Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trip planning 6 + 3 months

Trip planning is a tough piece of work. Some may ask why all this hassle, nine months of time should provide sufficient degrees of liberty to start of without any plan at all. Well, this may be true in an ideal world, but unfortunately there is additional complexity of different nature to consider.

Trip prototyping 

The first two possible implementations of our vision to "travel Asia overland" that we considered during our first drafts in the last year were merely based on the factor personal safety and political feasibility. The orange and red bars and borders (from left to right) mark the countries we'd rather avoid like Belarus, which is not the nicest place to be at the moment. The southern Caucasus being shaken lately by violent civil wars in the areas of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are certainly accessible in some areas, but we do not want to consider to transit them. Not many comments need to be done for the Arabic countries Iraq and Syria where international peace troops still struggle to get the situations under control. Although one of the most famous routes to India let thousands of travellers through the southern or northern routes through Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will have to circumvent these as well. Travel through Bangladesh and Myanmar is not feasible for any foreigner. Last but not least, we had to leave out entire People's Republic of China due to tough restrictions for overland entries which would require detailed trip harmonization with local travel agencies and impose a personal escort (requiring an additional passenger seat and serious financial impact) for the entire journey. (Click here to display in Google Earth)

Two possible routes are shown above, the northern yellow route would only have been possible if we started according to our original plan late March, enabling us to omit the rain season in Mongolia and extreme winter conditions on re-entry to eastern Europe. This option was banned  earlier this year by my beloved employer who decided that I will have to stay until project termination. The southern green route was cancelled after countless enquiries for economic cargo ships available from Vladivostok to Japan (feasible and affordable), south-east Asia (harder to find), India (big challenge and more costly) and back to Europe (unaffordable thanks to serious global sea freight capacity problems).

(Interim) final trip plan 

For all possible trip plans, we performed detailed mileage calculations for the overall trip and rolled out in which week we would be in a given country or area. This allows to check for climatic optimization, double-check against visa restrictions and ultimately also optimize the travel budget with the respective gas prices in each country. Due to problematic access we decided to postpone India to some point later in our lives, decided to reduce to six months travel with Karossi and allow us access south-east Asia by airplane and travel on back-pack for the remaining three months, leaving open the option to travel even Myanmar (which can be entered by airplane for tourism, but not on ground...). (Click here to display in Google Earth)

As we are only 50 days from the beginning of our travel, this might be our final trip plan. At least sufficiently final to endure until we physically hit the road. Once on the way, there will be hardly anything forcing us to keep up with this plan, but there is a general direction we want to go, still providing enough freedom to adopt as required on daily moods, technical or organizational issues, but at the same time stiff enough to keep us moving and omit states of pointless depression caused by diffuse target definitions. 




Still fighting with Swiss, Polish and German bureaucracy to finally get married. Found charming successors, Mathias and Lea to take over our flat. They signed today with our landlord, so we terminate our rent on 30th June. Found storage at our friendly neighbours next door. Moving in the flat below after our return, discussing with our landlord that we do look forward to get a balcony and would love to remove the wall between living room and kitchen. Termination of telephone/internet contract troublesome, Alice does not know how to handle situations where customers disappear for nine months. Insurances still critical, no possibility to properly cover liability and theft outside Europe. Looking for petrol additive to increase Mongolia's 76 Octane to something harmless for Karossi. Sand tracks and kinetic tow rope ordered...

1 comment:

  1. Finding reliable travel information on the internet can sometimes be a challenge. is one of the better sites out there, with thousands of pictures and articles, you cant go wrong with this great site.