Mongol Rally: Jackson and The Mama’s Boys

Jackson Jarman-Miller, an Oregon native and recent graduate of The University of Oregon, is an extraordinarily adventurous young man. So adventurous in fact, that his idea of fun is to ride a used, 1.2 liter engine vehicle 10,000 miles across the planet.

Funny enough, though, he isn’t the only one who wants to go on this wild race. Three of his buddies will be on his ‘team’ and they will join the hundreds of others at the annual Mongol Rally for this once in a lifetime experience. The race starts in the U.K. and ends in Mongolia. Jackson and his team, The Mama’s Boys, will start their race on July 16 and have a maximum of six weeks to get to Mongolia, somehow, some way.  

While this may seem like a crazy free-for-all, there are a few rules to the Mongol Rally. For one, vehicles actually cannot have a larger engine than 1.2 liters, and the more ridiculous they are, the better. When asked where they plan to purchase their rig, Jackson told me, “We have not yet chosen our vehicle; I imagine that we’ll arrive in England and go shopping at a junkyard…You could imagine a Fiat Panda or a Nissan Micra.” That’s right, Jackson and The Mama’s Boys will be packed in a slow, tiny car driving halfway across the world. MAP DETAILS

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The second rule is the understanding that you and your team are pretty much on your own, and have to overcome any obstacles the adventure brings without outside help. Part of the mantra of the Mongol Rally, Jackson told me, is independence and true adventure. The thought is that travel has become too smooth and predictable, so the race organizers want people to go out and truly experience travel and adventure. This might mean the vehicle breaks down, gets stuck is a river, or that the team gets lost. But that is the whole point!

The third rule, and the one with the most impact, is that everyone is required to participate in the Mongol Rally for charity.  Each team is required to raise $1,000 for a charity of their choosing.  Jackson and teammates Jake, Cameron, and Gabe have decide to raise more, and have set their sights on raising $10,000 for HER: Hope. Educate. Rise. “We wanted to go above and beyond the minimum requirement for entry of $1,000 because we felt like the Mongol Rally is about challenging yourself in every aspect,” Jackson comments on his increased fundraising goal.

He knows the impact that $10,000 can have within the communities where HER and CAI work.  Since all of these funds will go towards supporting educational programs, they will make a distinct impact in communities of Tajikistan, where the boys will happen to be driving through. So, Jackson and The Mama’s Boys aren’t just adventurous young travelers, they are change makers. And they are inspiring change in HER name.

They are also all ambitious humans outside of their desire to partake in the Mongol Rally. Jake Cunha is an owner of a successful small business in Eugene, OR. Cameron Huber is completing an architecture degree, while Gabe Howdin is finishing his business degree. Jackson is currently working and living in Strasbourg, France and plans to move to La Reunion, a small island east of Madagascar to teach English after the Mongol Rally.

The HER team is thrilled to watch this inspiring group take on this epic adventure through the world, and through life. After learning all the specifics of the race, I just had to ask what his parents’ thought of it all. “My parents and all of our parents are a little worried, but for the most part understanding. I’m sure they would rather we had chosen an easier way to see the world,” he reported. “But they’re all exceptionally supportive. We decided to name our team after them. We’re ‘The Mama’s Boys.’”

We will keep reporting on The Mama’s Boys’ progress as they prepare for their trip and ride across the globe in July. Help The Mama’s Boys’ reach their goal and support girls’ education.

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