After months of planning, D-Day has arrived for three Nenagh lads who are heading to Hong Kong for their friend’s wedding.
However, Brian Gleeson and William Gleeson from Nenagh, and James Costello from Cloughjordan, are not taking the conventional route. They will set of from the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh this Wednesday by jeep to travel the 10,000kms.
And the three latter day Phileas Foggs are encouraging as many people as possible to attend their farewell party on July 8 when there will be music and refreshments in the hotel from 10.30am until 1.30pm, before they head to Wexford and the ferry to France on the first leg of their mammoth journey.
“We are hoping for a great party atmosphere,” said Brian ahead of departure. “We’d like to see as many people there as possible.”
The trio collected their 2.5-litre Land Rover Discovery last week, which is being sponsored by Craic n Campers and Blueprint Autos, and have completed a two-day mechanics course in the hope of being able to sort out any problems that may during the journey.
“We are told that the only major problem might be the transmission. Anything else we will be able to fix ourselves,” said James.
The jeep will become their home when they hit the road, and will be loaded with their tent as well as plenty of emergency fuel supplies to make sure they don’t miss any of their scheduled border crossings.
The original aim behind the trip is to get to Hong Kong for September 1, a few days ahead of their Nenagh friend Alan Ho’s wedding in Hong Kong on September 5. Alan asked Brian Gleeson to be in his best man, following which the idea of a latter day 80 days around the world was born.
The first problem on the horizon is finding an Irish bar in France to see the Munster Final on July 12,but after that they are hoping it will be plain sailing as they head for Greece and Turkey before travelling through Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Chechnya and on to Ulan Bator in Mongolia, with a few other detours en route, where they will have to abandon their jeep temporarily.
“We can’t drive through China so we are looking at either flying or taking the train from Ulan Bator, said Brian.
While no country has stood in their way of transiting, they have had to change from their original plans because of visa costs and the insistence of some that they hire a driver.
“Nobody was being too sticky,” said James, “but we did have to do some explaining about getting a double entry visa for Russia.”
However, the trip of a lifetime is not just about getting to the church on time for Alan’s wedding. There is also a serious side to it as they are raising funds for children’s charity Laura Lynn.
“So far we have raised over €4,000,” revealed Brian. And they won’t say no to anybody who wants to donate even at this late stage.
Along the way they will be making videos which they hope to post online on YouTube under their Where would you be Goin Facebook page.
However, the adventure doesn’t stop after the wedding as Brian and William will drive the jeep back to Nenagh via Russia as James, a student in GMIT has to be back for the start of college.
In the meantime, like Bilbo Baggins, their unexpected journey starts this Wednesday.