One of several hefty wire payments to the League of Adventurists.

One of several hefty wire payments to the League of Adventurists.

I’m nosey when it comes to money. I’m always wondering about other people’s salaries and how they’re affording all the crap they’re buying.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, although I’m probably one of the few who will admit that I’m actively trying to calculate how much my friends make based on the cars they’re driving and the purses they’re carrying.

I’m making the assumption people reading this blog are probably a little bit like me and will wonder how I’m financing a grand adventure where the entry fee is over $15,000. I’m going to break down the costs and how I plan to pay for it here, for two reasons:


1. So people don’t think I’m a rich dick like these guys:

2. To give hope to all those regular riders who think they might like to take a crack at the Mongol Derby but are afraid of the hefty price tag. It takes some saving and planning, but it can be done.

Here are my expected costs:

Entry fee: $15,220
Flight: $2,700
Equipment/vaccinations: $2,000
Training costs (coaching): $2,500

Total: $22,240

When I first kicked around the idea of riding in the Derby, time and money were the biggest barriers. I make an average salary – like, if you Google ‘average salary in Canada’ that’s about what I’m taking home. But thanks to being raised by an accountant mother, I’ve reaped the benefits of learning fiscal responsibility through osmosis.

Since I paid off my student loans in 2010, I’ve made it a practice to continue shuffling the money I formerly put on my loan into a high interest savings account. Actually, I call it my “FU and Around The World I Go” account, because I’ve always harbored this fantasy of flipping the bird at the working world and ‘walking the earth’ for a year. I was on my way to financing that when I heard about the Derby. I quickly decided that at 33 my ‘walking the earth’ days were probably over and this Mongolian madness was a much more prudent way to use the 12 grand that was sitting in that account.

Now we’re at $10, 240 owing –still a massive financial commitment for someone not of the 1%.

Next, I reached out to my family and friends through a Go Fund Me Campaign. I promised to entertain them with a blog and photos of my journey. I’m still hoping for more donations, but right now my amazing group of loved ones has ponied up $600.

$9,640 still owing.

So, let me take you to back before Christmas when I called up my bank looking for a loan. I asked the lady on the line if I could apply for a $10,000 line of credit.

“Mhmm,” she said, as she typed in the pertinent personal details I offered.

“And what’s this loan for? Are you doing home renovations? Buying a new car?”

“It’s to race horses across Mongolia.”

Silence. Then snorting.

“Well that’s the best reason for a loan I’ve ever heard in my 20 years working here.”


I plan to make this line of credit my ‘float’ only. As Derby expenses come up, I’ll dip into it. As donations from friends and family come in and extra income from freelance writing gigs appears, I put it immediately on the line of credit.

I’m also on a strict budget. I make sandwiches out of day old bread. I no longer go for after work drinks. I don’t have cable. For clothing, unless it’s made of merino wool or non chafe fabric, I don’t buy it.

It’s still a formidable amount of money, but not more than you’d spend on a new car. And when I’m 92, I’m not going to remember the brand new Honda I bought. I’m going to remember galloping across the land of Genghis Khan.

Caption: One of several hefty wire payments to the League of Adventurists.