With the air-gate and inevitably average plane food and sub par entertainment package beckoning (Tianjin Airlines reviews were routinely slammed as having “not enough English language content”), arguably the toughest parts, well, niggly admin parts, are behind us as we look to embark on an epic adventure in less than 2 weeks time. We have just a few more days of work before we drop everything and jump on a plane bound for China. But! we hear you say! What made you drop everything? Where are you going? and how long for? and just who are you, you ask? We’ll answer the last one first.
We are Martina and Mark, and the chances are you know us already, but for those of you that know only 1 (or neither) of us, firstly commiserations, you’re missing out, secondly, a brief introduction. Martina is Swiss, a part-time boxer and chocolate expert, full-time e-commerce manager, and Mark, a Kiwi, who, when not wiring homes as an electrician, is
forging a cricketing comeback with the mighty Prahraners or surveying Melbourne’s craft brewing goodness. Both of us are keen travelers, and between us we’ve been to 60 odd countries and we’re embarking on a journey to extend that number, not that number is the be all and end all of course. Meeting on a local Bolivian bus in 2014, travel has been part of our relationship from the start, with a few overseas mini-travels punctuating our stay in Melbourne, where we’ve loved living these past 3 years, more about us here. But it is time to pull stumps for now, which leads to….
Where exactly are we going? and just how dang long?! These are open-ended, in so much as, although we do have a roughly planned route, the trip will be broken into 3 distinct legs: Asia/Sub-Continent, Africa and Russia/Central Asia. Each leg is highly fluid, along with the time frame, depending on, but not strictly related to: finances, abject
weather/seasonal events, visa issues and travel advisories. The first stanza is naturally the most clear taking us on August 10 to Chongqing, Sichuan province (apparently home to China’s best hot-pot/street-food scene along with a measly 17m inhabitants) – Chengdu (Pandas) – Xi’an (terracotta warriors, monkeys) – Beijing (I shouldn’t have to spell it out) – Mongolia, then back into China, and then we’ll be lucky enough to go to Tibet. The planning waters then muddy somewhat as we head onto Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka before a Swiss Xmas. After a brief stint in Europe it’s off to Africa, where we hope to overland from Cairo to Cape Town in roughly 5 months. Then back to Europe (Martina has just been alerted to the Cricket World Cup in the UK) before Eastern Europe, Russia, Caucasus region and Central Asia. For all of this we’ve set aside a lump of cash and 12+ months depending on how things go.
So let’s complete the reverse line of questioning I’ve assigned to you, the reader. Why have we decided to turf the jobs, apartments and great staff discounts at Martina’s place of work? Like anything else in life, “one day” unfailingly reaches one of 2 crescendos, it either arrives with the regret of not undertaken said day, or you arrive at your destination, and hey, maybe the place is a dump, but at least your sense of curiosity has been appeased. With this in mind, and as inferred in the preceding passages, we love to travel, and with all things in life being somewhat ephemeral, along with other factors coming into alignment it was the right time to pull the metaphorical trigger and hit send on the resignation email. Why a year? Well, a running telly of all our “one day I’d like to go tos” added with financial capacity, divided by bodily ability to handle rough travel amounted to as much. Both of us would love to see every country in the world “one day”, but we’ll never get closer watching ‘Grand Designs’ re-runs (as good as they are), so we might as well start here and now.
So there you have it, a fairly brief overview of what we have “planned” over the next year or so. The goal of the blog is to elucidate you as to our whereabouts mainly, and enlighten you with the odd bit of travel advice, keeping safe, visas and local customs, travel as a couple, as a female, and maybe even a little photography. So, we really hope you’ll follow along and enjoy as we traverse through Tibet, explore Egypt and analyse Armenia in these pages, in spirit (or whatever), and enjoy the journey. Of course, any would-be interlopers who would like to convene over kofta, banter over beers, or any other food and beverage based alliteration you could conjure, we would welcome you with arms wide open.
@catchustravelling on Instagram!
Thanks for reading, M&M