We're moving to NZ - Abbie going home and Daren bumming along for the ride. No 24 hour flight for us - we're trying to keep our green credentials by going back overland - yep, Europe and Asia by ferry, train, bus but not plane! The journey kicks off on 7 June.
Our current itinerary (and this will change as we discover we can't stick to our budget) looks something like this:
Scotland, Newcastle, ferry to Amsterdam, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany...
AND then the exciting bit:
St Petersberg, Moscow and then the great Trans Siberian Rail journey first to Irkutsk and then Ulan Bator in Mongolia, terminating in Beijing...
China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia. At this point we may find we are forced to fly from Bali to Darwin in Australia. In Aus we hope to take the Ghan, a train route from Darwin, through Alice Springs and on to Adelaide. From there we'll train across to Sydney and then make our way to Auckland. It's possible we'll have to take to the air for this leg as well, but we'll be doing what we can to avoid that...
Current estimates (based on budget, tolerance for staying in hostels, number of nights we can blag on friend's floors) suggest that this will take us anything from four to six months.
So, if you fancy coming along for ride, remotely at least, check out our blog. Assuming we can make the technology work, you'll be able to see photos of our adventures too. See such life enhancing moments as Daren in his new sleeping sack. Daren dealing with train toilets. Daren learning to speak other languages...
April 11th 2007
Adventuring with Chris and Aisha The East Cape of New Zealand isn't your normal tourist destination. It's remote, sparsely populated, and mountainous in the interior. It's known as a bit of a backwater lost in time. But the road around it hugs the rugged coast providing spectacular views, and much of the land is owned by Maori so the culture is much more apparent here. And for New Zealand, there's a lot of history here. We thought it would be somewhere a bit different to take Chris & Aisha - it's not where most tourists end up going. We should say at this point that Chris and Aisha took a lot of really good photos on our trip and so we've used a few of them in this blog (since they so foolishly left them ... read more
January 31st 2007
D - After our amazing and extrordinary adventures, we were very happy to arrive at what I guess we can now call home. And if I'm honest, the adventures have only really just begun. Well for me at least. Abbie's done some of this stuff before, but a lot of it's new for me. And as so many of you have expressed an interest in hearing how we're settling in, and what living in NZ is like, I've decided to keep the blog going. Abbie's promised to contribute from time to time, but from now on it's mostly just the Grover. Christmas with the Family Arriving a week before christmas was strange - we had avoided the worst of the build up, but, the freakiest part of this all (speaking from experience of many Northern Hemisphere ... read more
December 17th 2006
Port Botany - where the convicts landed and we escaped A - Either there’s something about catching container ships that’s inherently tricky or we're just not very good at it. Cathy (my aunt) had kindly offered to take us out to Port Botany where we were meeting up with the Hansa Rendsburg, the ship taking us from Sydney to Tauranga. When the port agent, Brad, had given us our joining instructions he’d said we just needed to report to Patrick's and they’d sign us in and take us out to the ship. We assumed that it would be straightforward to find it, though we also took the trouble of checking the internet to find a location at Port Botany. Once we turned up at the Port however, it turned out that there were loads of Patrick’s ... read more
December 12th 2006
Panic in Perth We left you with a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of the last blog. We wanted you to experience a small fraction of the adrenalin (read: stress) we felt at the moment we started to think that we might not be able to get to Sydney in time to catch our ship to New Zealand. You'll remember that we got to Perth around 9am on the morning of the 6th. The Indian Pacific was due to leave at 11:55am. The booking office at Perth Central station advised us that the seats were sold out. They also told us that there was no longer any coach service running from Perth to Adelaide or Sydney because flights had put them out of business. We checked our e mail to see if our ... read more
December 6th 2006
Port Klang - Kuala Lumpur - booking and joining instructions A - First things first. And that is the 'why'. Why on earth did we decide to take a container ship from Malaysia to Perth, when we could have flown a lot more cheaply and arrived in a fraction of the time. We blame you lot. All of those people who read our original plan, which included a couple of short flights, and issued us with a challenge to do the whole distance without flying. We searched around for options without much success. Then Huw, one of my old work colleagues came to the rescue with the freighter suggestion, and better yet, an e mail address for a kiwi agent who could arrange it for us. It may surprise you to learn that catching a container ... read more
November 28th 2006
It feels like a country in transition, but from what and to what? It's been hard to make sense of Malaysia. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China all have distinct personalities, but not so Malaysia. Perhaps it's the multi-ethnic nature of the place where people of Indian, Chinese and Malay heritage all mix in what seems about equal numbers. Maybe it's the fact that it's a Muslim country but with such a strong presence of the Hindu and Christian faiths. Maybe it's because it's only been independent from the UK for 50 years. But in re-reading this it seems that this sort of mix ought to make for a country with loads of character. Or maybe the opposite is true. Maybe this mix means that everything operates at the lowest common denominator so as not to offend ... read more
November 20th 2006
We got married! On Friday the 17th of November, we got married on Railay West Beach in south Thailand. Just the two of us, a local pastor conducting the ceremony, three staff from our hotel acting as witnesses and the remaining sunbathing heros still left on the beach after another glorious day in paradise. The lead up... A - This might be a bit of a surprise to those of you who know us. So perhaps we should explain a little. After we got engaged in Krakow, we started thinking about weddings. We started talking about it after the week long embargo Daren imposed on talking about weddings had passed. And what we began to realise was the huge undertaking a wedding would be. All of Daren's family are in the UK. Much of my family ... read more
November 14th 2006
Six days with real meaning A - I've always liked to think of myself as the adventurous, worldly, sophisticated cousin in the Reynolds mob of 19 cousins (my dad is one of seven). But then I catch up with my cousin Ang who is only a year older than me, and I realise that she outdoes me completely. Ang is pretty amazing really. She moved to Japan when she was in her early twenties, and lived there for a while and now speaks fluent Japanese. She then went to live in the UK for a couple of years. Then it was off to Sydney. And now... now she lives in Thailand and has been for almost two years. And speaks pretty good Thai from what we can tell. Whereas before she did all sorts of hospitality ... read more
October 28th 2006
There's not much money here Despite the fact that we've been through some very poor places, we felt the poverty most keenly in Cambodia. Tuk tuk drivers who wanted our business would plead that they needed it to feed their families, small children asked for money for food, disabled and limbless people asked for money, and everywhere there were small children selling things like books, drinks, bracelets... The problem was the sheer number of people wanting our money, the hugely inflated prices they would demand, and the volume at which they'd ask for it. We noticed this particularly around the temples at Angkor Wat where we'd arrive only to be greeted by screams from all the vendors wanting to know if we wanted a drink, or a sarong, or guidebook. On some occasions, we were simply ... read more
October 19th 2006
Vietnam - Same Same but different We arrived in Vietnam a few days after Typhoon Xangsane hit the central part of the country and caused massive damage and a number of deaths. We didn't know what to expect. Would the country be in a state of chaos? Would there be huge outbreaks of diseases from dirty water? Would we be able to get through the country to Cambodia? And if we couldn't how would we get to Thailand? Might we need to lend a hand? Or even worse, fly??? As it turned out, it was almost as if the typhoon hadn't happened. Although we saw some damage around Danang, all the places we stayed seemed intact and nothing seemed to have dented the local's desire to engage us, and more importantly, sell stuff to us. And ... read more