It certainly has been an interesting couple of months! After bidding a final goodbye to Afghanistan, we spent a few weeks in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece) followed by a few painful weeks of sorting through our personal belongings in storage in the US before finally taking a long siesta in Ecuador. Well, to be honest, a siesta it was not, but we certainly got a lot of necessary renovations and improvements accomplished with our fabulous apartment here. Now it feels more like home. After a few more weeks of rest, we’ll both be ready to hit the road again. This year will be one full of adventure and travel. Our current plan is to head back to the States in late Feb/Mar for some necessary visa applications and fingers crossed, we hope to squeeze in a quick visit to see friends in Colorado and DC. Once our passports are back in hand, we’ll immediately hop over to Istanbul which will be our travel base for a few weeks, allowing us to do some independent travel to Georgia, Armenia and Tunisia.
By mid April, we’ll be back in Istanbul, ready to kick off our 6 month overland trip with Oasis Overland. The original company (Odyssey Overland) and route of our long anticipated trip changed due to low booking numbers but we are sure that we’ll be in good hands with Oasis and hopefully the new route will be just as exciting. Here is a map showing the original plan (in blue) and the necessary modifications (in red). In summary, we had to forego Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the crossing of the Caspian Sea. We also had to omit Tibet (the Chinese authorities will not issue permits for us to cross the Tibetan Autonomous Region due to the damage experienced in this isolated area), Nepal (devastating earthquake of April 2015) and India.
The new plan is for us to head from Turkey into Iran (woop wooop, our second trip to this fabulous country!), and from there by land into Turkmenistan, avoiding the Caspian Sea crossing. Since we spend more time in Turkey than originally planned, we’ll be in Gallipoli on Anzac Day. The ‘Stans will remain unaffected (Turkmeninstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan will be identical as our original itinerary) and as another bonus, we will now be visiting Kazakhstan and its Aksu-Dzhabagly National Park. Since we no longer will be visiting Tibet, our China substitutions will include Xi’an (terracotta warriors), Chengdu (pandas), and Xiahe (important Tibetan monastery). And lastly, once we hit South East Asia, we’ll be visiting orangutans in Indonesia’s Sumatra region.
We’re super stoked that two of our Africa overland peeps (Lars from Norway and Ichi from Japan) will be joining us! There should be lots of new memories on this 26 week adventure, ha. We’ll have to introduce the rest of the truck to the concept of the FDNCTP (first day new country truck party)!!!
Since we’ll be on the go for the rest of the year, we will be streamlining the website a bit with a new look and feel for all future content. And as a heads up, Internet is pretty shite in the ‘Stans and Facebook is banned in China, so we will probably be without online access for several weeks but we will post when we can.
To close out this long update, Becky recently discovered some photos from a circa 1995 trip to Tunisia. Enjoy some super old and grainy pics from the pre-digital age here! Reliving those memories made us eager to see Tunisia again, so we’ll be doing a whirlwind trip of this petite North African nation before our overland trip.