“YOU’VE JUST GOT TO TRUST THE MADNESS OF THE ROADS.”
In our very first episode, we talk to Olly Pellings. Olly lives in Australia and before the pandemic hit ran the website adventure.com. He also had joined us on our Sri-Lanka Tuk-Tuk Adventure.
Here a small snippet of our conversation. Hit play below to listen to the whole chat.
Julian: What were your memories of the first time driving a tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka?
Olly: I remember, it was the first time I’d really been to a non-Western country. So there was probably a bit of overwhelm. I remember just being excited, though, like, excited to be there. And meeting my brother at the hotel probably hadn’t seen him for a year or two. It was great. We were both just shitting ourselves about actually driving the things.
“THE SRI LANKA CHALLENGE DEFINITELY INSTILLED IN ME AN APPRECIATION AND LOVE OF WEIRD LITTLE VEHICLES.“
There was a day before we set off where we practised. And everybody else seemed to be taking to it really well and me and Matt was just struggling big time. And I was like, “this is horrible. I don’t really want to be doing this”. Nothing worked. Somebody pointed out to us something’s wrong and to fix it. And then from there we figured it out. We were still shitting ourselves but at least that first like hiccup was under control.
Julian: Yeah, I think it’s funny you say that? The main memories is that first day of absolute carnage. Shitting yourself. When you’re like, I’ve actually got to do this. What the hell have I signed up for? The first time you kind of make eye contact with your vehicle, you’re like “Oh, shit, I’m actually driving this thing”.
Olly: I’m about six foot five. So, the entire time I was just terrified that I wasn’t actually gonna fit in. I didn’t think it was gonna be possible, but I wanted to do this thing. And you know, it was very tight and some of the roads we went on were incredibly bumpy as you know, and I smashed my knees quite badly. But I could still fit in the thing more or less and that was a relief.
Julian: Do you have any memory of the first experience of leaving the hotel?
Olly: I think it was basically sort of sheer terror. I was pretty sure that we voted Matt to drive, I was like, “you’re the oldest, you’re the most responsible”. I made him drive. He was pretty nervous as well. And I remember just getting to the road coming out of the hotel, down the driveway and I think it was a right turn, which meant you have to sort of cross both lanes of traffic from memory. Initially, it’s terrifying because everything’s flying around. And there’s no semblance of rules or order anything. So that initial thing was quite terrifying. But yes, you actually get into the driving, and you realise that everyone is sort of hyper aware of what’s going on. People will be very close to you. But it’s because they know exactly how much space they have to get around. It’s almost like they’re much better drivers. And it sort of works. Sometimes it doesn’t work. But there’s sort of an order to the chaos that you sort of learn as you go on. But I mean, we didn’t really get the feel for that until a few days in. So that first day was pretty terrifying. And we have to go to that fish market. That was fun.
I remember vividly, you know, you pass by a bus so closely, that you can feel the exhaust on your foot as it goes past, like, the warm air from the exhaust just warms your foot. But yeah, you just sort of after, you know, you’ve got to trust it.
Julian: Do you remember any of the challenges that we had set?
Olly: I think for us, the challenges were sort of secondary. The idea of driving a tuk-tuk around this country that I’ve never been to was like, let’s just gonna do that. And it will be awesome. I think pretty early on, we made a decision, because also you kind of get a read on the group. And you can see that these guys are hyper competitive, and I can’t be bothered dealing with that. So yeah, I think brother and I are probably relatively similar in, we want to be involved, but not to a point where it puts like too much strain on us. So we will do some challenges, but we’re not really invested in the points whether or not we win or lose that we’ll just see how we go. The way you guys design them is obviously to encourage that sense of kind of discovery.
“IT DEFINITELY GETS YOU OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.”
The way that you organise your challenge. It’s all natural. I think one of them was you have to buy a bag of food and get yourself invited to somebody’s house for lunch to cook it for you. Amazing. And I think we, we sort of half assed, that. I think we had some food. And then we were driving down the road. And we saw another team already in someone’s garden. So we just went and tagged along. I remember the there was one where we had to go to a market and buy a bunch of stuff, we can buy anything we want. But then we have to go on to a local bus and sell as much of it as we could to everybody on the bus. We’re all trying to figure out what are people going to need on the long haul bus ride in Sri Lanka, pens, pencils, snacks. I don’t even remember where we were, when most of the stuff is going on. Because what’s interesting is the location doesn’t matter so much. Because you’re having fun, and you’re engaging the things. So whether you’re in a big tourist area or not, it doesn’t matter because you just have a blast. And you know, that bus thing is the prime example. I have no idea where we did that, or where that market was, I couldn’t point to it on a map. It definitely gets out your comfort zone.
Julian: It encourages you to learn more about the destination to kind of like jump into the deep end.
Olly: I think the nature of the trip, and it being such an intense experience that every day is like two weeks or a week doing anything else. So the people that you’re doing it with you do create this pretty strong bond. So if I saw anybody in the street, there’s so many stories to share. More so than any other trip I’ve done like, I’ve travelled to a lot of places, I’ve met a lot of awesome people. But that particular Lanka challenge is my first foray into that kind of travel. Definitely set the bar pretty high.
“CAN’T WAIT TO GET BACK ON ANOTHER ONE. AT SOME POINT. WHEREVER IN THE WORLD IT WILL BE.”
I remember driving the tuk-tuk and seeing this massive tourist bus go pass us. And all of these people just looking out the window. It was just amazing. I was like, this is it. I’m in the right spot. Can’t wait to get back on another one. At some point. Wherever in the world it will be.