The couple touring the world in ambulance purchased on eBay

Angelena Iglesia

(CNN) — Two veterinarians driving all over the world in an ambulance with their canine in tow would possibly sound just like the premise of a film.

Nevertheless it’s very a lot the truth for UK couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon, who’re at the moment a couple of 12 months into a world journey throughout greater than 50 nations in a bid to set the Guinness World Report 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 non-public 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, mentioning that the ambulance does not actually appear like the emergency autos utilized in any of the locations they have been driving by way of.

“However we get numerous stares. In visitors, everybody’s taking a look at you.”

Ambulance problem

UK couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon are attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the 'Longest Journey in an Ambulance'.

UK couple Lawrence Dodi and Rachel Nixon try to set the Guinness World Report for the ‘Longest Journey in an Ambulance’.

Lawrence Dodi

Dodi and Nixon, who’re each veterinarians, have been searching for a car 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 searching for a purposeful car to go touring in and we fell in love with the ambulance and the aesthetics.”

After they bought the car, which nonetheless had all the fittings and fixtures of an ambulance inside together with a stretcher, Nixon got here throughout an article a couple of group who have been attempting to set a document for the longest distance pushed in a fireplace truck.

When she found that nobody appeared to have formally tried this in an ambulance, the couple contacted Guinness World Report to ask if they may give it a strive.

Nixon and Dodi have been informed that they’d want to satisfy a listing of specs, equivalent to making certain that the car retained the aptitude to perform as an ambulance (although it would not be used as an emergency car,) and that it nonetheless resembled an ambulance externally.

They are saying they took this on board whereas designing the inside format, 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 (practically 15,000 miles), and traveled to 24 nations, together with Armenia and Bosnia, with Nixon appearing as “chief driver.”

Canine companion

Nixon happened to stumble across a listing for the ambulance back in 2018 when the pair were searching for a van to travel in.

Nixon occurred to stumble throughout an inventory for the ambulance again in 2018 when the pair have been looking for a van to journey in.

Lawrence Dodi

Though they’ve already accomplished the minimal distance of 20,000 kilometers initially set by Guinness World Report, they’re “going to maintain going and attempt to set the very best determine potential.”

Taking alongside their springer spaniel Peggy Sue, who has an EU pet passport, in addition to the required rabies vaccination and blood take a look at required for animals to journey inside Europe, was at all times a part of the plan, and the pair say she’s been “dwelling her finest life” throughout their time on the highway.

“She is perhaps 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 try this. So by way of us doing our outside pursuits, it is not been a serious downside.”

Whereas they’ve needed to skip a number of actions the place canine weren’t permitted, and a few nations 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 individuals magnet.

Dodi and Nixon, who’ve been sharing their travels on their on-line weblog, had initially deliberate for the journey “to be a real international circumnavigation,” that may see them journey by way of Central Asia to Russia earlier than delivery the ambulance to North America.

Nevertheless, because of varied components, such because the warfare 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 because 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 delivery the ambulance to Halifax in Canada, and driving the PanAmerican Freeway, the longest drivable highway on the earth, to the underside of Argentina. Their last vacation spot will likely be Liverpool FC — a soccer workforce in Montevideo, Uruguay with the identical title as their hometown workforce within the UK.

Elevating consciousness

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 by way of 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.

The couple has been elevating funds for 2 charities: Anthony Nolan, a UK charity that connects individuals with blood most cancers with volunteer donors, and impartial charity Vet Life, which supplies emotional, monetary and psychological well being help to the veterinary neighborhood.
In keeping with a 2020 examine by Merck Animal Well being in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Affiliation, veterinarians are 2.7 instances extra prone to die by suicide than members of most people.

Dodi and Nixon say they’ve each misplaced colleagues and mates within the trade to suicide and are eager to boost consciousness on this problem.

Making reminiscences

The set off from the Albert Dock in Liverpool back in October 2021.

The set off from the Albert Dock in Liverpool again in October 2021.

Sarah Eddon

Though they’ve explored some unimaginable websites, together with the very best peaks in Kosovo, Montenegro and Armenia, they are saying it is the individuals they’ve met alongside the way in which and the experiences they’ve had which have stood out essentially the most.

Dodi remembers an evening once they have been driving round Georgia searching for a spot to remain in a single day and ended up being invited to the house of a neighborhood, who occurred to be having a birthday celebration.

“We have been handled like honored visitors,” he says. “They put us up in a bed room the next day and served us breakfast.”

The couple say that numerous locals have prolonged dinner invites to them whereas they have been driving round Turkey and so they’ve attended varied barbecues.

“The world is filled with very beautiful individuals,” says Dodi. “It is actually warmed our hearts to see that it is not 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 calm 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 non permanent work once they’re within the UK, the place the ambulance is booked for its MOT, a compulsory take a look at to make sure that the car 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 having the ability to journey the world collectively and making connections with different vacationers alongside the way in which.

“We have met so many individuals doing such incredible journeys,” says Dodi. “There’s at all times somebody doing it for longer, going to extra locations and doing it in some weirder method, that at all times makes you envious. And also you suppose ‘If solely I might do it like that.'”

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