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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Open-Explorers, Nov 2, 2012.
Schreib bitte ein bisschen weiter.
I'm in :)
Hey guys. How are you all?
I get asked on a regular bases, 'how did you do it, how have you been finding jobs along the way?' Looking back it's a mystery even to myself. At the journey's beginning I easily became nervous every time I ran low on money. Well, I was always low on money. I mean I got nervous when I run below $120 dollars. Later, years into the journey, it would still happen, I'd still get into over-draft on my bank account, without knowing where my next job will be. But I wasn't worried about it so much. Something always came up and often in last minute. And I think the system I developed came out of necessity. I never said 'no'. First because I had to and later because I realised that something good always comes from saying 'yes'. So in the beginning, if someone offered me $3 dollars for washing dishes for an entire day, I'd say yes because I had no other option. Later I'd do it because I knew, something else would come out of it. For example I would meet the chef while washing dishes, he appreciates my work and let's me mow his lawn for $10. His neighbour would then ask me to throw his son's toy back over the fence. I'll make him curious because of my foreign look and sound, we get to talk and I end up working in his company as a well paid photographer for a while. Hah! I am off again with enough cash that keeps me going for a couple of months. So it was saying 'yes' all the time, even if that meant doing lots of crap for next to no reward and networking. I tried to get in touch with people who could make use of my skills way before I arrived at a place. I'd send emails, tell people about what I'm doing, share stories and when I arrived there was no job! Almost always. BUT, I already knew people and the process of finding work was hugely sped up by that. There was one other thing that helped. More soon
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Let the People Speak and be heard and we will find peace.
Looking good and looking forward to more. Excellent photography by the way.
The other thing that helped me score jobs especially better paid jobs was the internet. Of course, extensive networking was only possible because of the internet, but the opportunities to work over the internet was a real blessing. I acknowledged, that I could easily and without signing any paperwork, work on a rice field for as long as I wanted. And this would feed me. But this would not provide any chances of saving up some money which could then be used to travel any further. So, working was possible in all kinds of countries, but not very helpful in terms of making progress with my journey. Working over the internet, building websites for example was a great way of earning a decent amount of cash. However, it wasn't as easy as it might seem. Nobody would ever hire me before he/she has met me. I think this is a trust thing and very human. So only clients that I have met in person and ideally worked for before, would not mind trusting me with a job despite the fact that I was sitting in a hammock on a beach with a straw hat on. Well, often they didn't know any details about my current office, only that I was halfway around the world in a foreign place. All in all I loved it, although I never was successful enough to make any excess money so I could maybe update serious parts of my equipment. But that was ok, I loved the lifestyle and the freedom that came with it was way more important the feeling of security. I even managed to pay for this trip through China. As I was writing about before, Tibet was one of the highlights on my journey. But also a proper challenge.
On Christmas eve I rode from Kathmandu to the border with China. The big bright-red truck and the camper-van were already waiting there. It was late at night and nobody was on the streets anymore. Only a couple of homeless kids that made themselves a fire with the plastic rubbish that was lying on the streets. The border-town is very small, only a few lights lit the one street which led straight to an iron gate with the Chinese flag on it. There were a bunch of trucks lined up, waiting to cross in the morning. I was lucky to find a place to stay for the night. A lady let me stay in a run-down guesthouse and even prepped some instant noodles for me. The interior lights of the big bright-red truck and the camper-van was already off, so I would not meet my fellow travellers until the next morning. I gave the homeless kids some cookies and snacks in exchange for a huge smile. What a Christmas eve! Pretty awful if I look at it now. But back then I was filled with so much excitement and positive anticipation about what was to come and what I was going to see in Tibet, that this didn't feel anything short of a proper Christmas eve with family and friends. The border crossing the next
well, wasn't as expected. But more soon
In. I also must comment that you seem to have a practiced photographic eye.
Thanks slide, I do my best.
Always find a reason to say 'yes'.
Too cool - ride on.
I got up early in the morning. My travel companions and I haven't yet talked about when to cross the border, but I didn't wanna start off by holding them back. The air was clear and the border-town streets were more lively than when I arrived, although not by much. The iron gate to China was still closed, but some of the trucks had their engine already running and queued up in anticipation. I packed everything on my bike and I had a quick breakfast while keeping an eye out for my new friends.
"You have to wait until 11am before you can cross" said the Nepalese customs officer. The others groaned. "How can this be? 5 hours to kill
Is there no other way?" My traveller friends were not happy. Admittedly, we had a tight schedule in Tibet. Along the route, we were supposed to report on all checkpoints on certain dates. If we were late, we would get into trouble. This could mean hefty fines. But I thought 5 hours won't make the difference. If I had known what obstacles would lie ahead and how they would set us back, maybe I wouldn't have been so relaxed about it. I invited the the Nepalese customs officer for a cup of coffee and talked to him about the weather for a while. He was very friendly. And I don't know why, but suddenly he let us pass the border without the wait. Maybe the coffee was so bad, he didn't want to get offered another one. My traveller friends were happy about this and congratulated me on my strategy. I never told them that this wasn't a strategy, I just wanted to share a cuppa with the guy.
Our joy about not having wasted time lasted not very long. At the Chinese side, we were told to wait again. "Technical Problems" they explained. We spend almost the entire day in no-mans-land between Nepal and China. Five in the afternoon the Chinese guide was let through to us and we could get the border crossing sorted. Yeah, we are in Tibet! We covered about 30km and the sun was about to set when we came to a road barrier. "Road constructions". This time we got no explanation by anyone. The workers played some board game in their shed and used their hands to mime us "Chill out, wait an indefinite amount of time and use it to do what you like." It must have been past midnight until the first trucks came through from the others side. By then I had already gone for a wander to see what's going on. The road construction must have caused a landslide and a bulldozer was trying to clear it. They only managed one lane in the 'shortness' of time. It took a long time until the train of trucks coming from the other side trickled out and we were allowed to go. The first day of our Tibet expedition started early, lasted way past midnight, included a whole lot of waiting and brought us not farther than 50km in total. Ok, this needed to improve, otherwise we'd get in a lot of trouble.
For a long time I hadn't had to be concerned about time or deal with a concrete schedule. But when travelling through Tibet with your own vehicle, the money you pay to the Chinese government for permits and all, determines how much time you get to play with. Apart from falling behind in our schedule we had another problem. We would be travelling at high altitude for a while. And to prevent altitude sickness, which is not something you should take too lightly, we were supposed to adjust slowly. Going up maybe 1500 - 2000 meters in a few hours and then going down again wasn't so much a problem. But if you spend a few hours up at these heights, or even spend the night, this can kill you. I think there is a rule of thumb. I'm not entirely sure, but it's something like: "Don't sleep more than 800 meters higher than the night before." Obviously this only applies above 3500m / 11500feet. No problem if you sleep at the beach and then go up 1500m / 5000feet.
Due to our setback in time, we couldn't make the stops as planned. Some days we would cross a number of high mountain passes and when stopping at the peak, taking pictures for a few minutes made us realize pretty quickly you start to feel light-headed and soon start to feel sick. It's like when your whole body hates you. The a quick descent into the next valley would immeditately help. We knew however, that further East of Lhasa, we wouldn't have opportunity of going down again for a while. We would be riding / driving at 14000 feet and higher for over a week with no way down. And this is when I got food poisoning from something I ate
This is the first "Ride Report" that I've been hooded into reading. Great write up and pictures. I can't wait to hear more!!!
I got hatted myself.
Now *that's* a journey.
having traveled alot and been in some good and bad situations I am so in for this. Are you doing the movie in two halfs?
intense....following along....thank you for the amazing story and pics thus far.
Hi guys, thanks for your encouraging feedback. I'm sorry I've been absent for a while *I went to Milan to attend the EICMA. I helped out friends at MOTOinfinito and represented the Ted Simon Foundation. It's been great, but exhausting too.
@Reidy008: Yep, I'm going to do it in two parts.
Our guide was a very nice and kind young man. He tried everything he could to make this part of our journeys as enjoyable as possible for us. I never found out how he got to the Nepali border to meet us and I don't know how he got to wherever he had to go after he wished us farewell at the border of Laos at the end. He just appeared and disappeared. And in between, he had this smile on his face. He either ride in the camper-van or the truck. All he had for luggage was a small daypack and a sleeping bag tied on top of it.
The larger the group, the bigger the chances of someone having some troubles with something. Over 12.000 feet, the camper-van's injection pump was playing up wildly. In the cold, the truck's diesel filter would clog from the lousy fuel that we got in Nepal. After the cold nights, my bike would only start after the camping stove warmed up the engine block for half an hour. In addition, we poured boiling water over the cylinders. Some of us would suffer from altitude sickness more than others, but we all agreed, most challenging was getting good food in these remote areas. We always had to go into the kitchen and point at things. Not only because of the language barrier, but also because we wanted to avoid eating rat.
Sometimes we wouldn't make the checkpoint. This one day, the camper-van stopped working altogether and we had to fix it. This also meant spending the night in between places. It might not look it, but the 4-wheelers are pretty crammed with equipment for their long journeys. So there was just enough space for me to fit in the truck with the others for the night. Our guide however, didn't pull out a 2 square-meter heated, survival capsule out of his daypack. We explained to him, that we are stuck and we don't know where he can spend the night.
I don't really know how he did it. But he stayed cool until way after dark. At some stage he just jumped onto this one military truck that came by (the only other vehicle we had seen the second half of that day) and waved at us. I'm not sure where they let him sleep, but he was back the next morning before we were all ready to drive on. And he still had this smile on his face. Amazing guy. Amazing Tibetan guy.