It was a bright April Saturday, when I joined a group of my Columbia Business School friends on a long walk over the Brooklyn Bridge leading us to the foodie destinations of Williamsburg. We were all talking about our summer plans – aspiring investment bankers were taking internships in the city, techies were heading to the west coast, but the sponsored MBAs just wanted to have fun. This is when Philipp shared his grand plan to drive a charity rally from London, UK to Ulanbataar, Mongolia. For a few seconds we were all left speechless and then Philipp unveiled all the details over lobster rolls at Williamsburg Food Market.
Meet AlpenBlitz, a Swiss-Austro-German team of 5 management consultants, aspiring MBAs and adventurists who took off from London on July 14 in two Suzuki Ignis SUVs slightly modified for off-roading. As rally participants, the guys were required to raise $15,000 for one of the official charities as well as sell their cars (or what’s left of them) upon arrival to Mongolia and donate the proceeds to a local community project. The team was looking for a website to help raise the funds as well as maintain a journey blog as an additional value to the sponsors and to keep all of us informed (and jealous) of their whereabouts. It is important to note that the cost of the trip itself including the cars, visas, gas, hotel stays, etc. was covered by the team personally, with no sponsor involvement. At that point, it became a clear opportunity for Dizzain to honor our commitment to annual charity work while helping our good friends in the process. AlpenBlitz.org was officially born with a toast of Hofbrau at Brooklyn’s Radegast Hall (that made Philipp slightly home sick).
The site was built and AlpenBlitz was on its way. Three weeks after the beginning of the journey the team is still going strong: Germany, Austria, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and now Uzbekistan – the list keeps growing and the 2 cars, equipped with a mascot mountain ram Alpenbok, keep on running. Though the most challenging part of the journey is still ahead as guys have to cross the Gobi desert, a true off-roading rally experience, in order to get to their final destination. Aside from driving great distances, AlpenBlitz gets to experience culture of the places they pass by socializing with the locals, eating and drinking…. and drinking some more (with a rare exception of Iran). Eugene takes plenty of pictures, while Philipp maintains a daily blog describing the hardships of the long road.
Dizzain wishes AlpenBlitz to reach their final destination and get home safely. Homecoming celebration to follow in September when the new school year starts.