Midlife Road Trip recently attended ZestFest in Irving, Texas, where I entered an eXtreme lolly licking contest. This particular lolly-pop was made from Ghost Chilies – the hottest pepper on the planet. The Ghost Chile’s heat factor measures 1.8 million Scoville units compared to a Jalapeno at just 6,000 units or a Habanero at a mere 300,000 units. That sucker was HOT!

I was going against some seasoned pepper-licking pros and knew that I didn’t realistically have a chance of winning. My objective was to finish the competition and not to cry like a middle school girl at a Justin Bieber concert in front of all the cameras. For weeks I researched and experimented with ways to desensitize my mouth before and after the competition. I never would have been able to pull it off had I not diligently trained for the event.

Comparing the Mongol Rally to other road trips is like comparing Ghost Chilies to Jalapenos. Successful completion will require training.  But how do you train for a 6 week road trip? I only know to look at potential situations I’m sure to face and prepare accordingly. Here’s my game-plan so far…

I will train for teammate Dave’s love of heavy metal by listening to Metallica and possibly learning some harmonies so we can have some enjoyable sing-a-longs as we transverse the continent.

I will prepare for teammate Deb’s bouts of road rage by learning to bind myself with duct tape. That way should we be attacked as a result of Deb’s antics, I can act as though I am Deb’s hostage and perhaps garner some sympathy.

My teammate Sherry has no need to stop along the way as she  claims to have a steel bladder.  I will prepare by drinking excessive amounts of fluids throughout the day and denying myself the privilege of relieving my bladder for 8-10 hours at a time. (note to self:  employing clothespins and rubber bands may become a necessary part of this training).

We will obviously spend countless hours upon hours sitting in a car. I intend to train by sitting down for hours at a time. I know that doesn’t sound very difficult, but I have ADD can hardly sit through a 1 hour church service without needing to walk around and explore. This one’s gonna take some work.

Overcoming the language barrier will definitely be a challenge. There’s no way I can learn 11 different languages in 5 months so I’m thinking that I’ll just learn to speak Finnish. It won’t help me communicate with anyone on our journey, but should we encounter some American hating bandits, I can pretend to be from Finland. Nobody hates the Finns.

I’m sure there are other regimens that will prove helpful along this journey but that’s all I can think of at the moment. Your suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks!!

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