Meet Life Nomadic – The Crew Driving 7500kms on the Baltic Sea Circle Race For Charity

Max Grunfeld and her gang have never changed a car tire before, but are about to embark on a 16 day journey through Scandinavia, the Baltics, Russia, Poland and Germany to raise money for Terre des Femmes.

Photo: Cecil Arp

In advance of their lift off, so to speak, we met up with Max to hear more about the motivations behind this seemingly outrageous and bold trip.

Yo Max! What’s this mission all about?

In short, this mission is about charity, art and girl power – combined with a whole lot of travelling, fun and big challenges.

We’ve started the Life Nomadic project with the aim to empower and encourage woman (and men) to live a self-determined and equal life and to collect funds and raise awareness for Terre des Femmes. They are a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to fighting for better and equal rights for women and girls all around the world.

Three girls and I are going on an epic rally around the Baltic Sea throughout all of Scandinavia, to the North Cape and back throughout Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

This route is around 7500 km and covers 10 countries and will be driven in 16 days in a really old jeep without any GPS navigation and we’ll drive the whole trip on country roads – no highways allowed.

We’ll be wild camping as much as we can, trying some home-made vodka in Russia, and fighting bears in Finland. Our professional photographer will document the trip, all the good, bad and ugly. A selection of these photos will be used in an exhibition, and profits from any photos sold will go to Terre des Femmes.

Photo: Mirjam Kluka

Is it some kind of race or are you doing it alone?

It’s a rally called the Baltic Sea Circle. It’s not really about coming first. It’s more about challenging yourself, going out of your comfort zone, and dedicating your challenge to something good. On the road, we’ll definitely be on our own, but I’m sure we’ll meet the other teams along the way.

How are you raising money? Where can people follow and support your mission?

One way we’re raising funds is collecting donations from people who would like to contribute as much as they want or can. Everything helps! The second way is we’re working with companies, magazines and brands together. The reason they are working with us is because they find our project interesting and important, and with our crew containing an illustrator and a photographer – we can offer them content they can use for their own brand. And finally, we will organise an exhibition with a selection of the photos from the road trip, any profits gained from the sales of these photos will go to Terre des Femmes. You can donate at startnext.com

Why do you think it’s important to challenge yourself?

Most people, including me, are afraid of so many things in the world, and these fears often create patterns, and boundaries – boundaries and patterns that we’ll never be able to break if we don’t cross some comfort zones and explore what is on the other side. Sometimes you have to challenge yourself to be able to recognise your own power. That you are stronger than you thought you were. We’re counting on spending at least 10 hours a day in the car, it will be a rollercoaster! One of our girls hasn’t driven in 5 years, and we’ve no clue on how to change a tire, let alone fix a broken down car. It will be a steep learning curve probably.

Photo: Cecil Arp

How well do you know your roadtrip crew and what do they mean to you?

Our crew exists out of Photo Producer Tina Arp, Paula Peterson, Artist Manager, Mirjam Kluka who’s a photographer and myself, I’m an illustrator. Tina brought the crew together. She’s the only one that I know really well, and at the risk of sounding corny, she’s pretty much my soul sister. Mirjam and Paula have only come into my life since we’ve formed the crew. Although we’re fairly new to each other, this crew means a lot to all of us and we’ve gotten to know each other quite a bit in all the times we’ve seen each other since the crew originated. So what they mean to me is this: I love my crew, these girls are absolutely awesome. I am so so proud of each of them, and I feel really empowered by being part of this crew, it’s freaking amazing to see how much energy and power everyone puts into this project. They don’t just talk, well also quite a bit, but more importantly – they do. And I’m curious, a tiny bit nervous, but mostly excited to see how our crew is going to work its way through being stuck together in one car for 16 days.

What are you most excited and apprehensive about?

I am a little apprehensive about driving so far. I hope we’ll be able to manage it and I hope we’ll all stay safe and healthy throughout the whole thing. I am really excited about seeing how much support we’re getting from people around us and also from people we don’t know! It’s truly incredible hearing these positive sounds and to get so many people, brands and companies supporting the project. On top I am super amped about this experience, I think it will be pretty wild, but definitely something we won’t forget, ever.

Thanks Max.