Phase 1 of operation ‘Around the World in 800 Days’ has begun. I’m back working proper full time hours to gain some extra income and should hopefully start saving in the New Year. Emma and I are likely to open a travel bank account that we can both pay into. As of Christmas I will also no longer have the commitment of the gallery that I run, this should also help with the saving. I have moved my art studio from the gallery into my house and I’m currently working from there in the evenings, which should hopefully also bring in some extra income.
Emma has been approached by the BBC to do some consultancy work for a documentary in the Middle East which she’ll be able to do alongside her part-time work at the Field Centre. I’ll leave her to write about that if she wants to.
The research is coming along slowly but should hopefully get a major boost in the New Year. I will be travelling back out to Dubai for 3 weeks over the Christmas period, with a shifty trip to Nepal. Emma and I will use this time together to put a strategy in place to split the work load. This will also give us time to focus on an exact route. One of the main jobs is going to be sorting the logistics of getting visa’s for the various countries we want to visit. I think this is going to be a job for Emma, she loves a clipboard and a good list, she might even be able to utilise different coloured pens.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office website has been a useful resource for finding out what countries are safe to visit and which countries we should avoid all together. Unfortunately as we are likely to be starting in the UAE we have to drive through a few of the unsafe countries to get anywhere...Well that is what I thought. Emma has come up with an ingenious plan which at first I thought was not going to be possible, after a little research (chatting to random sailors, that didn’t look at her too crazily when she mentioned it) it seems like it might just be possible. I won’t say too much now, but it would be an interesting start to an amazing trip. Let’s just say that Michael Palin would be proud.
Over the Christmas period Emma and I will also discuss other ideas we have regarding ways that our trip can benefit some of the communities that we are going to travel to. Between us we have a wide range of skills that we can utilise to help the people that we meet on our travels. All we need to do is work out the best way to go about doing this. Adding a charitable aspect to the trip will also help with funds and donations. I like the idea of finding a worldwide charity that we can liaise with in each country, logistically this would cut down the amount of correspondence we’d have to do.
Being a typical boy, most of my research to date has been how we can pimp up ‘Shero’ the trusty 4x4. I’m fairly confident that she’s up to the job after checking out several Nissan X-Terra forums and pages (all these can be found in the links section). The car is obviously going to need regular services on the trip and I’m likely to take a mechanics course just to get my ‘hands on’ skills back up to scratch. I’m fairly mechanically minded and I’m no stranger to working on cars. In my youth we used to pull apart and fix our own cars and motorbikes so I’m fairly clued up on how engines work.
I think the plan though is to try and get sponsorship in kind from Nissan so that the car can be serviced/repaired for free at Nissan garages around the world. In return we would offer Nissan advertising space on this site as well as regular updates on our travels and the cars performance for their monthly newsletters.