2-wheels 1-world 0-money RTW

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Open-Explorers, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Hi bikers, travellers out there.

    I thought I offer some entertainment and blog a bit about my trip. I started in Berlin in 2008 and I made it to New Zealand, which took me 2,5 years. I know that's quite slow, but you gotta know I set off without any money. I naively thought I can make the money for traveling along the way by working any job that comes my way. I did work. It wasn't easy, but to my own surprise I managed. But more to this later. Anyways, the working along the way thing slowed me down quite a bit. But it also forced me to immerse myself into foreign cultures and countries all the time. I'm kinda grateful about this, because I might not have done the things that I did, if I could have bought me an easy way out. And often very interesting encounters and experiences came from not being able to walk the easy and obvious path.

    I'm currently on a temporary break from my adventure to intensely work on the the movie about the first leg of this adventure, but I will set off to travel from South America to Alaska next year. And who knows, there's always Africa that is waiting to be explored. Here's where I'm at:

    Traveling is my passion. It always appeals to me to expose myself to difficult situations. I'm convinced that this will make me grow. Experiences from extensive previous travels have changed the way I see the world today. And I believe that the more of us make first-hand experiences with foreign cultures and beliefs, the better the chances that our world society will become more understanding, tolerant and peaceful. This is also why I share what I have learnt. Oh and yes, I don't think of me as the all-knowing and brave, hardcore traveller. It's not about this. It's about exchanging ideas. Feel free to comment openly.

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    So here's the story, I'll add some more once a day, or every other day. Uhm, I won't tell the story chronologically, that's boring. Ok, I'll jump right into the middle and start in India, later more about how I started. I entered the huge sub-continent while not having the slightest clue of how to travel any further from there. It seemed like a dead end. China didn't seem possible or affordable –*I met a swiss guy who paid 15.000 USD to get his motorcycle into the country. It's the cost for the mandatory 24h guide, his expenses and all the papers you need. The Chinese gov. wants to know and where you are at all times. That is if you travel with your own vehicle. As a backpacker, it's much easier. Myanmar (Burma) wasn't an option either. It's a country run by the military. You could call it a dictatorship I guess. Anyways, some zones are off limits for travellers. So I would have to fly over those zones myself and have a soldier ride my bike through the jungle and pay for it of course. Also very expensive and … not an option. A 350kg tall bike through the jungle done by a 5 foot Asian guy who probably won't give a sh*t.
    So, a dead end really. There are options but I didn't know about any. And it was an uncomfortable feeling not knowing any. Anyways, more later. Gotta run…

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    #1
  2. yeuop

    yeuop Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    452
    I have a feeling you might have a lot of interesting things to say..
    and as a low budget traveller I am really interested in how you found jobs etc.
    good luck with your trip!!
    #2
  3. woods wizard

    woods wizard Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    898
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    Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
    Great start...more please.
    #3
  4. BeardThrone

    BeardThrone ...in bat country.

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa.
    I'm in!
    #4
  5. Ridesolo

    Ridesolo cereal lurker

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
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    166
    Location:
    Zambo.Peninsula
    Count me in.
    #5
  6. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
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    2,315
    Location:
    round the world
    :lurk
    #6
  7. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,907
    Location:
    :o)
    loved your youtube video. Hope to read more here
    #7
  8. KTM 950S

    KTM 950S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
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    112
    Location:
    Greece....
    i am really amazed from your adventure....i hope that u will have the best time of your life and enjoy every moment of it...
    :clap:clap:clap:clap
    #8
  9. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Hi you all, hope you had a great weekend. Thanks for your comments. Here the story continues…

    Ok, so I made it to India, not really knowing how to continue from there. By then, I had been on the road for over one year and my attitude has changed quite a bit already. So I was kinda groovy about the situation. I haven't always been this easy-going. Well, I'm German – not proud of it, but it says something about me – it tells you how I have grown up in an efficient, success-oriented, always-planning society. Before I went on this trip I would have gone nuts not having a plan or a way out. This is what I was taught growing up; Have a plan and work hard, otherwise you'll not get anywhere. And it was a tough, long and partially stressful transition until I realised: in this world (the adventure travelling world) I cannot plan meticulously in order to get somewhere. Just the opposite seems to be true. I came to the conclusion, that if I plan in advance, I am going to plan twice (at least) And that's frustrating. So I adapted a whole new approach to dealing with problems and challenges that came my way. But more about this later.

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    I'm just thinking about what key event helped me transform… I guess there must have been countless occasions where my expectations had nothing to do with reality, or in other words with what I really experienced and learned on the ground. Ultimately, this is what changed my point of view. However, a really good example would be traveling through Iran. Which I had done some month before. Just before I was to enter Iran, the elections were going on. The people of Iran were not happy with the outcome. They felt betrayed by the government and hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated on the streets of every major city. I sat in East Turkey reading online newspaper articles about how the military and police was arresting people by the thousands and occasionally shooting some to death. Journalists reporting about this were arrested and not heard off again. International journalists that were sent out of the country were the lucky ones. And I was facing this mess without an alternative route. I was especially concerned crossing the border since I was traveling with suspicious equipment such as laptop, camera, audio recording device and even a satellite modem… you know stuff I need for making the movie about the adventure. I was very anxious to be seen as some kind of reporter and get in trouble at the border. But my visas were about to expire so I had to go. I packed all my suspicious gear at the bottom of my bags. I hid my satellite modem in the bike, next to the battery, hoping that they would not find it and then approached the border. The next thing that happened was something I didn't expect. First, I was the only one crossing the border at that time. No one else around. I was greeted by the authorities who were very friendly, they helped me park the bike in the shade and offered me some tea on their couch. Then one guy took my passport and documents and ran it through the departments, collecting all necessary stamps. Then we had another cup of tea together and I was send off without anyone even looking at my bike or luggage. That was it! One of the easiest border crossing I ever had. Probably the second easiest one, right after the one of Malaysia. Entering Malaysia was so easy I didn't even have to get off the bike. It was like going through a toll-booth. But I'm getting off track. I spent a great deal of time in Iran, I travelled extensively in that country and I had a fantastic time. Yes the people are very unhappy with the policies of their government, but everyone I met was so hospitable and friendly and open-minded.

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    Okay I gotta run. Tomorrow more about Iran and how I got out of India. Cheers, Dan
    #9
  10. beluga

    beluga Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
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    54
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Good report, interested in the journey when you get in Malaysia. Following your report.
    #10
  11. NKOrange

    NKOrange Puny homer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
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    191
    Location:
    Flowing with it
    Your thoughts about planning reminded me of what Ted Simon was writing in his book. Something along the lines of "it is easy to do things, and much more difficult to contemplate them".

    Good stuff! Thanks and keep them coming.
    #11
  12. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
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    133
    Location:
    Brockville
    SUBSCRIBED :ear
    #12
  13. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Hi guys. Thanks for the comments. So where was I?

    Oh yes, I was trying to find a way to travel further East from India. Apart from what I learnt traveling in Iran, there were many more incidents, encounters and experiences that made me think in a whole new way. Especially travelling in Pakistan taught me a lot. But this is another thrill of a story. So having all the time in the world I contemplated about what I could do while in India until a solution to my dead-end-route problem would present itself.

    It was August and really, really hot. It was the time, just before the rain season kicked in. The air in New Delhi was so sticky and heavy it felt like an element that one had to fight through, simply in order to walk a straight line. It was so hot, that I preferred to ride with my helmet-visor closed. Riding at moderate speed, the airflow would not present a relief. Just the opposite, the airflow in my face felt like a hair-dryer at setting 3. If only the rain came. It's not a lot better with the rain, it's even more humid and sticky, but it does cool down a tiny bit. And over 45ºC / 113ºF, every degree counts. Apart from the climate there were other factors, such as the masses of people, the noise, the smell and the filth that made me wanna retreat from the city to a more idyllic place.

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    I seemed to be right in time to make use of the 4 months time window in which you can ride up to Northern India, Ladakh. Into the himalayas! I was very excited. The other 8 months of the year, the weather is way too unpredictable. I heard of an incident where 600 road construction workers got snowed in, in between two mountain passes and died. Apparently rescue helicopters can't fly at this altitude. So there was a risk to going up there… not only altitude sickness. I heard there are land slides all year round. Anyways I am very glad I went, because it was not only a highlight to go over the worlds highest motor-able mountain pass, but I also found a solution to my dead-end-route problem up there. Yesss, I found a solution to my very mundane, worldly problem amidst the Tibetan monks and Lamas. More later, gotta run now. Ok, this much, the solution came in the form of a big bright-red truck ;)

    Dan
    #13
  14. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
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    224
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I am very much in for this one!:clap
    #14
  15. Stuffyyff

    Stuffyyff Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Nové Město
    Can't wait for updates. Been to India many times, but Iran and Pakistan stories/ photos will be cool.
    #15
  16. MFS

    MFS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Prairies...
    Congrats on what seems to be an epic adventure that has left you in one piece! So far :evil

    Can't wait to hear the rest! Best of luck to you,

    MFS
    #16
  17. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Hy guys, I'm back on my computer and the story continues… This time – I promise –*I'm gonna find a way out of dead-end situation!

    I was one of the last travellers getting out of the Himalayan region for that season. It must have been late October, or even early November. The nights were already cold up there. Freezing cold to be honest. The days were still beautiful and enjoyable. There was barely a cloud on the sky and the sun got to warm up the town Leh, the biggest town in Ladakh. Leh is at about 3500 meters altitude (12.000 feet). Even many locals leave the area for the winter. I rode West towards Srinagar and it was presented with grand views along the way. A magnificent ride. Not much traffic at all. (About three vehicles a day passing) The road was challenging and fun, with all its potholes, landslides, cliffs, lack of tarmac, deep truck-tracks and countless twists, curves and turns. Just wonderful. The only worrying part of it was when I rode by a big yellow sign saying: "You are watched by the enemy – be careful" To interpret this correctly you need to know that the Pakistanis and the Indians have been fighting over this area for the last decades. It's the highest battle ground in the world. Many fights took place in hot spots higher than 18.000 feet. I'm not sure whether more soldiers were wounded by gun fire or injured by accidents and the cold. Anyways, I could be sure that the Pakistanis were looking down on me riding this road. And the Indians were so kind to let me know about it through their yellow sign. I guess the bike and I didn't make as much of a target as the Indian army trucks made. Long story short, I made it to Srinigar which is an amazing place. Another story… This is where I saw it. The big bright-red truck that was to make the difference. But I didn't know it yet. It was a fire-fighter truck with cross-country capabilities, converted into a RV. And it had German number plates on it. Imagine my surprise. I hadn't seen a fellow German in a long time. I stopped, I got off the bike, I walked around the truck and I knocked. Nothing! I knocked again. Nobody home. I left a note with my email address and the message to get in touch if they wanted under the window wiper.


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    Months later, I was sitting in Kathmandu, Nepal, working on job over the internet when I got an email from the big bright-red truck people. They were a couple and they seemed fun. They said in the email that they weren't gonna write because they thought I was well gone by the time they got my note, so why bother, but then…. they thought, why not…. since they were looking for other overland travellers to team up and share the cost of going through Tibet and China to reach South East Asia (where I wanted to go, but didn't know how). I thought about it for a momeYEESSSSSS I'M IN!!!!!!! What a wonderful thing. I could never have pulled it off by myself, but with the big bright-red truck people and another couple in a VW camper-van I could. We shared the cost for all the visas, permissions, documents, the mandatory 24/7 guide, the Chinese drivers licenses, number plates and everything. It was still hugely expensive and I put all I had on the table, but I found a way!!!! YEAH. The only thing left to worry about now was: How will I make it across the Himalayas in January? With the snow and all… The others were on 4 wheels, but I only had two and from experience, using the panniers as a third foot to stabilise, never happened with something getting ruined. Plus we were on a tight schedule, every day extra will cost extra. A lot! Well… it wasn't as easy as I thought. But more to this next time.
    #17
  18. imeny

    imeny Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Israel
    Hi Daniel, I am in :D. Great reports , I also comment on your vimeo video and suggest that you will add "Tip Jar" to the video, that way riders and other can tip your vudeo and send you a money. 10$ is waiting to you!


    Cheers

    Meny
    #18
  19. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Hi guys.

    You wouldn't believe how thrilled I was to be able to ride into South East Asia overland, on my own bike. And secondly I would be riding through Tibet as a bonus. I haven't dared to even dream about this. I've grown up behind the iron curtain in East Germany and the first 12 years of my life went by with me believing I won't ever be able to travel except across my own small country and a few neighbouring communist ones. When this all changed in 1989, I was not ready to grasp the newly gained possibilities right away. I guess it was a process and even when I was about to enter Tibet and ride the highest mountains in the world, this seemed like something that I was only watching in a movie. A movie which was secretly and unapprovedly brought to me while I couldn't go where the movie took place. But I was about to live this. I was so excited about it, I almost forgot about that it'll be January. And the Himalayas are high! Winter + High = Cold + Snow. I experimented with a bunch of ways to put snow chains or spikes onto my bike. Nothing would work. The resources available in Nepal were very limited. And the design of my bike didn't leave any space between the tire and the kardan swing arm to fit a DIY snow chain. I was NOT prepared for the worst. But I was hoping for the best and I would definitely take it as it comes. Little did I know, that apart from ice, snow and the freezing cold, I'd have to deal with something much more challening for this upcoming section of the journey.

    But before I get into this, first some pictures from lovely Nepal –*the base camp for the icy ride to come.

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    An Argentinian couple I met along the way. My own bike badly damaged by a ruthless Indian truck driver.

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    Soon to be continued.... Always happy about feedback. Till soon.
    #19
  20. Open-Explorers

    Open-Explorers Daniel R.

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Before I start writing about riding in Tibet where I faced great challenges apart from ice and snow, I'd like to go back and mention what this meant for me financially. As you know, I started this trip without any cash. All my savings (which wasn't a lot) went into paying for preparations (like bike modifications, visas, vaccinations, equipment and so on). So I started on a full tank of fuel and a full stomach… over a year ago. So every mile I covered I payed for with money I had made along the way. A great challenge at times. To be honest, I didn't know if that was possible at all. I just thought I'll try and see how far I'd get. Now, having made it to Nepal, made me a little proud of myself. Sure, I haven't always dined in 3 star restaurants –*actually I never have –*but my requirements were brought way down to the basics. I had reached a point where living cheap without any luxury but experiencing the thrill of this adventurous life was way more important to me than any mosquito-free, well air-conditioned, safe and clean but boring life.

    However, the trip through Tibet had to paid for. The documents, permits and 25/7 guide required by the government cost a huge chunk. And if I wanted to go over land, this group, this opportunity, the 'now' was my chance. And I took it regardless of the fact that I would come out broke the other end with no certainty of finding a way keep financing myself.

    Odd job: printing stickers

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    Odd job: Painting a bridge…

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    Oops, gotta run.
    This is only half of an entry. Will continue tonight. Promise.
    #20