We recently met up with Max White, founder of the Global Convoy: a movement of like-minded travellers driving around the globe in cars bought from a scrapheap, picking up other wanderers and creating unforgettable memories along the way.
Read on to hear about all his crazy adventures, including being shot at in the mountains of Guatemala and his top tips when exploring new countries!
Max: Having completed the Mongol Rally, I simply hadn’t had enough and was keen to do something more. One thing I knew was that if you want to achieve something big you need to be willing to risk something.
So, with some friends, we set out to attempt the massive task of looping the world in two cars we saved from the scrap yard!
As the journey went on people became more and more passionate about what we were trying to achieve, support grew, and the Global Convoy was born!
Max: In a nutshell, we want to make the world more accessible, but specifically the parts that have either bad reputations or are under appreciated. If we’ve learnt one thing from our adventures, it’s that some of the places with the worst reputations have the kindest and most hospitable people!
You can tell everyone this until you’re blue in the face but if you can get them out into the world to experience it and learn it for themselves, it hits a lot deeper.
That’s what we aim to do, whilst having fun and sharing amazing experiences along the way!
Max: As with all out trips the plan is fairly vague! We know we’ll be crossing more than 20 countries but aren’t exactly certain which ones! Having a looser plan means you can adapt to unexpected changes and gives you more freedom.
That being said, the general plan is to drive through Europe to Turkey, traverse the country and cross into Georgia, spend some time there then hop onto an old Soviet ferry to try and cross the black sea and land in Ukraine. From there we’ll attempt to get into Transnistria – a self-declared breakaway nation on the Moldova/Ukraine border- and then into Moldova, then finally crossing into Romania to reach our ‘finish line’!
Max: As we try to keep it flexible, people are coming and going quite regularly so the numbers fluctuate, but we’re expecting the main convoy to be 5 vehicles carrying about 20 people for the whole trip, with extra vehicles and people coming and going as well!
Max: Learn how to say: Hi, thank you, please, sorry and ‘how do I say this in [insert language]’
Then say hi to strangers. You’ve got all the knowledge to be polite and learn from people keen to teach. There’s not much point going to the other side of the world to read/learn about a culture and then not attempt to actually experience it first-hand with someone who lives the culture every day!
Max: Everyone has their own, but this is mine from our journey:
We were convoying through the Guatemalan mountains at night (4 cars, about 15 people or so) and we find the only light source for miles: a single bulb flickering in a straw shack on the side of the main track. We pull in, look for an owner and ask to camp. We found her and she asked for the equivalent of about 50p a person to spend the night there and then opened a huge freezer of beer! She then explained that nearby was a hidden thermal waterfall that we should check out in the morning. This was all pretty fantastic news out of nowhere, so everyone celebrates, drinks and eventually gets tired and heads to bed. About 4 of us stayed awake, under the flickering light, as we were locked in a heated game of Risk (a board game we’d picked up in the US) with each player refusing to quit… Then we heard gunshots. Quiet at first but they grew louder and more sporadic. Eventually, a truck raced past our campsite, the driver firing a gun into the air! Just as quickly, he was gone! We were all in shock and said it might be safer to head to bed. But no one wanted to lose the game, so we kept playing. Then the truck came back, slowly crawling past the campsite, then stopping for a minute. Then firing the gun again (we weren’t sure in which direction but we all ducked down as it was pretty terrifying)! The owner of the camp burst out of her shack and marched over to him, shouting furiously. Whilst all this was happening we kept furtively rolling the dice - while still ducked down under the table - and playing Risk, again no one willing to back down.
After the kind of argument that I wouldn’t like to have with an armed man, she returned, and he drove off. She explained that we shouldn’t worry, it was just her cousin who was drunk and being silly, so we weren’t in any danger. We all exchanged concerned glances… then kept on playing.
A seriously weird/eventful night for us!
YouTube is where we put our (slightly) better-edited episodes and series once an adventure is completed: www.youtube.com/c/GlobalConvoy