I've been working on the route on and off since March last year, and the journey made by the #Live2Drive team in 2017 and the route they blazed through especially in China has been pivotal to my plans. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Terence and Stephen on separate occasions, and the stories they shared personally and on the videos below by Sam and Rene aka the amazing 24 Hour Travellers have been absolutely invaluable. I know I will be standing on their shoulders, or rather driving on the paths laid by them, when I start.
For more videos on how to make a unique, epic life that is less ordinary, head on to Sam & Rene's channel here - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVAG2MKff48_Rhb22tNErUQ
So subject to the borders reopening especially for China and Russia, the general route for Chapter 1 is as follows. Of course I foresee meanderings and unplanned stops along the way, but hey, that's what makes it interesting innit? KL to Bangkok: 1,585 km
Countries: Malaysia, Thailand.
Bangkok to Boten Border Crossing / Mohan, China: 1,679 km
Countries: Thailand, Laos.
Mohan, Dali, Chengdu, Xian, China: 3,153 km
Xian, Beijing, Erenhot: 1,925 km
Erenhot / Zamiin-Udd, Ulaanbataar, Irkutsk, Nizhny Ingash: 2,476 km
Countries: Mongolia, Russia
Nizhny Ingash to Ufa: 3,066 km
Ufa, Kazan, Moscow: 1,374 km
Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ivangorod / Narva, Estonia: 946 km
Countries: Russia, Estonia
Narva, Tartu, Riga, Ventspils: 1,024 km
Countries: Estonia, Latvia.
Ventspils, Klaipeda, Kaunas, Warsaw: 1,085 km
Countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland.
Warsaw, Kraków, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Mannheim: 2,003 km
Countries: Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany.
Mannheim, Frankfurt, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Douains: 1,140 km
Countries: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France.
Douains, Rouen, Calais, Dover: 361 km
Countries: France, UK.
Total distance (before jalan-jalan here and there): 21,817km
+ 20% for explorations, detours, last-minute changes in plans: 26,000km
Period: 9+3 months
Start date: 4.4.2022
Bangkok, Thailand - 2nd week of April: Songkran Festival
Ulaanbataar, Mongolia - 1st week of July: Nadaam Festival
Munich, Germany - 3rd week of September: Oktoberfest
Paris, France - 3rd week of December: Christmas
The key timing consideration is the Schengen Visa - I can only stay in the Schengen Area (most EU countries and some non-EU countries) for only 90 days out of any 180-day period, and the only countries around that are not in the Schengen area are the UK (Brexited! Yay!), Serbia, Romania, Bosnia and Croatia, and of course the North African countries.
I will hatch my Schengen escape plans as I get closer. But first, most important of all and most expensive of all, is driving into and through China.
The journey will take me into the first quarter of 2023, either in the UK (winter sucks I hear) or Morocco.
We shall see.
In the meantime, tons left to get sorted including:
Ensuring OLFAC3 Perfumes is in a good place as my communications may be sporadic once I start moving.
Clearing up the house, repairing it and putting it out for rental.
Selling and giving away all the stuff I don't need, and storing the essentials that I would like to keep.
Finishing my swimming lessons
Finishing my Muay Thai classes
Taking my motorcycle license
Learning car repairs and maintenance 101
Contacting Kia international for service centres along my route
Informing Putrajaya of my plans
Full-body health check
Finishing up my physiotherapy sessions
Sorting out visas and travel insurance
Finishing up the internal build
Installing the roof rack, box and solar panels for the minivan
Changing the tyres, brakes, full-service and getting spare parts for the road
Stress-testing the minivan and the internal build
Weigh balancing and fine-tuning the minivan
Final selection of the few shirts, pants, shoes, jackets and essentials I will bring
Stock up on antibiotics, medicine, first aid and emergency stuff I might need on the round.
The actual list is 3-5 times the above, but I'll sort them out one by one as they come to mind.
78 days left.
2022 is going to be interesting.
Chapter 2 in 2023 will be Spain, Portugal, South of France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Iran.
Chapter 3 in 2023/2024 might be US and Canada, South America or Africa. Here's to staying alive and in relatively good health and shape till then. Yeah.