Ben's blog - where are we now?

It’s funny how life ebbs and flows. 

A year ago, I was in Panama City.  I’d spent the previous ten days living in my car in No Man’s Land, first trapped between the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican borders by their refusal to allow our RHD TVR into the country, then by issues at the Panamanian border which were only resolved when the country’s Vice President intervened on our behalf.

Now, while life is rather different, it’s still dominated by last year’s road trip.  Or more specifically, the forthcoming book describing the journey.  I’ve signed a book deal with the good folk at Veloce Publishing, the timetable of which requires the manuscript to be completed by the end of January, with a publication date pencilled in for next May.  So right now, life is dominated by word counts and editing, as I relive an incredible 8-month road trip through the medium of Microsoft Word.  I’m currently averaging about 2,000 words a day, with a target word count of 85,000, so as you can imagine, it’s quite an undertaking.  However saying that, I’m in the fortunate position of having already got one book under my belt (describing a previous trip across Africa in a Porsche – available here), so it’s not so intimidating a prospect as it might otherwise have been.

Hopefully it will all be worth it when it hits the shelves next May.

In other Pub2Pub news, things are still progressing, if slower than I would have liked, due to the sheer number of hours I’m having to put into the book.  My efforts here are focussed on two areas – the future trips, and the merchandise range.

Trips first, and after the inaugural Eagle Rally went off in spectacular fashion back in the autumn, we've recently opened the 2019 event for entries.  Said event is now approximately half full with plenty of time to go, which is most heartening – thanks to everyone who’s signed up so far; I can't wait to see you on the road, as it’s going to be a blast.  Sign up is here, if you fancy some adventure in your 2019.

Regarding next year’s other trips, the planning is progressing rather nicely, though there have been a few hitches.  The first trip to be progressing is The Space Race, which will see us arriving at a NASA-backed observatory (complete with bar) on the summit of a Pyranean mountain to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings in July next year.  Unfortunately, the planning of this has been complicated by the discovery that the Tour de France will be passing through the area on the exact day of the anniversary, so quite a bit of rejigging the route and timings has been necessary to avoid our cars getting painfully embedded in the peloton.  I’m nearly there, however, and am looking forward to opening the Space Race to entries in the next few days.  And then it’ll be on to getting the next adventure ready – Next August's Camembert Run.  So 2019 is looking pretty sweet, trips wise.

On the merchandise side, it’s been great to team up with fellow TVR owner and automotive illustrator Mark Lacey to bring the first of a range of fine art TVR designs to market.  Our goal with this first tee was to celebrate the incredible reliability the TVR achieved in its 27,000 mile world tour, and we came up with the ‘TVR = Total Vehicle Reliability’ slogan to do this.  Mark is an incredibly talented illustrator, and we think the results speak for themselves.  And by teaming up with Mark, we’re taking Pub2Pub’s future merchandising in a direction which we feel is where we want to be – working with fellow enthusiasts to produce top-quality stuff for the wider petrolhead community.  You can see the Total Vehicle Reliability tee here.

So, where’s all this going?  Well, Pub2Pub came to prominence by doing something outrageous, something which no-one else had done before.  And we’re looking to maintain that tradition, by reinvesting the proceeds from our organised road trips and merchandise into future undertakings of a similar calibre as the Pub2Pub Expedition.  I’m currently working on the initial planning for the next big event.  And it’s big.  Provided the finances add up, we’re talking an expedition which will set out to break a pretty major Guinness world record, using a comically modified British classic car.  Trust me, if you thought the Pub2Pub Expedition was entertaining to follow, this is next level stuff - you’re not going to want to miss it!

So rest assured, by supporting Pub2Pub through joining our trips, wearing our merchandise or spreading the word, you’re helping us to keep flying the flag for the eccentric British petrolhead, and show the world just what these cars which give us all so much pleasure are capable of.  Thanks again to everyone who's supported us already - we hope our future global motoring shenanigans will make it worth it.

Ben Coombs


Thanks to Alvaro Andres Pinzon, Magdalena Mrova and Nick Aldworth for the photography which accompanies this blog post.