From Newcastle to New Zealand – 20,000 km, 2 people, 1 van

The thrill-seeking pair will cross 22 countries as they embark on their journey. They will be driving through Europe (France, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia), then into Eastern Europe (Bosnia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria), Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Eastern Russia and Mongolia. In Mongolia, they will be donating their van and most of their belongings to charity before heading to China via train and then they’ll be flying home from Beijing.

Laura and Chris have only been too happy to share their extensive travel plans in a workshop with Newcastle College’s Adventure Tourism class. They’ve also collaborated with mechanics students from Gateshead College who completed a free service of their van.

Gateshead College’s AutoSkills Centre manager Steve Burr said, “This challenge provided an excellent opportunity for our students to contribute to a major project while gaining real work experience using the skills that employers are looking for.

“It’s also very rewarding for our students to know that their work is part of a drive to raise money for three very deserving charities. We wish Laura and Chris a very safe and successful journey.”

Laura Glasgow, has been in the UK since October 2011 and has worked as HR Officer for awarding organisation NCFE for the past year. She said, “Through working for NCFE, I was pleased to get local colleges involved, sharing my experiences with learners and also giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in the courses that they’re completing.

“I absolutely love the UK and Newcastle has been like a second home to me. I’ve even lovingly named our van ‘Chezza’ after everyone’s favourite Geordie, Cheryl Cole! But the time has come to go home, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. We’ll hopefully raise a lot of money for charity which will make up for the considerable challenges of the trip which we think will last about 4 months!”

NCFE will be supporting Laura in her fundraising and is holding an international fun-day in their head office in Newcastle where colleagues will take part in competitions, dress in traditional clothes from around the globe and taste unusual food from foreign lands.

The awarding organisation is no stranger to raising money for charity; in the last year the organisation has rocked up in red for The British Heart Foundation, dressed in double denim for Jeans for Genes, done the terrifying Tough Mudder challenge for Help the Heroes and most recently ran the Marathon of the North for The Alzheimer’s Society.

NCFE has also been voted by its staff as one of the very best employers in the UK, recently ranking 15th in The Sunday Times Best Places to Work in the Not for Profit sector.