided and our goals slowly started to shift. There was no way we would be placing in this rally and a new goal set in. All we wanted was to get to Paris.
The joke was that we just looked fast. People thought we were in a 911, but in truth the 912 was just a slow, heavy bug. The simple act of driving up some of the hills and getting through some of the sandy terrain was an accomplishment in itself since we were fighting against our underpowered motor and extra weight from equipment (most of it, we never needed). We weren’t alone in our struggles, though. Every car and every team had a different set of challenges, from personal health to mechanical problems to team meltdowns. The diversity of challenges made the rally unique in the eyes of every individual. One-hundred people had different goals, desires, and reasons for doing this race, and each person experienced the past thirty-six days differently, many didn’t make it past the first week.
Once our goal was just to complete the race and get to Paris We soaked in every moment: all the experiences, countries, roads, and cultures. Because the pressure was off, we allowed ourselves to meet people we would have otherwise never met, learn about cultures we knew nothing about, and visit cities we’ll never go back to. It meant remembering how small we are, and how much more there is to see and explore in life.
After years of imaging the final moment and finish line, it felt momentous to cross it. As our friends and family approached us, we were overwhelmed with gratitude that we had gotten to participate in this wild journey. We feel so fortunate everything happened the way it happened, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Now that we’re back home, we find ourselves thinking over the trip and about some things we would change, or do again. Stay tuned for our final thoughts, advice, and plans for the next big adventure.