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Just Before the Start of "The North to South Challenge".

Jan Kalmar: Just before the start of our biggest challenge there are lots of thoughts going through my head.

Over four years ago I was sitting with my dear friend Oskar Slingerland in a restaurant in Lapland called Siberia, where I said “I want to drive down through Africa”… Oskar replied “I will join” and at that moment The Longest Drive was born. The first plan was to do “the big one” as the first one, but the deeply tragic situation in Syria forced us to look for other challenges and took us across Euro-Asia, Canada and around Australia… Wonderful trips with fantastic experiences and moments none of us will forget. Today “The Big One” starts, and every time we tell people about the project the first question they are asking is “WHY?” and believe me it’s hard to answer. What is so fascinating about sitting in a smelly car for days and now weeks jumping from pothole to pothole? Maybe it’s the scenery, maybe it’s the camaraderie which develops in the car, maybe it’s the uncertainty about what is around the corner… All I know is that during the drives there are times where I also ask myself “WHY?” But when we return home, after only a few days my mind starts turning around: “Where do we go next? “ Despite the vast amount of disappointments, frustrations, and broken promises…

The amount of work going into this project is unbelievable, and although we try to present it as a commercial project it would never ever be possible without the indescribable help we receive from friends and family… For the last three weeks my home has looked like a nature disaster help center. It takes a lot to live with this when you are the one staying at home during the drive, taking care of Filippa and explaining her that Daddy has got a bed in the car, so he will be ok….

We’ve had help from Peter, who has been designing stickers and press releases, Kim from Salomon who is supplying us very nice team wear which Christian is printing our logos on. Lars from Sydbank who supports us. Morten and Anders from Porsche Denmark, who fixed the suspension problem and are always on standby with technical advices. Rene who lets me use his workshop, so Magnus and I can clean and fix the car, Claus who repaired the spoiler. Gammelgård who showed us how to treat each other. Morten who set up a navi system for us. The Embassies who for sure do not normally get requests like the ones they got from us, just like local fixers Nir and Anis who must be tired of pushing to get what we need…

In this modern world where we more or less have stopped talking, the need for social media and live pictures is huge… Gary who is trying to convert my ideas into something on a homepage, Thor who really tried hard to explain me what Gary already had told me 5 times. Torben who set up all the video cameras. Fleming Haslund and Michael Sorensen supporting us with press releases, and all the journalist worldwide who take up the story…

The co-drivers who are so important as we need to be a team during the entire trip… Tetyana, taking all the problems from all of the suppliers and me… not a nice job when something goes wrong…

Filippa, giving me the small tiger for the front screen, so it will take good care of us… I am sure I have forgotten many… and please if you have helped and are not mentioned here, trust me – we are very grateful. Please from my side please accept my deep gratefulness for all the help and support we have got from all the above… we will drive for you!

We hope you will follow us and keep Cheering / Sharing / Commenting and Supporting. I am sure a short message when we are stuck in Sudan in the middle of the night will help to keep our motivation. Just like we shall not forget FarmAfrica, please support them. Now it’s time to go… We have a small drive to do from Northcape to Cape Agulhas!

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