Yeah, so after a whole year-and-a-half back in the US with only two brief (10-day and three-week, respectively) breakaways to Korea and Taiwan, I'm finally getting ready to take off again to my continent-home-apparent of Asia. Though I've been planning this for over a year now, I have to say, it just kinda hit me this weekend that this thing is really gonna happen. I've saved plenty of money, I've got all my visas until Uzbek, I've got all the guidebooks, I've found at least a few flights to choose from, and so from here on out it really doesn't matter if I work a ton or don't work at all. And I'm excited as hell!
Here's my latest itinerary, which has undergone umpteen million changes but is somewhat stabilized now at least by the fixed-date visas I've already secured. Hopefully I'll be doing the whole thing on bicycle, except for Russia, which will be by the historic (and ridiculously overpriced) trans-Siberian railroad. As it looks now, I'll be flying into Hanoi, or alternately Saigon, spending a couple days getting my bearings and filling up on Pho and French baguettes, and then head off into the hills of Sapa and on toward the Chinese border and Kunming. From there, it'll be on toward Chengdu, Xi'an, Taiyuan, Hohhot, and finally on through for a month-long ride around Mongolia. My Russian visa starts 1 July, so it'll be a hop across the border into Irkutsk, then the trans-Siberian across to Moscow and, time providing, St. Pete. I'll probably end up catching a flight to Uzbekistan at the end of the month, and spend August between there and Kyrgyzstan, with a couple other central Asian countries as possibilities if I can secure visas along the way. September will be for western China, and then in October I'll have to make the decision: Pakistan if the political climate there is OK, or Tibet and Nepal if it's not. Then finally a few months in India to round out the trip. I'm thinking some camel trekking in Rajasthan, Christmas in Goa, Diwali in Varanasi, and a little tiger spotting in Sunderbans, but the India itinerary is WIDE open. I might try to hit Indonesia and Hawaii on my way back home, or perhaps Syria, Israel, or some country in Africa if I go the other way.
Anyway, that's the plan in a nutshell. Like I said, this itinerary has changed a million-fold since I started planning it in '06, and I don't even have a ticket to go yet, but ultimately I'm just excited to be going anywhere right now and we'll see how it goes. I'd love to meet up with anyone along the way, so if you're gonna be in the area, give me a shout!