It has been quite a while since I updated this site. Bad blogger! Although I have been traveling, I have written little and then only on Facebook. The ease of use with Facebook corrupted me and my audience had been limited. Time to change that.
I have been planning my next adventure, which is to go around the world using only ground transportation. I call this trip my RTWSA or “Round The World Sans Areoplane.” That is, I will only use ships, trains, buses and my own feet. The idea has been percolating for around six years. Serious planning started spring 2016 when I researched freighter cruise sources. After many hours of internet browsing, I settled on the Maris Freighter Cruise company and selected a ship leaving California in November and arriving a month later in Singapore. I reserved and paid for my ticket before leaving on my two-month Australian adventure (posts on that to come.) While in Australia, I read about the bankruptcy filing for the Hanjin shipping line – the ship I had book passage on.
Fortunately, my reservation dollars were safe with Maris and after exchanging several emails on my options, I chose a new route on the French line, CMA CGM. My new passage is booked from Seattle to Port Kelang Malaysia with stops in Russia for fuel and in China and Vietnam to swap cargo containers. The ship is named “Titus” and is a Super Max container ship, so it will be huge!
In November I arranged my multi-entry visas for Russia, China and Vietnam, using the VisaHQ.com service. The process was pretty easy and involved filling out forms online, uploading photos and document scans, sending my passport via FedEx and paying $911 for the visa fees, processing and shipping. Done in less than 3 weeks with email notifications throughout the process. Thanks VisaHQ!
In December, I received my official ticket and final instructions from Maris. I have been mentally packing and filling in the details of the trip. I bought a new pair of hiking shoes, more comfortable than I had before. There is a lot of walking planned for 2017. I have also arranged for my first train ride from Portland to Seattle and a hotel for the night before I board the ship. I also purchased two Eurail tickets for when I get to Europe. I have a 10-day in two-month pass, which I will use first for Eastern Europe. Additionally, I got a 5-day in one month pass for getting from Italy to Portugal, where I will begin my Camino de Portuguese.
It is now nine days until I get on the train for my first stage. I have visas, travel vaccinations, good walking shoes, layers for the cold weather of the North Pacific, just enough travel underwear, electronics loaded with books and videos and a mental map of my route. I also got a map to leave at home with the route mapped out for my family to follow. In my next post I will lay out my planned route.
Remaining items are: updating passwords, actual packing, practice walking with the full backpack and clearing out my room so that it can be used as a guest room or storage. The countdown begins!