Woman Drives Solo from England to Mongolia in a Crappy Car | The Pink Yak3 min read

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Krystal Kelly
Krystal Kelly is a Californian girl on the road since 2010. She has worked internationally with horses in 13+ countries including Egypt during the Revolution, India for two years, and Bhutan. She specializes in Women's Adventure Travel and Empowers women to travel while continuing her own quest to see every country in the world! Check out her blog: https://www.kryskolumbustravel.com/ to follow her journey!
Krystal Kelly

Latest posts by Krystal Kelly (see all)

She explodes her car’s engine in “No Man’s Land.” Gets a free tow 220 kilometers in exchange for a bottle of whiskey. Meets her future husband in Azerbaijan. Dodges an expiring Turkmenistan Visa and finishes the Mongol Rally in style after 72 days and 12,000 miles across 19 countries.

A solo female traveler drives in a crappy car from england to mongolia and back again during the Mongol Rally
A solo female traveler drives in a crappy car from England to Mongolia and back again for the Mongol Rally

It might sound like an Epic story that couldn’t possibly be true. Well, it certainly was EPIC and it most definitely is TRUE. Last year, in 2016 I bought a crappy car I found on ebay for 450 GBP. I had zero knowledge about cars, I had no teammate, I had no job or boyfriend or home waiting for me after I reached the finish line. I didn’t know how to fix my car should it break down in the desert in Turkmenistan. I didn’t have a lot of gear or equipment. In fact I had no tent or stove or spare tires or car parts. I simply had myself, my mighty pink car, which came to be known as the Pink Yak, and the horizon. I knew I wanted, more than anything to return to Mongolia, a place I had fallen in love with back in 2014. My route in Europe didn’t really go as planned and I eventually found some nice blokes to convoy with in Romania. I picked up various hitchhikers throughout my travels and yes, met my future husband in Azerbaijan while awaiting a ferry boat to take me across the Caspian Sea into Turkmenistan.

georgian police immigration border guard mongol rally solo woman traveler
After a grumpy border guard in the Georgian-Azerbaijan border asked me to go get my camera, I thought I was in trouble. Until he threw his hat at me and took my photo!

Later on, in No Mans Land between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, my car engine exploded. I was determined to fix my Pink Yak and so my convoy mates left me behind to fend for myself and attempt to find a new engine. I traded a bottle of whiskey to the immigration officers working the Kyrgyzstan Border in order to translate to a Russian man who offered to give me a free tow on the back of his car 220 kilometers to the nearest town of Osh. It was a wild drive and I was shattered. No engine meant I had no working brakes and only a 2 meter long tow cable between me and his fancy car in winding roads, pothole infested streets and the occasional goat crossing…I did my best not to hit my rescuers car and somehow I managed. It took me 12 days and a miracle to find a new engine the exact model and size of the Pink Yak. I found a new hitchhiker and headed off again towards Mongolia and the finish. I conquered Mongolia driving like an animal. I had zero flat tires and no other break downs and made it to the finish line the final day of the Mongol Rally closing. I loaded my car up on a train headed to Estonia and flew off to Moscow to meet up with my old convoy mates and soon-to-be-husband. A few months later I was living in Germany with my new man and after a secret rescue operation of the Pink Yak in Estonia, we eventually returned the Pink Yak to her home in England where we now live together happily…the three of us.

mongol rally Krystal in Mongolia with the Pink Yak
Krystal in Mongolia with the Pink Yak

Videos of her Mongol Rally adventure is available on Youtube. Click on her website to view! To read more about Krystal Kelly’s epic adventure and to find out about her other epic adventures as a solo traveler, please check out her website: http://www.kryskolumbustravel.com/

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Krystal Kelly

Krystal Kelly

Krystal Kelly is a Californian girl on the road since 2010. She has worked internationally with horses in 13+ countries including Egypt during the Revolution, India for two years, and Bhutan. She specializes in Women’s Adventure Travel and Empowers women to travel while continuing her own quest to see every country in the world! Check out her blog: https://www.kryskolumbustravel.com/ to follow her journey!

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