Why plan in such detail? And so far ahead? Well, that’s my ordered side. Things need to be arranged. Leave nothing to chance. And that is exactly what a trip like this can never be like.. That also makes it exciting. Still, planning can help make broad global decisions that will affect the whole trip. And it is also a lot of fun!
In September 2014 I will be leaving Eindhoven, the Netherlands, to cycle to Adelaide, Australia, where I was born. After cycling through Europe in 2014, the second stage of my trip starts in Istanbul in Turkey around March 2015, and sees me end somewhere in South-East Asia. There are lots of options, and lots of decisions to make. Here is the current planned route.
At first I was a bit irritated when I discovered that, perhaps, my timing was a bit skew. I have planned too much time. Leaving Istanbul in February/March to get to Tajikistan on June 1 where I would meet up with my cycling friend Chris. But, hey, this is a cycle trip of a lifetime. No stress. No hectic agenda. I am going to take my time and see places not many people have the privilege to see. I am going to take detours. This route is the basis. I am now collecting ideas for detours – interesting places to see and things to do!
Here are the countries I will be cycling through with some thoughts on my route through them.
In Turkey I might stick to the Black Sea coast and enter into Georgia, Armenia, and possibly Azerbijan. But in the correct order. The relationships between the countries in the Caucus are complex, and in researching the trip I am discovering things I never knew existed – self proclaimed countries recognised by no-one except themselves – Abkhazia and Nagorna-Karabagh.
In Iran I may head south through Isfahan and Shiraz as recommended by Bernadette Speet. The major decisions that affect the global route take place in China. Strict laws in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), expensive (compulsory) tours that need to be taken there, roads blocked for tourists, length of Chinese visas, timing of wet and hot season in Bangladesh, lack of roads leading to massive detours on the Tibetan Plateau, the impossibility of crossing Myanmar. All these affect my route through China, and, inevitably, what the whole trip looks like. I would like to have a connected route entirely covered by bike – and I would like to see Bangladesh. The only option is to fly.
My planning continues – fine tuning the European and Asian route, and also putting together the third and final stage of the trip – the ‘South-East Asian’ leg..