All set for another adventure

Me and my backpack on a 20 000km train journey

Later this week I’ll be heading on my longest trip to date. A four and a half month adventure around Asia.

Over the first month I’ll be travelling from Milton Keynes to Hanoi, Vietnam by train, through Russia, Mongolia and China via the Trans-Siberian railway. The remaining few months will see me continue overland through south-east Asia, exploring the tropical regions of Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, finally ending up in Singapore. I’m keeping it rather open ended like I usually do. These are all places I’ve never been before, so we’ll see where the wind takes me.

“Wait, did you say by train? Ever heard of a plane?” This happens to be a question I’ve been asked a few times recently. My answer is, well, where’s the fun in that?

Air travel has shrunk the world. A flight ticket can get us anywhere in no time at all. It’s an easy, cheap and convenient way to get around, and that’s great. That next weekend city break or beach holiday is now so accessible to anyone and everyone. But as a result I can’t help feel overlooking the forgotten parts of our incredible planet.  Plus that excitement for the journey itself has all but disappeared for me – and no, that’s not just because of the shoebox-sized legroom and bland food on long-haul flights!

Since my 2011 hitchhike through Europe, I’ve found there’s something exhilerating about overland travel. Often the richest experiences can be found in the most unlikeliest of places. And the gradual transition through one nation to another somehow makes the world feel more unified. Travelling through remote parts of Russia and Mongolia will hopefully expose me to fresh perspectives off the beaten track, as well as cultural and scenic wonders that I would have otherwise breezed past. Not to mention the chance to live and converse with complete strangers for 4 days in a third class Russian rail compartment!

I’ve been really lucky to see so much of the world already. And even more so to recall spectacular memories and be able to share on this blog. However for the last few years now, I’ve had this desire to undertake a more substantial trip; one that’s truly character-building. From recent experiences I realised that life’s too short to defer aspirations, and was determined to not live in regret like so many others I’ve spoken to did. There’ll always be an excuse for not travelling for such a long period of time; life always gets in the way one way or another. But for me, I figured that now offers the least compromise. I have the least to lose, and most to gain.

So this trip will be a unique one. Aside from heading onwards to far away lands, this will also be a journey of personal discovery. It’ll be a time to break free from routine, explore hobbies and figure out what I want to achieve in the next phase of my life. I’m certain there’ll be times where I’ll miss home conveniences. But this will be an adventure well outside of my comfort zone, so I’m prepared to expect the unexpected.

Now that the time has come to zip up my backpack and bid goodbye to family and friends, there’s an enormous sense of excitement building up inside me. I can’t wait to share highlights from this adventure. Stay tuned!


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