April 27, 2013 @ 1:43 pm - posted by Robert

In our world where health and safety has gone mad, ex overlander Duncan Milligan proves that the spirit of British eccentricity is still alive.  From taking a flying car across the Sahara to Timbuktu to classic car rally’s from Beijing to Paris, What will you do on your Career Break?  His most memorable trips have been with The Adventurists.  Who else would drive a fur covered Bedford van to Cameroon or terrible Chinese motorbikes across the mountains, jungles and deserts of Peru?  You couldn’t’ make up half of the Sabbatical stories Duncan tells.  This is the stuff Top Gear only dream of.

Other videos of Duncan Milligan from Tour de Force Adventure Logistics

#01 Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventure traveller with Duncan Milligan : Tour de Force – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013

#02 Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventure traveller with Duncan Milligan : Tour de Force - Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013

#03 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller - Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013

#04 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller - Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013

#05 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013

Transcript of Duncan Milligan from Tour de Force Adventure Logistics

[After leaving his job as an overlander at Dragoman, Duncan formed an adventure company called 'Tour de Force Adventure Logistics'. ]   The first job I did [as Tour de Force Adventure Logistics]; obviously, was to take a flying car to Timbuktu.  It’s obvious isn’t it. It’s the first gig you’re going to get on your Career Break, which was an amazing Sabbatical experience.  And this is what made me think we were onto something, is that I saw an article in the newspaper about it, and they were flying to Timbuktu , and I thought hang on a second, I’ve travelled through the Sahara on my Career Break, I’ve been to Timbuktu five or six times, maybe this might be useful to them, so I fired off a little bit of an email, like an hour later I got a phone call ‘yes, when can we meet’, and it was like, ok this Sabbatical knowledge is going to be useful to some people, and so the long story short, we took a flying car to Timbuktu, and it really did fly, it’s based upon Para motor technology which is basically a parachute normally, that and someone with a lawnmower engine on their back and this engine powers them into the air and this completely mad scientist Gilo built this incredible machine; and it was led by Neil Laugton, ex SAS proper adventurer. And we disappeared off across the Sahara desert having amazing Career Break adventures, and believe it or not we actually made it to Timbuktu. It was an incredible Sabbatical.

Some of you might of heard of ‘The Adventurists’, how many here, just a quick show of hands.  The future of travel as far as I’m concerned.  The Adventurists are brilliant. If you haven’t had a look; go have a look at their website.  The idea is the world is way to safe now, health and safety’s gone mad, you cannot have a proper adventure anymore, that you are taken somewhere, your hand will be held and there’s backup and there’s support, basically people like me around to make sure you’ll get to where you need to go.  And for some people that’s great, that’s what they want.  But, for The Adventurists set up by Mr Tom ten years ago, was a drunken idea in the pub, where they thought ‘what’s the stupidest thing that we can come up with, how can we have a proper adventure?.  And they decided the best thing to do was try and drive a Fiat Panda from the UK to Ulaanbaatar, so they gave it a go.  They didn’t get there but they had a brilliant time in the process.  The next year they tried again and they had three mates that came with them and three cars.  This year will be the tenth year anniversary, 350 teams battling across the Mongolian steppe in the crappest cars you’ve ever seen, with no backup, no routes, no maps, no preparation; or as much or little preparation as you like.  The point being, and I heartily agree with this, it’s when you get lost, it’s when you break down, it’s when things go wrong, that you have the adventure, and actually if you make it to Ulaanbaatar you’ve almost failed.  You shouldn’t make it.  And people take all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

So I organised one to Africa.  They wanted to do one down to Cameroon. And the idea is each team has to raise money for charity.  I think they’ve raised over £4 ½ million now with the various adventures they do all over the world and they came to me and said ‘right we want to do one in Africa; can you help’, and I thought this sounded like a great laugh.  And before I knew it I ended up dressed as The Stig driving round in the top gear test track in an Austin seven with various other ridiculous cars in tow behind about to set off across Africa, across the Sahara desert to get to Cameroon where we then sold the cars, we set up an auction and we sold the cars to charity and we also put on a music festival down there.  It was an amazing experience.  But, this is what I love about it.  These guys came in fur covered Bedford Rascals, they bought a Chesterfield sofa with them and they dressed in tweed.  It’s just that brilliant British eccentricity, if so you haven’t looked at The Adventurists website; I highly recommend that you do.  And I found myself in ridiculous situations.  Now whenever I find myself going ‘how did I get here’ and sort of pinching myself, this is one of them, this is me, we organised a parade through Limbe town, I got the local brewery involved and this was their carnival float with a massive sound system.  We were raising money for the Baka Pygmies of the rainforests in Eastern Cameroon and a load of them came up to be at the festival and all got absolutely; excuse my French, shit faced, all of them were really really drunk.  And they then they decided to get on top of the car and dance, so I then spent my entire time trying to stop drunken Pygmies falling off the roof of this car as we drove around Cameroon and it was like ‘this is how I earn my living’, and it was amazing, so I’ve found myself in some quiet amazing experiences.

I’ve also done the Mototaxi Junket for them.  I was recently in Peru.  Same thing, ridiculous mototaxi’s , a terrible Chinese motorbike with a sofa on the back.  And the idea is you have to try and get across Peru in two weeks, and I helped to organise that and it’s great fun and I end up being, this was ‘rally HQ’ that we set up where they all have a go at test driving these awful machines and then try and get them across the mountains, the jungles, the deserts, really really good fun.

The other end of the scale, I’ve done schools expeditions.  I’ve taken quite a few kids, I work with a partner company in South Africa and these kids spend two years raising the money to go out to do expeditions.  This is not mommy and daddy paying for it on their credit card, they go and pack bags in Morrison’s or places like that to raise the money and we link them up with communities, rural communities in Africa where they go and work with them on various projects.  It is a bit like, again the logistics of this, I’ve done trips of between 30 and 60 people and moving them, setting up tents, food, cooking, moving them around safely…You can imagine what the risk assessments are like for stuff like this.  It’s incredibly rewarding, it literally blows a lot of these kids’ minds.

Then the other end of the scale from that is the classic car rallies, long distance from Beijing to Paris, London to Cape Town and later this year, one in South Africa, and that’s rally support, the opposite end of the scale from The Adventurists.  There’s medics, there’s mechanics, there’s people like me and it’s this huge expensive circus that moves from one place to another.  And again it has an element of British eccentricity about it.  1914, this guy drove his 1914 car from Beijing back to Paris.

So what have I learnt from all this?  What does all of this experience given me?  I’ve learnt the hard way.  I’ve made some mistakes and if that helps you or if I can give you some tips or some advice that might be helpful that would be good.  It is by no means an exhaustive list.  There is a million other things I could have included in this but as I say I’ve tried to keep it relatively general.
Tour De Force at the Adventure Travel Show






For more information on ex overlander Duncan Milligan’s adventure company ‘Tour de Force Adventure Logistics, click here

About Robert

Robert was born with a Wonderlust and nothing excites him more than travel. He recently spent time living in Vietnam teaching English. Upon his return, he and Liz set up CareerBreak360 to help others achieve their Career Break goals.

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