MEET David O’Connor. He’s from Tramore, Co. Waterford. And like so many other young Irish men, he’s planning to come to Australia. But he’s not coming on a plane. He’s going to drive and he’s leaving today.
David is doing a charity drive that will take him through more than 20 countries and cover almost 30,000km, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and Console, a national suicide prevention charity.
He told Irish Queenslander: “I was working for an online company in Cork and it went to the wall. I had been planning a trip like this for some time and it gave me the push to go for it.”
David is driving a converted 99 Toyota Landcruiser, with 240kms on the clock.
“It’s had lots of modifications, including a roof tent and shelving inside. I bought it three years ago with the sole purpose of undertaking a big drive into Europe or maybe beyond. When I looked into where I could drive and what was feasible, I realised that many people have driven from Western Europe to Australia, albeit with an incredible amount of planning. The dream of driving to Australia started to take root. After three years of planning and saving, it’s time to turn this dream into action.”
The two charities David chose to support are close to his heart. He says: “Cancer and suicide are two of the biggest killers in Ireland. My aunt recently died of cancer and a friend of mine committed suicide. I feel that people would be very supportive of these charities.”
Even though David will be passing through more than 20 countries, he needed visas for only three – India, Iran and Pakistan. David says that the Pakistan Embassy in Ireland had never dealt with a visa request like his before.
“The preferred route at the moment is through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Nepal and back to India, before shipping the vehicle to Malaysia. I will then visit south east Asia before heading down to Indonesia and then ship to Australia,” he said.
David is planning on shipping the vehicle into Freemantle or Darwin, then driving over to Queensland and down the east coast to Sydney. “I should arrive in Sydney in time for Christmas,” says David, who has a sister living there. But, he adds, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
The expedition costs are being funded by David, with the support of sponsors. David is looking for people to join him on a leg of the journey to help with the costs.
“I am looking to add people to the team to share the experience and raise some funds for two very good causes. It looks like different people will be jumping on and off on different legs of the trip.”
“There are some prerequisites to join me on the trip that include having available funds, the necessary time off and an open mind. I will be a glorified taxi on a 30,000km to the other side of the world. Don’t worry, there’s no meter running!”
We will be keeping you up to date with David’s journey here at Irish Queenslander. You can also follow his trip and donate to his chosen charities at his website, http://www.overlandtooz.ie.
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