Well this is it - with 3 weeks to go before I leave work on sabbatical, then another 3 weeks before I finally hit the road, I guess it's time to firm up a few plans!
So - the plan is to get to Australia by boat, bus or train - so no flights. Nearly everyone arrives by plane, so why not do something a bit different?! I've wanted to do it for years and the idea of arriving by boat is one of the reasons for this trip - so let's hope I can do it! I've read about other people who have had the same idea - but not of anyone who's actually done it!
The first part of the trip will involve taking a ferry - probably straight to Norway from Newcastle and then working my way up the Norweigian coast, partly on the Hurtigruten boat and the rest by bus and train to the Arctic Circle (and the "Land of the Midnight Sun"!) and on to the Russian border. Then it's south east to Australia! After crossing into Russia by bus I'll stop at Murmansk to see where my Grandad went on the Arctic Convoys in WW2. Then it's down through St Petersburg, Moscow, taking about 3 weeks to get to Siberia stopping off along the way, by train.
Taking the train south, I cross the border into Mongolia - can't wait for this bit! Looking forward to seeing the vast open spaces and experiencing a culture so different from my Hampshire life! After about a month, it's off to China for 2-3 months and then into Tibet - again a real highlight of the trip for me. India kind of throws the route out somewhat, but I definitely want to go back there for a better look this time. Having gone in completely the wrong direction, I then have to make a decision about how to get to South East Asia - either by boat, probably to Singapore (and miss out most of the area!) or back through Nepal, China and into Vietnam, travelling south through Thailand, Malaysia and into Indonesia, where I'll hopefully get the elusive boat to Australia!
Well, I think that's all for now. Gotta start packing up my house before I can let it out. There's loads to do yet and the trip still seems ages away - but it's only 6 weeks!
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