COUNTY NEWS: Friends tell of '˜dream' around-the-world trip

Fifty countries, four continents, and thousands of new friends later '“ a Sussex man and his friends have returned to tell their story.

Max White (front) and the Global Convoy team at the reception alongside mayor James Knight (left). Picture: Steve Robards
Max White (front) and the Global Convoy team at the reception alongside mayor James Knight (left). Picture: Steve Robards

Max White, 24, of Fox Hill, Haywards Heath, Becca Marsh, 24, from Southwater, Shaswatam Wighton, 24, from Australia, Brigitte LeVea, 24, from Austin, Texas, and Joel Chevallier, 28, from California, were invited to a reception at the Haywards Heath Town Council offices on Friday (August 4) to share tales from their ‘dream’ around-the-world trip.

Known as Global Convoy, the young adventurers, who are ‘now like a family’, have travelled the globe in two budget cars bought online.

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The cars which were bought off Gumtree, a Skoda Felicia 1998 and a Nissan Micra 1994 cost £75 and £150, and were given no special modifications.

The young adventurers at the reception

The group returned to Haywards Heath after their one giant lap of the world, which took just under a year.

They attracted a number of sponsors and raised cash for Cancer Research UK.

Max said: “Me and my friend Rich came up with the idea and it just snowballed. We started telling people on Facebook and people jumped on board. We picked up people up on the way.

“We all liked to travel anyway and it was the perfect time for everyone. Some of us had just finished uni so we had free time. We all had the same motivation and dream.

The group showing mayor James Knight where they travelled. Picture: Steve Robards

“The people we got to meet and the cultures we got to see was amazing – so many people helped us. Every single country we went to we had someone who spoke the language quite well which really helped.”

Europe, Russia, Japan and Mexico are just some of the places the group travelled through on the budget trip.

At one point there was 26 people in five cars travelling around Europe.

They faced tough times, including shipping issues and border crossing troubles, but ‘kept on going’.

The group on their travels

Becca said: “The world is so big, but we found it easier than we thought. It makes you realise that things are more achievable than you think. We have managed to travel around the world and made thousands of friends along the way.”

“Everyone got through the hard times,” said Joel.

“We were in middle of nowhere at one point, had no phone signal and were on a road which we were told would take 12 hours, but it actually took three days, we had to keep going, we were exhausted. We feel like a family, we have had to be.”

Max said the experience had ‘changed them all’ and had made them realise what they were capable of.

Brigitte LeVea, Joel Chevallier and Becca Marsh

“We are now thinking, what can we do next?” he added.

Shaswatam said when you travel with people you see them ‘in every possible way’.

“If you are still friends through all the tough times you know you’ve met friends for life,” he added.

Brigette said leaving the states was ‘terrifying’, but everyone was ‘so kind and willing to help’.

The group are now planning their next adventure, with talks of double-decker buses and they plan to see all seven continents.

Since they have returned they have been invited to host of shows to share their story.

“Anyone is welcome to join us, we couldn’t have done this without everyone who helped us along the way,” said Joel.

Haywards Heath’s mayor, councillor James Knight, attended the reception on Friday.

He said: “It was so interesting and delightful to meet this lovely group of young adventurers!

“They have had an epic adventure travelling around the globe in a couple of old cars, made friends across the world, helped people and realised that the world is a friendly and wonderful place to travel across.

“The town council were delighted to put on a welcome reception for them and myself, my fellow councillors and town council staff took great delight in hearing and spreading the word about this wonderful story.

“Congratulations to Max and the Global Convoy team – an inspirational adventure planned by a young man from Haywards Heath.”

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