Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adventure with a Capital 'A'

Tom has been diligently fulfilling his duty as chief navigation officer. Our original route was designed to meet several criteria including, speed, places we’d never seen, minimal border crossings, and road quality (the last being a key determinant of speed). Based on this, our route originally took us from Prague, across Poland, through Latvia, Lithuania and on into Russia towards Moscow. The long stretch of road that is the Trans-Siberian Highway would have predictably dropped us at the doors of Mongolia in about two and a half to three weeks. Predictably and, as it now turns out, boringly. Tom’s reassessment of the route, based on his cognitive acceptance of the reality of the venture, led him back to its real purpose which is, aside from fundraising, Adventure - with a capital ‘A’. His new plan will generally meet most of our original criteria, but is more 'A'dventuresome. We’ll now likely pass through Slovakia, Hungary, Romania Moldova (complete with freedom fighters), the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, in addition to Russia and Mongolia. The visa requirements are no more onerous and the roads not much worse, and the mere sound of these places is intriguing. Indeed, at a recent dinner I was led to believe by a trusted source that Slovenia is a very cool place indeed, but since Slovenia is so far out of our way we're unlikely to visit it (thanks Google Maps). I have also been told that it can be emotionally stressful flying through countries without stopping long enough to sip the culture. There is so much to see in this part of the world that drive by tourism can never do it justice - we will just have to return.

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