Friday, 14 November 2014

Four years ago today...

Tallinn, November 2010

Four years ago today I stepped onto, and subsequently off, an aircraft which took me to the beginning point of my epic voyage across the world; Estonia.  It’s rather difficult express the feelings flooding through me on that day.  It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement.  I was excited that I was finally jumping off that ledge I’d wanted to jump off for a while, excited about all the places I was going to see and all the people I was going to meet and nervous because I had no idea where I was going, who I was going to meet and whether I’d land safely on my feet.  I had no way of knowing over the following eight months I was going to travel 24,000km from Tallinn to Singapore using only buses, trains, cars, bikes and ferries, travel through fourteen countries, meet some most fascinating and fantastic people and see places that you wouldn’t believe.  
Elephant sanctuary, Thailand

I won’t lie to you, although the idea of travelling solo has always been appealing to me, I was worried that I wouldn’t meet anybody and I would end up a lonely soul traipsing around the globe.  My good friend Matt began the journey with me.  He flew with me to Tallinn and spent the first few days with me until I got on that first of many bus journeys which took me into Russia and began truly travelling by myself.  Out of the first eight months, I only spent a maximum of one week alone.  There is always someone to talk to, someone to travel with and plenty of people to drink with.  The freedom of travelling solo is unparalleled.  You can choose your path you desire, choose the people you want to travel with.  I honestly met so many brilliant people along the way who became friends.
New Norfolk, Tasmania

Even though travelling from Estonia to Singapore overland was the most adventurous and challenging part of my trip, it only marked the first of three separate parts.  The second part was the completely unplanned Australian adventure.  I thought I’d only be in Perth for three months, enough time to meet the Australian part of my family and replenish my bank account for the onward trip.  It turned out to be a year and a half.  

I’ll sum up the Australian part in some bullet points.  I should catch up on these missing blog posts.

  • Arrived
  • Met family
  • Worked for Health Corporate Network in Perth
  • Travelled
  • Worked on an apple orchard in Tasmania
  • Travelled
  • Worked on a dairy farm in Victoria
  • Travelled
  • Worked for Health Corporate Network in Perth
  • Travelled
  • Left
    Me, Mike and Tanwyn in Tasmania

The third part of my journey was homeward bound and took me one of the most interesting countries I’ve been to; Burma.  Again I should publish my memories of this trip too.

It was two years, one month and one week before I returned to British soil.  I find it difficult to formulate a response when people ask me about the trip as it cannot be summed up into a simple paragraph.  There were many ups and inevitably a few downs but every second was worth it. 

As it's coming up to Christmas, I'll share this one - Making of the Christmas video
The journey, the people I met, the things I saw, the experiences I had are too numerous and some I fear cannot simply be transferred by language.  I tend to keep quiet too as I don’t want to be that person who starts any conversation with ‘That reminds me of the time when I was in such and such place…’ 
Here are some rough distances.

Part I:    Andy’s Epic Voyage: Tallinn to Singapore            = 24,000km
Part II:   Awesome Australian Adventure                          = 12,400km
Part III: Myanmar                                                            = 1, 500km
Total of overland journeys                                                = 37,900km (23,500 miles)
Total distance in the air                                                     = 30,500km
Total distance covered                                                     = 68,400km (42,500 miles)

I’ll leave you with this.  The world is a wonderful planet filled with kind-hearted people to meet and spectacular places to see.  If you want to see it, go for it!