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26 November 2013
Two UK teachers, Nick Gough and Richard Sears have overtaken the current world record for the longest journey in an auto-rickshaw in an expedition sponsored by Cardiff University.
After their motorised tuk tuk broke down, just 70km short of the world record distance, the duo were forced to spend three days pushing the 80kg vehicle before they were able to find a mechanic able to fix it.
The tuk tuk is now running again and Nick and Richard are continuing their journey towards Chile, where they will have travelled the circumference of the Earth.
Driven by a passion to promote and advance worldwide education, the educational campaigners have travelled 37,500km through 37 countries around the world while supporting grassroots education projects in Africa, Asia and South America and raising awareness for the Global Campaign for Education.
The expedition has been no easy task for the Tuk Tuk Travels team. They set out from London on 13th August 2012 and have had some major challenges to overcome throughout the course of their mammoth journey. They have tackled deserts and jungles, pushing the tuk tuk for hundreds of kilometres through deep sand and thick mud, survived close encounters with elephants in Uganda and Botswana, and an accident in Malaysia when a truck ploughed into the back of them. The greatest toll on the tuk tuk has been the mountain ranges lying in their path, including the Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes.
The last leg through South America involves negotiating cold temperatures, high altitude and the narrow and treacherous roads of the Andes before hopefully reaching the finish line in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in December.
Talking about their motivation, Richard said: "The World’s leaders have made a commitment to achieving universal primary education by 2015 but, despite this pledge, over 57 million primary-aged children worldwide are still out of school; many more are in school, though still cannot access quality learning opportunities."
Nick commented about the adventure: "Although there have been many testing times, we have been privileged to witness such wonderful places and meet some truly remarkable individuals."
Nick and Richard have uncovered some inspirational projects across Africa, Asia and South America, and have witnessed firsthand the extent of the educational challenges facing these areas today. They have joined street children in the slums of Cairo, Khartoum, Kampala, Mumbai and Phnom Penh; visited Congolese refugees in camps in Eastern Burundi and met Colombian refugees fighting to forge a new life in Ecuador; seen how education can help foster peace and reconciliation in Rwanda after meeting two young genocide survivors in Kigali; and witnessed how education can empower sex-workers in Delhi, and victims of human trafficking in Nepal.
The team has elected to travel around the world in a tuk tuk to take advantage of its slow-paced, open and friendly nature making it easier to explore and unlock different cultures and communities along the way and to learn about and from their values, struggles, inspirations and ambitions. The vehicle itself is iconic, exhilarating, eye-catching and engaging. No-one has ever succeeded in travelling around the world in a tuk tuk before.
While the team have now overtaken the current world record for the longest journey in an auto-rickshaw, they will not officially break the Guinness World Record until their expedition is complete and verified. The current record (37,410km) was set by Susi Bemsel and Daniel Snaider, both from Germany, in 2005.
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