Paris April 4, 2016
When planning a route from Hong Kong to Sweden there is one major choice that needs to be done – north or south of the Himalayas. In all honesty it didn’t take too much dwelling to decide that the south was the way to go. The following countries will be visited by Pops & Frog on the way to Sweden:
Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Kazaktstan, Azerbadjan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Göteborg – FINISH.
A. Kazaktstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbadjan
B. Greece, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden
For some of these countries we do not expect too much hassle but for a few, acquiring the necessary paperwork will be a challenge. That and a few other matters are the reason we have to start our project more than a year ahead. Bhutan (the country who doesn’t care about GDP but follows a happiness index instead) is very tricky since they have a cap on the number of visitors they allow to enter each year. Furthermore, they do require a guide to go with you all the way until you leave the country . . .
Tibet is similar but the worst case is mainland China. In order to handle the administrative work we will hire a part time assistant. An add will be placed in Jobs DB Hong Kong next week. (We will of course post it for you to follow). Fact is, no matter how good the assistant is there’s a risk the route will have to be altered due to permits, the political situation (warzones not being our forte) as well as which fundraiser will be chosen since we definitely will visit the project on our way. Currently we are rather focused on finding a project in either Bangladesh or Nepal.
During the trip we expect to find nightquarter in everything from the tents we will bring along (one tent each) to basic places where you really need the sign on the facade to identify it as an hotel. We also hope to every now and then find a nice place with clean sheets, hot showers, TV news in English, yummie food, a glass of wine and a couple of craft beers. We do not plan to be a survival show trying to diet on eatable roots and tea boiled from sewage waters that’s been filtered through a pair of used underwear. We will be travelling on a relatively tight schedule which forces us to plan carefully and a menu of freeze dried food and protein bars will definitely be preferred to hunting shrubberies for eatable (horribly tasting) vitamin packed berries.
What we are really trying to say is that we want to enjoy our adventure, not just survive it. We want to enjoy the nature, the people, cultures, each others company and the bikes . . .
Every week until we reach our goal in Sweden we will write about successes and setbacks in our project. Partly because we enjoy it and partly because we are narcissistic enough to believe there is someone out there who would like to read it without getting paid for it. That is except grandma who doesn’t count. Hopefully it can be a little bit fun reading and also inspire others to set out on adventures of their own. Most likely there will be an equal distribution of dos and don’ts.
Please remember, we are not experts, we did not win Paris Dhakar, we are not trained Navy Seals, actually Frog can’t even drive a motorcycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . yet