There’s nothing like suddenly being able to realise a dream to make you question whether you actually want to do it.
A little over twenty years ago, we got back from cycling around the world. After two years of travelling we were very happy to be in one place, but we always thought that eventually we would want to do another long ride.
And then other things get in the way like work and mortgages and just life in general.
But over the last few years, we’ve been dreaming about doing it again. For a long time it was just a way to get though the daily grind, but now circumstances have conspired to make it possible. And, after not much soul searching, it seems we do want to go and we’re off at the end off April.
We’re hoping to get to Kazakhstan. The route will take us through France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan. Looking at this list now, it seems like a pretty foolhardy idea – we should probably have a plan B, but at the moment we don’t. We think this will take six to eight months on bicycles – at a slow comfortable rate so we can take in the view.
We’ve chosen central Asia because it takes us almost entirely through countries we haven’t visited to before. We wanted to visit Iran when we cycled round the world, but it was 1988 – Britain had not had diplomatic relations with Iran since just after the revolution in 1979. Although it did reopen an embassy in Tehran in 1988, it wasn’t possible to go as a tourist. At that time too, all the ‘stans’ were part of a still closed Soviet Union.
So now we are in a frenzy of planning: visas, route, equipment, what have others done? do we have time to see all our family and friends before we go? etc. etc. etc. It seems monumental, but in reality, we are only going to be away for a few months – and after all this is small beer compared to our last trip when we didn’t have the internet to help us with the planning.
We are also using this trip as an opportunity to raise funds for a small organisation in south west London. Grenfell does brilliant work supporting vulnerable young people, many of whom would be on the street without their help. It provides housing, training and support to get young people into work or education and help them make the transition to independent adulthood.
Much of their work is under threat with the coming cuts. Please sponsor us if you can – and let us know by sending an email or commenting here on the blog and we will try to reply.
And if you can’t sponsor us, you can wish us luck – we may need it.