July 9, 2013

Almost ready to go…

Time flies and it’s now only 4 days to go, are you nervous?, have you got everything ready?, will you keep us updated?, and more importantly, will Chupi join you this time?

Over the last few days some of you have asked a number of very interesting questions that I’m sure have also crossed other people’s minds. Here is my Top-5 in no specific order (please click “Read More…” to see all the questions and answers):

1- I visited your Blog but could not find much information about the trip or how to receive updates, can you help? ( old blog )

Sure!. When you enter into the blog you should see a screen that looks pretty much like this:

Blogscreenshot

In the above picture I have highlighted in red the different sections where you can learn more about the trip, myself or why I’m doing it (see top), and the “Follow” menu that will allow you to enter your email address to receive an update each time I post something new (see bottom right)

Is there anything else that you’d like to know and is not there yet?, at the bottom of the page you’ll find a “Contact Me” form:

Contact Me Form

2- How often will you update the Blog?

I will try to send a small update every day or two, and a longer post whenever something relevant happens (eg. me being held hostage in a castle in Transylvania and needing you to send some garlic cloves). From a certain point along the route (I’m willing to bet no further than Ukraine) I’ll stop having regular access to a computer and will be forced to limit updates to a daily Twitter message, which I’m being told can be done by SMS. You can follow me in @cabaoth or in the front page of the Blog (bottom left-hand corner)

3- How is the fundraising effort going?

At the time of writing this post contributions for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity totaled a jaw dropping £1,500 (3x the target amount) and those for Cool Earth £458 (91% of the target amount). Thank you very very much for all the generous donations, you guys rock!.

The fundraising will remain open until I’m back and I’m currently working on a couple of leads that should hopefully allow me to announce an even greater collection soon. Please keep supporting these two great causes and watch this space for more info.

4- How does one prepare for this kind of trip, what are you taking with you, and have you got everything ready?

Hey, that’s 3 in 1!!! OK let me tackle them one by one…

Preparation: while leaving all to fate may be a bit reckless, a millimetric preparation of this trip would remove big part of the fun (can I do this?, will I live to the challenge or sob like a baby girl when in trouble?…). So what have I done?

  • First draft of the route (as per the “About” section) subject to changes on the move
  • Updated the TomTom and bought maps (yes, paper ones!) for Kazakhstan and Mongolia
  • Obtained visas for Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia
  • Booked hotels/youth hostels up to Ukraine
  • Bought a tent to be able to camp “in the middle of nowhere”, and tricked some friends into learning how to put it up

Tent test

The equipment: what would you take with you if you knew you can breakdown in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the nearest village, and it may tak a few hours before someone passes by?. Here is what I’m planning to carry (I hope nothing essential is missing).

 

In the car (from left to right): spare battery, heavy duty duct tape, spare can of oil, self inflating mat and camping tent, 15l water deposit, towing rope, two replacement windscreen wipers, a spare air filter, spare engine and fan belts, 20l petrol jerrycan + funnel, hazard signals, 2 spare wheels, heavy duty globes, a spare radiator, a full set of light bulbs, a breathalyzer (thanks to the French!) and an umbrella (thanks to the English!) Fiat trunk
equipment Other things I should remember to take along (from upper left-hand corner to bottom right-hand corner) are: trip documentation including vehicle registration and insurance paperwork, passport with visas, Secret Santa’s gift encouraging me to take party in the rally (how could I say no to Santa?), maps of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, compass, hat for the sun, sleeping bag, secret wallet, water purifying droplets, water flask, gas cooker and canister, headlamp, camping chair to watch beautiful sunrise and sunsets in the wilderness (thanks Secret Santa!), and a first aid kit.

 

Readiness: Other than ordering currency and recording some music CDs for the trip we are good to go!!!

(I can already hear my mom “you don’t have any currency yet???” :-) )

5- Will Chupi be joining you?

For those of you who still don’t know him Chupi Potxoki is the adventurer smurf that has travelled around the world with me and my friends for the last 5 years. Unlike other “friends”, as soon as he found out a new adventure was brewing he called and asked if he could join; knowing how much he enjoys travelling and meeting new people it was an offer hard to refuse.

Chupi

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