After Europe

Over the last couple of weeks Mark and I have been doing a lot of research into the next big legs of our journey. It has not been a walk in the park. There aren’t many people doing what we’re doing and aren’t a lot of helpful of resources (except for the man in seat 61 whose site has been invaluable). There are oceans to cross, visas to obtain and countries to avoid. There are costs, non-existent timetables and websites in unfamiliar languages. The world is not open to us as it would be if we were to fly and we are struggling with coming to terms with the fact that we may have to miss out on some places we desperately want to visit, like Nepal. We are at the mercy of what mode of transport is A) available to us in a general direction of favour, B) leaves when we want to leave (+/- a couple weeks), and C) costs the least. With these factors in mind we have booked our next big leg: Europe to Asia aboard…(drumroll)…

Azamara’s Quest…(oooooooohs and aaaaaaaaahs)…

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Yep that’s right, we’re boarding another luxury cruise ship! It’s a 24 day sailing starting in Athens on November 28th and ending in Singapore December 22nd. Along the way we’ll be stopping in Egypt, Dubai (UAE), India and Malaysia!

From the get-go Mark wanted to take the Trans-Siberian Railway for this leg of our journey from Moscow to Beijing (which is also part of the Trans-Mongolian). In our minds, it was the only viable and safe overland route. It also sounded like it would be a lot of fun. We discovered, however, that our No Plan wanderings are not suited for the Trans-Siberian. Because we did not apply for Russian or Chinese tourist Visas from back home in Canada, we would have to apply for them in another country, which could take up to 3 months to attain. Then we’d have to get from Greece to Moscow and pay for food along the way. The clincher was cost. But we’re both really really looking forward to this cruise. Not having to truck my pack around with me for the 24 days on board will be bliss. Plus we will get to visit Dubai and India, albeit not for as long as we’d like to, but still, we’re going.

As for our next legs, we’ve done some preliminary research but nothing is certain yet. We know that we need to get back over to Cape Town mid-April 2010 for our 4-month overland journey — one leg. We also need to get from Cairo back to Canada October 2010 for Mark’s sister’s wedding — another leg. These will both have to be ocean crossings on either a freighter or another cruise ship. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can work things out with a freighter ship. Their timing is much less reliable and irregular and they are much more difficult to book and get information on.

We probably should find work but whether or not we actually find some or have the time to work is another uncertainty. Sounds crazy but we are actually feeling a bit time-crunched. The world is a big place!

It sounds crazy to say it, but we are actually feeling a bit time-crunched. The world is a big place! We get some strange looks when we tell people that we ‘only’ have five months left until we need to be in South Africa. But when we take into account that it takes a month to get from Europe to Asia, and probably a month back to South Africa, we start to wonder if we’ll be able to fit in amazing places like Australia and New Zealand, as well as the rest of Asia, at anything less than a breakneck pace. Working abroad is another big question. This is only complicated by the fact that we can count the number of ships traveling these routes on our fingers, which ties us even more to other people’s schedules. If we had unlimited wealth we could probably charter our own boat and travel at our own schedule, but where’s the fun in that?

Comments

    Hi There,

    I came across your site today and was like wow, these people are doing exactly what I have been wanting to do. My fiance and I are in the midst of planning a very similar adventure, and it was really neat to stumble upon your site. Very inspiring and lots of good info. In this post you mention that there are very few resources out there. One site I came across so far was BootsnAll (bootsnall.com). It’s a travel newsletter that sometimes has good write-ups on budget round the world travel. Anyhow, I have only had the opportunity to read a few posts, but I had to comment and say thanks for your efforts in putting together this awesome resource. Best wishes, Aus.

    Thanks Aus. We also check out BootsnAll once in a while, but since seat61 is dedicated entirely to traveling without flying we find it fits our needs more often. The only thing about seat61 is that all of the trip advise is based on starting in London, England: not much help for getting from, say, Asia to Africa. However, many of the resources found on the site also serve for purposes like that one.

    Hey folks,
    Great to see you’ll be doing another cruise ship. I think its a perfect “breather” for you – not having to carry your luggage around, as you say, and even moreso, having abundant high quality food, especially for 24 days, you can’t beat that.

    You’re probably already aware of this, we may have even mentioned it to you, but AVOID THE CRUISELINE EXCURSIONS!! THEY ARE A MONEY PIT! For all of your cruise stops, do some research in advance as to where the boat lets you off, and if its not in the main city you are trying to see, there will almost certainly be trains or other public transportation for literally 1/10th of the cost of what the cruise line will charge you for an “excursion”. And of course internet costs dearly on the boat, so looking into it in advance would be key.

    24 days on a cruise ship – so jealous!

  1. Bruce the Moose

  2. M&M
    Glad you made the choice you did – while a novelty, I suppose, the TSX may have been a bit of a bore. I think it is pretty well winter already in Siberia and the highlight of the trip may have been visiting Gulag’s and the like. Let’s think now – Gulags? snow? endless spruce trees? vs cruise, warmth, good food, sun, stops in exotic places, heat…
    Enjoy

    You may want to brush up on the local dialect. http://www.talklikeapirate.com/ :D

    A cruise sounds great and it will give you lots of time to relax and plan the rest of your journey. Happy trails to you both! xox

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