Taking on 42 countries and 6 continents in 15 months starting in my home country of Wales.
From Wales I will head through England to France, Belgium, Germany, Czech and then Poland. I don't intend on hanging around too long in any of these countries because of the cost involved. I hope to find some friendly sofa's to stay on to keep the costs down using this brilliant site - couchsurfing.com and of course a bit of camping (although even that is expensive in Europe). From Poland I will travel on to Slovakia where I plan on spending a few days checking out the country before I leave for Hungary then Romania, Bulgaria and finally over to Turkey. This leg will take me about a month. I will be avoiding all major roads and pottering along the back roads hoping to find some interesting people to talk to along the way.
Turkey holds a lot of interest for me as does Iran and so I intend on spending 3 weeks in each of these countries thoroughly checking them out and learning more about the real people rather than the hype we get on the telly! Iran particularly gets bad press. If it isn't rigged elections we are hearing about then it's the threat of nuclear weapons aimed at the West or being kidnapped by militants if we dare to step foot in the country.
On the other hand, if you look hard enough, you will find lots of counterbalancing tales from travellers who have had the most amazing time here with the welcoming people and the stunning countryside that makes up this interesting country. I know there are lots of human rights issues here that the Iranians are working hard to overcome, in their own way (not ours) and often at great personal risk but I for one can't wait to get there and I aim to avoid having my feet boiled in oil if at all possible!!Of course being a lone rider I will take precautions where possible but I refuse to be turned in to a paranoid wreck. I am sure that in the grand scheme of things, this country is safer than most western ones! I have faith in the kindness of strangers and my gut instincts.
From Iran I will head for UAE by boat and then hail a Dhow to take me over to India. This is quite possibly going to be one of the scariest driving sections of my trip. India is not known for it's road safety!! However, I am in no rush and I fully intend on taking my time, enjoying whatever sites and smells await me. This is the the beauty of travelling by motorbike! I hope to spend around a month here in India. It is the marmite of all the countries I think. I will either love it or hate it. Time will tell. Food should be fairly cheap here and I hope to learn a few recipes for my one pot cooking methods on the rest of my trip. I wonder if I am allowed to take spices out of the country??
From Burma I will head for Laos, down the silk route of Vietnam then Cambodia and finally Thailand for a full 3 months of pottering around this wonderful country, learning some more one pot recipes and meeting as many people as possible. I have been here twice before and I love the people and the place so I will feel at home here and cant wait to crack open my first Singha on arrival!!
Part two coming soon!