A bit slow on the blogging for the last couple of weeks; we've both been snowed under at work.
The Country research has begun. Emma has been researching the first few countries we plan to visit; Iran and 3 of the Stans and I have started researching Eastern Russia, Mongolia and Japan. Five minutes into my Russia research and I have already gathered some fascinating insights. If visiting someone’s house it is polite to bring a gift; chocolates or flowers (an odd number over 2 flowers and not yellow) are a good suggestion. (Even number of flowers is good at funerals only.) Your visit IS going to involve dinner, which can be a lengthy process, don’t expect just to visit for 30 mins. It is not rude to decline vodka...but if you do
drink with Russians, know that the bottle is usually drunk until it is empty. Yes!
Don't expect people to smile at you. It is not customary in Russia, especially in big cities, to talk or smile at strangers, so don't
interpret this behaviour as coldness or unfriendliness. OK, so far it sounds like I’m going to fit right in.
Apparently dental tourism to the Ukraine is very popular.
It also seems apparent that due to the vastness of the area we plan to visit we are likely to encounter all kinds of weather. The best times for us to visit are between May and August. Although this is the summer we are still likely to experience fairly big extremes in weather. Along with extreme weather we are also going to experience a wide variety of terrain, including many active Volcano’s and national parks if we decide to venture as far east as the Kamchatka Peninsula.
More to follow.
Just a quick update to let you know what’s been going on over the last couple of days. I have made a few updates to the website, you can check them out by clicking the following links...updated route map, pictures from our recent trip to Nepal, updated links and the newly added ‘Charity’ section which is still under construction.
We are keen to give back to the communities we visit. To do this we have decided to try and work on at least one charity project in every country we visit. Both Emma and I are passionate about our life time loves (mine is art and Emma’s is the environment), and so we are planning to try and incorporate this into our trip by working with charities that will allow us to use our specialist knowledge.
Emma has been researching charities and we are currently in the process of putting together a press release and project proposal leaflet so that we can start approaching them. Once we have some confirmations I shall update the ‘Charity’ section.
I have spent the last couple of days doing some hardcore research on what kind of vehicle is going to be the best for us to use. After hours of internetting I narrowed it down to just three brand new vehicles that I think would be up to the job, and two second hand vehicles. The three new vehicles are the Landrover Defender 110 Utility Wagon, Toyota Landcruiser 11 and the Nissan Patrol Wagon DX. After much research it seems that the vehicle of choice for the circumnavigation elite is an older model Toyota,
the 1996 Landcruiser FJ80 model being the most popular or the Toyota Hi-Lux Surf. The benefits to using an older car are apparently clear. It is easier to get parts for the FJ80 in developing countries, the vehicles have much less electronics to go wrong, diesel models are very reliable and fairly easy for any mechanic to fix with the most basic tools, and finally, they are built like a tank. Watch this video of the Top Gear team putting a Hi-Lux through its paces...part 1, part 2 and part 3
We now have to make a decision and choose one to go with, this choice is going to be a major one and we need to get it right. If anyone has any advice please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check back for more updates over the coming days.
Happy New Year! I have returned from a great trip to the UAE and Nepal to visit Emma. During the course of my trip we managed to get some serious planning done and I shall be updating this site in the next couple of days with this progress. We now have a confirmed draft route in place and have begun to compile all the research we need to do on the various countries.
The new updated route map will be posted here shortly as will a useful spreadsheet with Visa requirements, Currency, length of visit, etc, etc.
We have also started work on the budget and have made some decisions about the best ways to save money in the lead up to the trip; more news on this to follow shortly. We have also made a pretty huge decision to sell Shero (our trusty Nissan X-Terra) and purchase a different 4x4. This choice was made for a couple of reasons; firstly I’m keen to use a diesel vehicle for
many obvious reasons. We are both also keen to use a vehicle that has much less electronics in it. Shero is also a fairly new car and apparently Nissan X-Terra’s hold their price in the UAE and so we should be able to pick up something far more suitable at a cheaper price giving us the extra funds to make any modifications we might need to make. All we need to do now is find the perfect vehicle.
Uncle Andy (I'm now an uncle to Holly and Amy)