I came across Lauren and Mike’s blog (Abandon the Cube) while browsing Far West China. I got interested in their project wherein teams drive 1 litre cars across 13 countries covering 10,000 miles in order to donate their car, their time, and the money they earned in the event to the needy people of Mongolia.
Below is Flip’s short interview with Lauren, one of the authors of Abandon the Cube..
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“I’ve always loved traveling, and lived overseas most of my life. Its a way of life to me, and one I don’t take for granted!”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“Once, in Kazakhstan the cops robbed me MULTIPLE TIMES while I was on the train. The train would stop, new cops would get on and pat everyone down, and then the train would go again. This went on until we crossed the border to Uzbekistan!”
What’s the most outstanding travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“For me, being at the Beijing Olympics after having lived in China for a few years was amazing. While not extreme or outrageous, it was just a crowning moment for the country, and the mood was vibrant and alive all over the city.”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“Its a great and humbling feeling to happen upon a great place that has been there for a long, long time and yet you were unaware of it. Its like a discovering a part of you that was always there but somehow not visible. I felt this way most strongly in Samarkand, when I went for a walk and ended up at the Registan, which I did not realize was in Samarkand. It was lit entirely by moonlight and deserted except for a few guards, and I walked around feeling like I’d actually discovered something no one had seen. Obviously that isn’t true, but that feeling is one that makes traveling worth while.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“Traveling can be tiring, but to me live stuck in one place would be much more so. That thought alone can propel me down any untrodden road, and happily so.”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“I would love to travel with Froto. He is a man on a mission, and having a purpose in your travel is kind of fun, too.”
What could stop you from travelling?
“Unless alot happens that I’m not aware of after death, then probably dying would be the end all for me.”
Among the places that you’ve been to, which one fascinated you the most?
“I’ve been to a lot of places, and been intrigued by so many, and loved so many, but fascination and awe were most strongly felt in Turkmenistan, where I spent several nights camping next to a giant flaming crater, or camped along a wall Alexander the Great helped to build. That time warp, from the time of the greats to now, is not so long in Turkmenistan, and it makes me think another couple hundred years wont make that big a difference, either.”
What do you think about yourself?
“I’m not sure how to answer that one! I think I’m infatuated with travel, I’m always reading, always hungry for more adventure, more places to see, and a genuine interest in learning about the places I am fortunate enough to visit.”
“Abandon the Cube is a philosophy I live by, and one I hope others can come to enjoy as well. Its about leaving your job to travel, and realizing there is a feasible way to do that in everyone’s life. A life that is all too short and often filled with stress. Our blog is written by Mike and myself, and we’ve been abandoning the cubicle since 2007.” – Lauren