A couple travels around the world in an ambulance… what is the reason?

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — At first, when you hear the story of this duo, who are two veterinarians traveling the world with their dog in an ambulance, you might think that it is the plot of a movie.

But it is a reality for the British duo, Lawrence Doody and Rachel Nixon, and they have been embarking on a global journey for about a year through more than 50 countries, in an attempt to set a new record, in the Guinness Book of Records, for the longest journey on board an ambulance.

When the duo set off on their trip in October last year, they attracted a great deal of attention as they drove from country to country aboard an ambulance, a white Land Rover Defender with yellow and light green stripes, formerly used during horse racing events.

This duo travels the world in an ambulance..what is the reason?
British couple Lawrence Doody and Rachel Nixon are attempting to set the Guinness World Record for longest journey in an ambulance., plain_textCredit: Lawrence Dodi

Dodi explained that they had never been asked to stop for medical assistance, pointing out that the ambulance they were traveling in was not in fact similar to the emergency vehicles used in any of the destinations that they passed through.

However, the duo faced a lot of staring at them, especially in the traffic jam, as they said: “Everyone is looking at us.”

Ambulance challenge

Veterinarians Dodi and Nixon were looking for a car to turn into a camper to travel around the world in when Nixon stumbled upon an ambulance for sale on eBay in 2018.

“The initial plan wasn’t to buy an ambulance, or try to set a world record, or anything like that,” explains Dodi. “We were looking for a practical vehicle to travel in, and we fell in love with the ambulance and its aesthetics.”

This duo travels the world in an ambulance..what is the reason?
Nixon happened to find an ambulance for sale in 2018 when the couple was looking for a camper to travel in., plain_textCredit: Lawrence Dodi

After they had purchased the car, which still had all the ambulance fixtures and fittings inside with a stretcher, Nixon came across an article about a group trying to set the record for longest travel on a fire truck.

When Nixon discovered no one had officially attempted such a record with an ambulance, the couple reached out to Guinness World Records to ask if they could try.

Nixon and Dodi were told that they needed to meet a list of specifications, such as ensuring that the car retained the ability to function as an ambulance, despite not being used as an ambulance, while maintaining its external appearance as an ambulance.

The duo took these attributes into account when working on the car’s interior, and managed to adhere to the guidelines while still providing room for an oven, refrigerator, and all the other items that come with a camper.

Although they had already completed the minimum distance of 20,000 km initially set by Guinness World Records, the duo decided to “continue the journey to record the highest possible distance”.

The couple brings with them their springer dog, Peggy Sue, who has a European passport for pets, in addition to the necessary vaccination against rabies, and a blood test required for animals to travel within Europe, and the couple says that she was “living the best stages of her life.” during their time on the road.

This duo travels the world in an ambulance..what is the reason?
Dodie and Nixon take a walk in Switzerland with their dog this past February, plain_textCredit: Lawrence Dodi

“She may be 10, but she thinks she’s two, she can take a walk all day, and if she needs to sit in the buggy all day, she can do that,” Dodi explains.

Despite having to skip some activities where dogs are not allowed and entering some less dog-friendly countries, Doody and Nixon didn’t regret taking Peggy Sue with them.

Initially, Doody and Nixon, who have been sharing excerpts from their travels on their blog, planned the trip to be a “true world tour”, traveling through Central Asia to Russia before shipping the ambulance to North America.

This duo travels the world in an ambulance..what is the reason?
Dodi and Nixon stand on an abandoned podium outside Sarajevo, Bosnia, last May. Plain_textCredit: Lawrence Dodi

However, due to various factors, such as the war in Ukraine, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the nationwide protests occurring in Iran, and the fact that some borders in Central Asia remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the duo was forced to change their course.

The couple plan to return to the UK early next year, before shipping the ambulance to Halifax, Canada, and driving the Pan-American Highway, the world’s longest drivable road, to the bottom of Argentina.

Their final destination will be Liverpool, a football club based in Montevideo, Uruguay, named after the famous English team of their hometown in the UK.

Although the duo originally planned to spend two years completing the challenge, they extended it for another six to 12 months.

The duo have been raising money for two charities, Anthony Nolan, a UK charity that connects people with leukemia to volunteer donors, and another independent charity, Vet Life, which provides emotional and financial support to the vet community.

This duo travels the world in an ambulance..what is the reason?
The couple covered 24,000 km and traveled to 24 countries, including Armenia., plain_textCredit: Lawrence Dodi

According to a 2020 study conducted by Merck Animal Health, in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians are 2.7 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population.

Doody and Nixon say they have both lost colleagues and friends in the field to suicide, and are keen to raise awareness of the issue.

Although they have discovered some amazing sites, including the highest peaks in Kosovo, Montenegro and Armenia, they say the people they met along the way and the experiences they had were the highlight of the trip.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button