How To Free Your Inner Adventurer

There are, broadly speaking, two categories of Big Adventure.

Category One is the “blank slate” journey. It begins with a wholesome hatred of present circumstances; an acknowledgement of the stagantion of the protagonist’s life. This loathing catalyses a full-bodied response: burn each and every bridge, dispose of all tangible reminders thereof, and bugger off into the sunset. The desire never to be seen or heard of again is strong, and few concessions will have been made. And there is absolutely, definitely, no plan whatsoever to return. This is a fresh start. A blank slate.

Category Two is the “life on hold” journey. It is more likely to stem from an shortfall of adventure and risk and variety; a growing itch that cannot be conventionally scratched. A great deal of thought and planning is involved, because there are many things at stake here which will not go meekly to sacrifice. Primary amongst the budding adventurer’s concerns is the idea of the future; that the many things they do value will remain in place during and after the much-dreamed-of journey of a lifetime. Thus, the build up to eventual departure – to putting life on hold – is long and fraught.

Three observations:

  1. Once begun, all these trips will have far more in common than not. That’s regardless of motivation for leaving, and is true simply because life on the road has far more to do with the nature of the world than of the incidentals of the person subjected to its whim. Advice on the nuts and bolts of travel is broadly the same for all.
  2. The chances of Category One journeys reaching the starting line are far higher those of Category Two. This is because people of the former ilk have nothing to lose, and so there is no “should I”, just an absolute imperative to leave as soon as possible. Those of the latter, however, face a stressful and complicated series of obstacles to overcome.
  3. There are far more people in Category Two than Category One. Most of us are more likely to feel a nagging sense of missing out than a raging anxiety of discontent, because most of us don’t hate our lives entirely, rather just irritated by certain elements and disappointed by the absence of others.

It follows that there are a lot more people tied up in the seeming impossibility of launching their dream trip than people who’ve cut ruthlessly loose from it all and are living theirs already.

This has direct implications for me. I have been working diligently over the years to transform this blog from a more or less self-indulgent narrative about myself to a thing (I hope) of value to budding and experienced adventure travellers, particularly two-wheeled ones.

But the majority of advice I’ve penned is genuinely useful only for the small number of readers in Category One, or for those in Category Two who have already taken the difficult step of rearranging their life circumstances appropriately and are preparing to leave. It talks about bikes and tents and wild-camping and filmmaking, not about the savings and confidence-building and motivation and planning that must be laid down in foundation.

So I had a bit of a realisation last month when I sent a survey to members of my mailing list. The survey asked respondents to choose from a selection of new project ideas. Among them was one I’d hastily (and temporarily) titled How To Free Your Inner Adventurer.

It was described like this:

“A practical guide to rearranging your current life circumstances to accommodate a long-dreamed-of Big Adventure. This would tackle both abstract barriers (such as fear, indecision, career) and concrete ones (such as finance, mortgage, family).

“Importantly, it’d be built from real-life case studies of people who’ve already done this, and successfully so, from a broad spread of starting points. The resulting Big Adventure might involve a bicycle, but need not necessarily do so.”

Against other project ideas (including guides to the nuts and bolts of bike trip planning, travel blogging, and adventure filmmaking), this idea won by a huge margin.

It seems that a great number of you have one or more of big obstacles to tackle before you can hit the road. Your real concerns – even if you brush them under the carpet by reading about tents and touring bikes (go on, admit it!) – are to do with the implications of an enormous, multi-year, transcontinental, life-changing adventure. I know these implications well. I’ve been there myself. They are big and they are scary.

The potential impact upon your career, home, posessions, bank balance, mortgage, relationships, or all of the above, is far more frightening than the idea of simply getting on a bike and riding it, which is all that is really involved. You may also be held back by a perceived inability to fix a breakage, or find a place to sleep, or by other fears of what may go wrong, rendering moot the question of which touring bike or tent to buy.

Now, here’s a slice of irony for you.

Despite this being by far the most fresh and interesting project I could choose to work on; despite it being the big, glaring omission from all of the very good trip planning resources that already exist on the internet; despite it being the one idea that would be of the most help to the most people; and despite it being the idea that I most believed in and which fitted most closely with my mission to get more people travelling by bicycle…

It was also the idea that most terrified me. The idea that would require the most time, effort and sacrifice. The idea that involved by far the greatest unknowns.

Do these obstacles sound familiar…?

They are the same obstacles – fear, sacrifice, unknowns – that commonly prevent us from taking time out for a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

But I’m going to make this thing. This blog post, in fact, represents my ‘going public’ with a big, audacious and scary personal goal.

Going public, by the way, is one of the most powerful motivators there is. Motivation, in fact, is such a crucially important topic to understand when it comes to achieving significant change that there are likely to be whole chapters dedicated to the practical ways in which it can be employed.

Once motivation kicks in, it is all about momentum. And so I would like to end with a direct question to you; one which will do much to inform the focus of this project:

What’s the single biggest obstacle standing between you and beginning your Epic Bike Trip? How can I help you tackle it?

Answers in the comments.

P.S. It’s a little way off, but you can join my mailing list to be kept in the loop later on.

35 Responses to “How To Free Your Inner Adventurer”

  1. Stef

    Well, for me it’s not being able to work out how to access and manage money while being in the middle of nowhere. I mean, nowhere is really nowhere, it’s always somewhere right? But what do you do? Carry lots of money secretly hidden in the bike frame? Obtain a bank with branches in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness ( not likely ) arrange secret night time helicopter drops at pre-determined compass points???
    The reason I worry about this is because even when I go on a regular 2 week bike trip in somewhere not the least remote like the U.S.A. I run into problems with banks being awkward about changing travelers checks, no banks open because it’s a holiday,motels that won’t let me pay for a room in cash because they only accept credit cards. My solution is usually to carry enough cash for the length of the trip but for a REAL tour of much longer duration that doesn’t seem like a great idea.
    So on a world bike tour I expect I’ll be using a mix of camping out and hotels and friendly homes (only when I need to clean up). Let’s assume that you camp nearly all of the time and live basically. On a long, let’s say 6 month trip far from home you’ll still need a good supply of money for food and essentials. Just about every bike adventure site on the internet is vague on this aspect of cycle touring. How ( in real terms) do people support themselves on the road, far from home without easy access to funds?
    What is the best way to go about this? I think for a lot of people who have a routine job and used to a regular monthly income, the idea of being out there in a situation where you have no income and are not earning but only spending is a real worry simply because it’s so different to your regular existence. Yes, I suppose you could find work but that presumes you stay in one place long enough to make it a viable option.
    Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      I used to favour the covert nighttime air-drop option, but my budget no longer permits it.

      Nowadays I use this thing called a debit card. It enables me to visit any ATM in the world and withdraw cash from my UK bank account in the local currency. The only exceptions I’ve found so far – out of 40+ countries – are Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Raymond WA. I’ve carefully chosen a bank whose current (checking) account allows me to do this without paying any foreign transaction fees. Short version: accessing my cash is as easy as it is at home.

      Managing money? On tour, I’ll generally make a guess as to how many days I’m staying in a region, multiply that by the daily budget, and withdraw that much plus a bit extra from the first ATM I can find, which is usually at the border crossing, and if not in the first town thereafter. I carry a couple of hundred USD in new $10 and $20 bills for emergencies. There are ALWAYS money changers at borders, and money changers ALWAYS take USD.

      Online banking works as well anywhere as it does in your own home. I’ll log on from an internet cafe or library or host’s house if I need to do any financial admin while on the road.

      As far as generating the cash is concerned, the simplest way is to execute the following steps:

      1. Figure out how much money your trip will require (pre, during, and post)
      2. Open a savings account
      3. Work out your monthly expenditure, cut out everything unnecessary, set up a direct debit to put the savings away
      4. Go about your life until you have enough for your planned trip’s budget
      5. Leave.

      It’s important to remember that your outgoings are going to be a fraction of what you’re used to, as well as your income. In fact, be prepared simply for financial concerns to occupy a vastly smaller portion of your time and energy. As a real-world example, I cycled across Europe for 4 months and my average daily expenditure was 4.7 EUR (just under 600 EUR in total). Except for my daily late-morning food shopping (during which I bought my next 3 meals), I had no other reason to think about money.

      Earning whilst travelling is something folk have been doing for a long time. More recently we’ve seen the rise of the location-independent professional, for whom it really, really doesn’t matter where they are. Anyone who is able to offer a service which is delivered digitally (copywriting, design, consultancy, programming, PR, etc) has a head start in making this transition. But it might be more appropriate for someone to take a career break, save what they need for the whole trip, do it, then return to their previous occupation.

      Does any of this help? 🙂

      Reply
  2. Martin

    Well Tom we have decided on our journey and we are now preparing ourselves for this. For me the biggest obstacle was to focus on what i really want. Read about our journey and insights on http://www.twistingspokes.com

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Thanks, Martin. That is indeed a major stumbling block! It’s easy to get swept up in what everyone else on the ‘net is doing, and lose sight of what’s actually driving us.

      What did you personally find most helpful during this ‘focusing’ process, if you don’t mind me asking?

      Reply
      • Martin

        Hi Tom, Thanks for replying. For the “focus” preparations we used a lot of time to think about, what do I/we really look for in a journey like this. We sourced a whiteboard and have used this to write ideas and thoughts on, that has helped us a lot to focus and be reminded of our maining with this journey.
        When reading what other people do and wants to do, I keep my mind open and reflect on their ideas and motivations. My drive for these adventures are clear to me, while I am still working on being better to expose my self and explain this drive.
        So for me it is essential to stay true to my inner drive, thoughts, reasons for doing this journey. So to focus stay true to yourself !
        Tom what was your biggest obstacle during your journey?

        Martin,

        Reply
  3. Fraser

    Hi, this id in response to Stef’s question, although only relevant if you currently reside in the UK. Visit moneysavingexpert.com just google it. On that site search the current account section for current accounts that do not charge overseas transaction fees. The last time I checked Norwich and Peterborough was the only provider, apply for an account with the best available provider. Do the same for credit cards. Once you have been accepted for both you will be able to take money out of cash machines anywhere in the world with the current account and pay for goods and services with the credit card when necessary withouy incurring additional transaction costs. There are cash machines everywhere on the odd ocassion you will not have access take enough money to cover yourself for that period only. Hope this helps. Fraser

    Reply
    • Stef

      That’s great advice Fraser. Thanks for posting it as I’m sure it will be helpful to some. Sadly not for me as I am no longer based in the UK. I wouldn’t qualify for the account or card not having a UK address ( even though I still have fully functional bank accounts there).I’m looking for a global solution that works from anywhere and I know, it night not exist but I’ll keep looking.! Good info though, It seems like a good option.

      Reply
      • Tom Allen

        If you have UK bank accounts, surely there must be an address attached to them?

        As long as you have right of residency, there’s little stopping you using the UK as financial ‘base camp’…

        Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Cheers, Fraser. For UK residents this is certainly the best advice going. I use Metro Bank for my current account as they don’t charge overseas transaction fees.

      Reply
  4. Mark

    What a great idea! For me the main obstacles at present are definitely in the abstract category and/or the “soft” practicalities (like convincing my family this wouldn’t be just an incredibly selfish thing on my part; that they (we) won’t find ourselves in penury).

    Real-life case studies sound like a great place to start. I’d personally like to see examples of people who, like me, were approaching 60 (but sadly not approaching retirement ;)) before their first such trip. Some of the anxieties are likely common to all age groups but others feel particular: more at stake (e.g. less of a financial recovery period afterwards); a partner who may be becoming less independent & hence less confident about coping while you’re away.

    Reply
  5. Richard

    Mark – you are right. I don’t wish to over generalize, but undertaking an adventure in later life has potentially a different set of problems. I wouldn’t say it is harder to do it when you are older, but it does take a lot of organizing. Particularly if you are in Tom’s Category 2. The good news though, is that it can be done. I went on a solo trip across Russia last year from the UK. 8000 miles during the Olympics, (sadly motorbike not pushbike). It took 12 months of planning and crucially managing the expectations of work colleagues and family. I chose a time where I knew it would be quiet at work and I would be least missed. Every single day of the trip was fantastic. I believe that every person is capable of adventure. Don’t worry about the details. I tell everybody the only distance that is stopping you is the distance between your ears.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Though I cannot speak from experience (yet), I have come across many people who have undertaken big adventures in later life. I think that the right kind of planning can be very effective in reassuring family. By that I mean a really thorough financial plan to put these fears at rest, and enough of a trip plan to instill the requisite confidence for you to be allowed to leave – and then to do what you like 🙂

      While planning my first big trip I used to get asked with irritating regularity: “How long is it going to take?” What people really wanted was reassurance that this big and scary sounding thing that they didn’t understand (RTW by bike) could be somehow contained within a concept that they did understand (number of days/months/weeks/years). So I told everyone that it’d take 3 or 4 years, purely to keep them happy. The truth was I had no idea and didn’t really need to know.

      I know that doesn’t address the points you’ve raised directly. I suppose the reason I mention it is because there’s likely to be a lot of reassurance required and a lot of time spent creating it, even if the reality of the trip itself is something quite disconnected (at which point it doesn’t matter, because people seem to worry a lot less once you’ve actually left).

      It’ll be interesting to talk to people who’ve been through this process, that’s for sure…

      Reply
  6. Tim

    If only life was actually as simple as putting people into two categories!

    It’s akin to someone asking you, “What star sign are you little boy / girl” hoping to then assign you one of only twelve possible personalities.
    Personally I view such horrendous interrogatives with an immediate 180, getting as far away is physically possible from such myopia.

    I’ve been travelling for 25yrs, on and off, so now, aged 49, moving between Mongolia and China (repeat) as I am, I witness a wide range of travel modes and travellers. Some aimlessly drifting, some on epic trips, some on a short-ish break.
    I think travel is in ones’ blood and the earlier on you open Pandora’s Box, the more likely you are to be travelling throughout your life.

    This is not specific to cycling; climbers, walkers, m’bikers, photographers, you name it, they’re out there right now, some working on personal projects, some achieving personal goals, some just out on the road for the joy of it.

    Ergo, narrowing things down to just two categories in my view is too limited.
    Keep on keeping on.

    Tim
    (Cycling through Chile, photographing the Austral Carrera is my project in the first quarter of 2014)

    Reply
    • Tim

      PS.
      There is only one bank in Mongolia who are willing to cash Travellers cheques. they are way, way out of fashion. Santander take their pound of flesh with every ATM transaction.
      One of my life’s highlights: the London Olympic and especially the Paralympic Games. Eleven days for me, attending the Games. Utterly spectacular, magnificent, beyond comparison. Rather that than cooped up inside a helmet.

      Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Hi Tim

      Thanks for your comment. Obviously life isn’t as simple as putting people into two categories. The point, “broadly speaking” as I said, was that some people travel, and others wish they could travel but can’t find a way. I’ll be aiming to help the latter.

      Perhaps you’d be interested in contributing some of your own experiences to the project?

      Cheers,
      Tom

      Reply
      • Tim

        Sure, as long as you don’t want to know I am a Gemini, with Scorpio rising in the East, Leo waning in the West, a golden ratio in the house of Sagittarius with a nob of butter and black pepper for taste, or some such!

        Reply
        • Tom Allen

          Trust me, I’m the most ardent skeptic you’ll ever meet!

          Reply
          • Tim

            Here’s a good example: today, in Beijing, the wind has picked up and it’s colder now than in previous days. This means the smog has cleared = a good day to visit the Wall. But I want to see the sun set and sun rise, meaning I must stay out there, but there is no accommodation and I do not have a tent. Or a stove. O a vivvi bag. Or a tarp. Doing a quick hour’s research as I type then I need to buy a sleeping mat and a long plastic bag that will fit over my tent in case it rains and I will wild camp out there. I may get rather cold. Or wet. Or both.
            The point being that I am really rather unprepared but that’s no reason to; 1) take the usual hostel tour out to the tourist part of the Wall 2) not just get myself out there and figure it out when I arrive. A cold night is not going to spoil my sun set / sun rise plans.

          • Tom Allen

            What’s (really) the worst that could happen?

            You get cold.

            You can’t sleep.

            You see the sunrise and sunset anyway.

          • Tim

            The biggest concern is not stepping out the door, that was done 25yrs ago & it was easy for me.
            Money, no issue – a debit card.

            No, the biggest issue, as always is editing one’s images.
            Just look at the absolute rubbish populating your Wall on FB!
            People post up everything. Absolutely everything.

            Edit.
            Edit.
            And then edit again.

            Then narrow it down to 10 images from several days, maybe a week, choose the ones that really hit you square between the eyes. The ones that also tell the story.Then narrow it down to 5. Try that for size and we’re getting there!

            These being my most recent pdf’s from Mongolia and China / The Wall.
            I need 10 max.

            https://www.dropbox.com/s/txtlbaar55zy93i/wall%201.pdf
            https://www.dropbox.com/s/i8wa48z9tdas6bb/UB%20to%20Beijing%20part%201%20copy.pdf

  7. Zeinab

    Hi Tom, I’m glad this project was chosen! My fears and concerns..
    Hmm where do I start?!

    1- I would say my biggest fear would be to go on this journey all by myself. I do appreciate that it’s perhaps something that is better done alone…but that does make it much more terrifying.

    2- I think that just by being a woman, I am immediately in a more vulnerable position than men. Even if you told stories of hundreds of women who have done this alone and have returned safely, I am always going to have worrying thoughts which means that I would have to make decisions that ultimately take the “adventure” out of the adventure.

    3- Sleeping outside. I would probably not get a wink of sleep with the thought of rats/worms/insects lurking about! (traveling East, read that as snakes/scorpions/cockroaches)

    4- What if something breaks down or I run out of water and food or I injure myself and I’m in the middle of nowhere?

    5- What if I don’t have access to Internet? How would I solve my problems without Google??

    6- How do you convince others (more importantly parents) that this is not the stupidest decision of your life?

    To answer your questions, What’s the single biggest obstacle standing between you and beginning your Epic Bike Trip? Doing it alone.
    How can I help you tackle it?
    You probably can’t.

    Reply
    • Tim

      If you perpetually put obstacles in your way, then you will likely fail to mentally overcome them and thus stay at home.
      Seriously, a smooth passage in life is about one thing when you boil it down: problem solving.
      “Therefore…. ” should be the mental ending to your every statement. This will help lead onto solutions and problem solving that you had not perhaps considered.

      Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Well, let me have a go…

      1. Could you go away by yourself for a day? A weekend? A week? Two? At what point does it become terrifying?

      2. As above – do you, as a woman, get on OK in daily life? At what point, as you pass through the daily lives of 6 billion other men and women, do you become vulnerable? (Also: read this.)

      3. Go and sleep in your back garden tonight (in a tent, if you like), and see how it feels. How different will it be 30 miles away from there? 100 miles? 500 miles?

      4. If you are on a road, you are not in the middle of nowhere. You’re on a road. Roads only exist because people go there. People will help you. In 3 continents of riding I never didn’t see another human for more than a day.

      5. The same way every human who ever lived solved their problems between the dawn of time and 1998 😀

      6. Make elaborate and confident-sounding plans, even if you don’t actually follow them!

      In short, I would caution against thinking too big and too far! Think small, start small, but do start (hat tip: Al). Then, take it step by step. That’s all any other so-called adventurer ever did.

      Reply
      • Tim

        I am in this camp 100%.

        Harry Potter: We have to go there, now.
        Hermione Granger: What? We can’t do that! We’ve got to plan! We’ve got to figure it out…
        Harry Potter: Hermione! When have any of our plans ever actually worked? We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose!

        Reply
  8. Tony

    Hi Zeinab,
    I would say to you to arrange a week where you are free, head off from your home, keep it reasonably local, with no goal in mind.
    If you enjoy it after a night or two, then you know you can go on. If after a night or two your not enjoying it you can easily get home.
    When I first set out travelling I had no real goal/aim/destination. I set myself no time limit, if I came home after a week I would have had a good trip, if I came home years later, it was a good trip.
    I had all the same worries as you, my family were against it, I had a good job/life/income/future. You don’t have to persuade your parents, you only have to persuade yourself. I sold everything I had and just set off on my own.
    Everywhere I have traveled I have never truly been alone, there is always a friendly face out there. I have made friends in the most unlikely of places. When I have injured myself, someone helped, when I was hungry someone gave me food. I have been given shelter and any help I could ask for.
    We survived nicely before the internet, and so can survive away from it for a while. If your equipment breaks there is always a way to go on, if your really want to.
    Good luck!

    Reply
  9. Hilary

    Hi Zeinab, I’m a female that cycled a solo 700 mile trip in winter from England to Scotland (4 yrs ago), a trailer and cat in it and camped 5 nights out of 7. I would do it again! I took it to the edge where money was tight, equipment was just adequate (but my best armoury was fitness and determination) and I had no set destination other than Scotland …I’m still here , but my cat sadly died a couple of years ago  .
    It was a big gamble, but self-belief and a knowing that I was not alone gave me that extra confidence. There are people who help when the going really gets tough, but you first have to bite the bullet and leave home. Mine was a pretty extreme experience, but i was cycling from job centre to job centre , and looking for work. I did it the hard way because that was right for me at the time, but you have to just do it your own way and have a belief and desire to survive even when it gets seriously tough.
    I’ll give you an example: I was riding a cheap Raleigh mountain bike, which was ok for 550 miles until the rear mech. went into the spokes and it bent beyond repair and some spokes were broken. The temp was -17 in Altnaharra and my nearest bike shop was in Thurso, some 30 miles away. It was Christmas day (that’s what they call this commercial pagan festival anyway), I pushed the bike, my trailer and cat through snow for twenty miles then met someone who helped me, but I never asked them to. They took me in for a night and drove me with my bike to Thurso for repair. Money was seriously tight, but I did it and it was fun too.
    Ok, I have a head start after serving in the Army for 12 yrs, but it’s not about being tough, it’s about being free, smart, resourceful, determined and having a belief that you’re not alone. When I asked for help I got it, spiritually I mean…the divine entity, whatever folks want to call it. It became a spiritual journey as much as anything, but nothing to do with religion. Perhaps some other cyclists here can relate to that, especially those that hit bad luck in the middle of nowhere (so to speak) and haven’t seen anyone for some time, but somehow from somewhere came help.
    Just saying really that although I haven’t cycled that far in the past few years, (except NYC to Toronto back in the 90’s) the spirit to leave when the time is right will let me know. That’s my own personal story, but the next trip is calling, I can feel it.
    If you’re looking for an excuse not to leave Zeinab, you only need one. 
    Thanks for making the film Tom, looks good, I’m just downloading it now.

    Reply
  10. Ansley

    My biggest isn’t the unknown because knowing is pretty boring. My problem is getting the funds. If I had the means to leave I’d just leave. There wouldn’t be any goodbyes I would just disappear then call them several weeks later while standing in the middle of Mongolia holding a sandwich while watching some wild horses off in the distance. I’ve got a back pack, a decent bike, panniers and tent… What’s the average cost of a visa?

    Reply
    • Tim

      Don’t bother with the middle of Mongolia.
      Either head to the far north, visiting the Reindeer people (Tsaatan / Dukha) around the mountains around Lake Khövsgöl Nuur, which as pretty a mountain region as almost any on Earth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khövsgöl_Nuur
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/11/1104_041104_reindeer_people.html
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsaatan

      Or head west to the Eagle hunters http://www.palanimohan.com, of Olgii. Check out the eagle festival in the first weekend of October.
      Besides, sandwiches are a Western concept, you’d be drinking tea, (warm milk & salt) or airag (fermented mares’ milk) & be eating mutton or goat & various yoghurt products.

      One way is to cycle through The Stans’, entering Mongolia from the top left (if you will), where they speak kazakh. This will set you up for the above mentioned festival.
      For my money, the Gobi as a cycling destination is over rated, but it depends on your aspirations. I cycled 800km from the main town down-south, Dalanzadgad, up through the bottom of the Alti mtns, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altai_Mountains, up to the old capital, Karakorum.

      You could then take any route you fancy. How about some miles on the Trans Mongolian Railway? Next stop…. China?

      Now, the question is, when do you leave, not if, or but, or any other hurdle you put in the way?

      Reply
      • Tom Allen

        Thanks for the detailed information, Tim. But I’m highly skeptical of any advice that begins by saying “don’t bother with [insert destination here]”. Only the individual can decide whether or not somewhere is worth visiting; nobody else is qualified to understand his or her motives for travel.

        Reply
        • Tim

          “In my opinion….” having been in Mongolia since July 2013, those passing through tend to head for the more dynamic, famous regions, regions populated by deep lakes, high mountain ranges, wide open spaces (Gobi) and the less, more over looked regions barely get a mention, areas you may well cycle through on your way elsewhere.
          That said it’s whom & what you encounter on your adventure, what happens to you as you experience this adventure; what and whom are more valued in most every way than being able to pronounce “I visited X or Y” since ones’ personal adventure is just that, a personal journey, so in many ways, go-hang the Bucket-list & just go-do.
          As a photographer, I find value, interest and something to shoot everywhere I venture, every day so I do stand corrected, Tom.

          Little wonder then that is why dawn and dusk are the best times of the day for us, it ensures you are out & about during the best light, very oft’ having the entire Planet seemingly to your own. Photographers aren’t good at sharing, I want these experiences to myself, that’s why we’re a solo bunch. It’s the entire process for me, right up to the point of post production after the pictures are taken, I genuinely have very little interest in the final outcome (mostly), it’s on to the next project, the next adventure, the next day’s pictures.

          Reply
    • Tom Allen

      The best place to get your visa questions answered is here.

      My own trip to Mongolia (2.5 months) cost a few hundred pounds all-in. I took the train from Moscow and stopped off in Ulan Ude to get my visa.

      Reply
      • Ansley

        Thanks, that is surprisingly cheaper than I thought it would be. I plan on starting off where I am now in the midwestern part of the U.S and just keep heading west.

        Reply
    • Tim

      Regarding funds: I think you’d be shocked just how much £$£ you can genereate on eBay and the like. Sell everything you have not listened to, played with or similar in the last 18 months. I did just that and raised several thousand pounds.
      Make the listings good with heaps of images and watch the funds roll in. I even sold an empty box for £42 and a CD player circa 1990 for £1446.
      The rule of thumb: do you own this “stuff” or does it own you?

      Reply

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