Monday, 18 January 2010


Some people have asked me about the purpose of the trip.
Some others have questioned the meaning of it, while yet another one has told me "what are you running away from?"

These are nothing but the reflection of other people's fears and doubts about the victory against conventionalisms.
The very mirror of First World societies' advices in favour of immobility and alleged mainstream uniformity.
People dumping their unsecurities from their comfy lives in a falsely safe bubble, apart from "world's" unknown dangers.

The purpose of this trip is nothing but the desire for discovery, for knowledge, of oneself (sure), and of different truths, cultures, peoples, languages and stories.

Asia has always been veiled by mystery and mysticism, by prejudices and ignorance, despite of the so many times said One World culture of our days, the age of global communication and the end of exploration.

It has exerted too a profound attraction over me for as long as I can remember, and convinced that real learning can only take place by living it, for once I will leave aside the books and search it on my own.

This trip departs too from the conviction that one can do what one wants to do only if he's able to overcome his/her surrounding social pressure.

And this is what I want to do, and I'll do it because I can do it.

In summary, this purpose is the purpose of one life.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Black patches cleared

After spending one weekend in Madrid, I've got some fresh news about the trip's uncertainties.

On the positive side, I read that there are plenty of travel agencies in Kathmandu where you can easily arrange a group tour into Tibet, so this way I could get back into China on the way from India.

Then I'd head to the West, and then now I know that there are several ways of attempting the crossing into Central Asian countries.

For instance, a possibility that I hadn't taken into account, there is an express train working all year-round from Urumqi, in Xinjiang, to Almaty in Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

I became aware too of the buses from Kashgar (Xinjiang) to Osh (Kyrgyzstan), through Torugart pass, but only in warm weather (I hope there is enough of that in September/October 2011).

On the not so positive side, guides keep repeatedly saying that crossing from Myanmar to India not possible to tourists. Maybe I'd better start thinking new paths ahead from Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent (I thought about a ferry trip from Thailand).

Having this new pieces of information, Thailand appears as a likeable base for exploring Southeast Asia (given that no visa is needed, and the ones needed for other countries can be applied for in Bangkok).

In the next days I will get in contact with the Chinese consulate (in Madrid), but their working time is very little really, so I don't know if I'll have success.

Visiting time (in person) is only available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9:30 to 13:00, and telephone service on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 12:30.

I will probably write them an e-mail, because I'm not in a hurry, but in the end, before the trip I will definitely have to go there during those short periods.

PS: I bought a small phrasebook that includes Burmese, Thai, Lao, Khmer and Vietnamese. It could be helpful, but I will write on languages during the trip in some other post.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Timing & Weather

This is what I've got about the provisional dates and locations of the trip:

February 2011
- Poland (Warsaw)
- Belarus (Minsk)
- Russia (Moscow)

March 2011
- Russia (Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Vladivostok)
- Japan (Chubu, Tohoku, Hokkaido)

April 2011
- Japan (Kanto, Kansai, Chugoku, Kyushu)
- Korea (Gyoengsong, Chuncheong, Gangwon, Seoul)

May 2011
- China (Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing, etc.)
- Mongolia

June 2011
- China (Xian, Canton, Hong Kong, Yunnan, etc.)
- Thailand

July 2011
- Vietnam
- Laos/Cambodia

August 2011
- Myanmar
- India (East & South)

September 2011
- India (West & North)
- Nepal (Kathmandu)
- China (Tibet, Urumqi, Kashgar)

October 2011
- Kyrgyzstan
- Tajikistan
- Uzbekistan

November 2011
- Iran
- Armenia

December 2011
- Georgia
- Turkey

Finally, I noticed the need for departing earlier than Spring in order to get better weather conditions in other countries.
This way I get to Japan on time for the Hanami (cherry blossom flowering), I avoid typhoons in Southeast Asia and wintery weather in Nepal and Central Asia.

Maybe it's a bit of a fast itinerary (11 months, 20 countries), but it is the only feasible way of doing it within one year:

Poland (3-4 days)
Belarus (3-4 days)
Russia (20 days)
Japan (1 month)
Korea (2 weeks)
China (1 1/2 month - 2 months)
Mongolia (1 - 2 weeks)
Thailand (2 weeks)
Vietnam (1 week)
Laos or Cambodia (2 weeks)
Myanmar (2 weeks)
India (5 weeks)
Nepal (1 week)
Kyrgyzstan (1 week)
Tajikistan (1 week)
Uzbekistan (10 days)
Iran (3 weeks)
Armenia (1 week)
Georgia (1 week)
Turkey (3 weeks)

(Total: about 330 days maximum)

I will write more on this in detail soon.