September 5, 2013

Quite excited!

Welcome to my slightly revamped blog! You may notice that I have made a few changes, including moving to a new blog address and having a new name. This reflects my decision last week to use the blog for more than the single “big trip” that it was originally intended for (more of this in a moment). I have also added some labels – below the archive to the right – so that you can search by trip and location as well as using the monthly feed. The only downside is that if you have a bookmark to my old location, its now a dead end. Sorry about that. I’m hopeful the search engines will catch up with me soon – last time round they quickly started listing this blog at the top of a lot of Trans-Siberian searches which I was both surprised and flattered by, as I made no effort to optimise the results.

Whats been going on? Well after a few months procrastinating about where to go next, I have now started work on my next adventure – and its bigger than I had originally planned. I guess there is a small chance it will fall through, but I’m confident enough today to reveal the cunning plan: Newcastle to Singapore, overland. Its an 18000 km run taking the Trans-Mongolian route as far as Beijing (like I did for the first time last year) then heading south through China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia into Singapore.

I’m excited about it as I enjoyed the Trans-Mongolian trip so much last time and feel I have unfinished business in a few places (more in later posts) – but this time I get to execute a more challenging plan travelling through South East Asia once I get to China. I have called it an “overland journey” as technically there are a couple of non rail legs – the ferry across the North Sea from Newcastle to Imjuden (250km) and a bus/van/tuk tuk journey across Cambodia to the Thai border (314km). The rest of it is all by rail. I’m something of an old hand in SE Asia, but not used to living life with the locals on the rails in these parts!

For anyone new here, I should point out that I would probably not attempt this journey without the confidence of my experience last year. As a journey its almost too big for me to think of in one go, so I’m going to focus on sections of the journey as a develop sub plans that link together.

I have ordered some new maps – as soon as they arrive I will post pictures of the route. I sense I’m hardly a pioneer on this one – its been a route on Seat 61 for a long time, but I suspect most travellers don’t have the time to complete this run, not to mention the red tape and need to have multiple visas and ground agents..

So far I have started with the Trans-Mongolian, and Igor and the guys from Real Russia are on the case as we speak. I’m hoping to hear back from them tomorrow and its possible they will be able to ticket me all the way to Hanoi – that would be Amsterdam to Hanoi in just four trains!

More to follow, but I hope you like my new challenge.

Finally, one small point to note is that I have found the settings of my blog previously didn’t allow you to post comments unless signed in with Gmail. Well I have changed this now, so although there will be more spam at least I can see all your thoughts! Do tell me if you think I’m mad..

Must go now as I have to do some real work, but more from me soon.

One Comment on “Quite excited!

Alan Kirby
September 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hi Mr Toad you are brilliantly mad…..looking forward so much to following your exploits. Hope to catch up with you again at LM next year. Wonk


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