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But the trip wasn’t without peril. One night after driving through some really awful roads,

Manente’s team came to a dangerous river crossing in Mongolia, where three rivers had

come together because of flooding. “Crossing the first two was fine,” said Manente, “but the

third river was really deep. Cars and buses being pulled over were draining a lot of water. We

unplugged everything, stuffed plastic into various holes, took everything off the floor and hoped

for the best.”

Three of us piled into the tractor as Scott stayed in the car with one of the workers. At the third

river, Eddy began to float suddenly, then tip. Scott frantically rolled up the window and we all

screamed as the car started to float downstream, dangerously close to tipping. Thankfully it didn’t

and we didn’t actually take on any water. But it was a tense moment. I wondered if we were going to

have to pull Scott out of that car.”

At Lycoming, Manente double-majored in history and archaeology. Two months after graduating,

she moved to Japan to teach English for a year. After that, London for three years. Manente admitted:

“Living away from home, or the States, is more of my norm than anything else. I got hit bad with

the travel bug after I did a semester abroad in London my junior year and was able to jump all over

Europe thanks to its low cost of travel. Without having studied abroad - Dr. Cullen Chandler’s

Barcelona May Term, and the dig at Tel Gezer, Israel, as part of my archaeology major - I never

would have seen so much of the world in such a short time. I became enamored with seeing as much

of the globe as I can. My time at Lycoming was instrumental in this, and I will always be incredibly

thankful for the opportunity I was given to go abroad.”

Manente started on a Master of Arts in medieval history at King’s College London before

ultimately switching to a Master of Arts in radio at Goldsmiths University of London. She spent

some time as a DJ at the Lycoming radio station and was working as a radio host at Key 103 in

Frederick, Md.

, up until she left for the rally. Today, Manente does everything from writing to audio

editing and mixing. She also runs an award-winning podcast, “The Baker Street Babes.”

“I read an article a few years ago about micro-lives and how there are many people who live

certain lives for a year or two at a time and then move on,” said Manente. “That’s me. I get restless if

I’m in a place for too long. There’s too much of the world to see!”

Eventually, Eddy would start breaking down, and Manente said it was a bit heart-wrenching. “His

fan belt screeched almost constantly, the exhaust pipe had snapped and kept falling, the treads on our

tires had evaporated,” she said. “But Eddy made it. We roared across the finish line — a very

loud roar.”

Summing up the entire journey, Manente said: “Patience is key and people are inherently good.

We experienced our fair share of unsavory people … but the vast majority of people in this world are

kind and curious. We had people take us in without a question. When we were stuck in the freezing

cold and wet Siberian forest because our exhaust pipe kept dropping and dragging against the

ground, a man crawled under it and banged it back into place without asking for anything in return.

Later on we would meet him in the next town and he gave us food as well. Did you know you can eat

pinecones? Whenever we broke down, someone would eventually stop to see if we needed help.”

In the end, Manente and her team raised $3,000. Donations came from sponsors, friends and

family who donated via FUNraiser and GoFundMe. She and Sora, Manente’s good friend and Rally

partner, even extended their trip, spending two weeks in South Korea and then a week in Japan

before heading back home. “We literally went around the world,” Manente said.

When asked if she would do the Rally again, Manente laughed and said she thought so. “But give

me a few years to forget all the bad stuff that happened.” Ultimately, Manente said not to be

afraid to

do crazy things. “Just go for it,” she said. “Take the leap. It’s worth it.”

For more about the team,

you can find everything about their Mongol Rally adventure at

www.nerdventurists.com.

“I became enamored with seeing as much of the globe as I can. My

time at Lycoming was instrumental in this, and I will always be

incredibly thankful for the opportunity I was given to go abroad.”

Although only about

5,000 miles as the

crow flies, the driving

route is twice as long

across mountains,

deserts and steppes of

Europe and Asia, and

more than three times

the distance of the

48 contiguous United

States. Participants

travel a quarter of

the way around the

globe, through seven

time zones. 245 teams

entered the 2015

race. Rally organizers

decline to admit how

many actually finished.

Manente’s Mongol

Rally began at

Goodwood Motor

Circuit on July 19.

Seventeen countries

later (England,

France, Belgium,

Germany, Czech

Republic, Austria,

Hungary, Serbia,

Romania, Bulgaria,

Turkey, Georgia,

Armenia, Azerbaijan,

Kazakhstan, Russia

and Mongolia), and

more than a month

after embarking on

their journey, they

arrived in Ulan Ude,

Aug. 20.

21

www.lycoming.edu