There's a lot of preparation needed for long term travel. It's not just a holiday, it's a new life. The first task is to quit your job, then you're three quarters of the way to leaving. The other quarter is figuring out where you want to go and how you're going to get there. I had my vague plans of heading eastwards through Russia, down through Mongolia and China to South East Asia and towards Australia.
I sat at lunchtimes in my car, sifting through the lonely planet guide book for Russia making detailed plans of where I was going to stay and what I was going to see but soon came to the conclusion this was not the right way to go about things. I decided I was going to book travel tickets up until Yekaterinburg, the edge of the European continent, and hostels along the way and from then on, where I was going was a mystery to me.
As I was leaving later in the year as originally planned due to being best man at my friend's wedding in October, I decided to skip the overland from Norwich to Tallinn as the winter was rapidly approaching and I had Siberia to get through. So I booked a flight and my friend Matt was going to join me on my first few days. I could have waited for spring, but 'the time for living is now', a phrase which became my motto during my trip. Who knows what might have happened to stop me from leaving. The date was set. 14 November 2010.
The night before I left, I went for a meal with my family. It's a strange feeling saying goodbye for an undetermined length of time. Not knowing where or when you will see them again. My mum contests I strongly stipulated I'd only be gone for 1 year. But unbeknown to both of us, the next time I'd step foot on British soil would be over 2 years later.
This travel series will be a recount of Andy's Epic Voyage on the ten year anniversary of a trip which changed my life and to some extent, has still not reached its end.