How do you come up with your route? – this is probably the single most important question when it comes to walking.
So where do you get started?
First we need to get a world map, and figure out some fun places we might want to check out on our way. For me, it’s always been about two historical cities, a set of magical names echoing through the millenia: Samarkand and Istanbul.
Whenever I was feeling weak, or my head was hanging low, I would humm the name “Samarkand” to myself – the pearl of the Ancient Silk Road, the birthplace of the stories of 1001 Nights. Always enough to cheer me up.
You see, it doesn’t matter if you are ever going to actually make it to any of those places. You need to dream.
1) Get educated – buy travel guides, go to your local library and get a bunch of resources on all the places you might come through, copy any kind of map you can get your hands on, and do some extensive research on the Internet.
2) Work your government – get online and check out any safety-warnings concerning the places you might visit. Don’t go anywhere near an area with an official safety-warning! Send E-mails to your own embassies in the countries that make up your route. Bug them with safety questions, ask them about anything that you weren’t able to extract from your other resources. Most of the government officials are going to be very helpful and friendly about your inquiries, and I personally think that they are rather trustworthy.
3) Check out Google Earth – I highly recommend this for any kind of outdoor activity. You need to get a more specific idea about the areas you’re planning to visit, so instead of using only regular maps, I think it’s a good idea to check out the satellite pictures and the photography uploaded by other people on panoramio.
What are some of the main concerns about the route?
Well first of all, we want to stay away from warzones and places with a high level of civil unrest. Once we have figured out a route where we are unlikely to get killed or kidnapped, then we are facing the second most important issue: visa problems – some countries are very restrictive, and we might not be allowed to walk around as much as we like. The third problem is about the natural surroundings: how cold does it get in the winter, how hot in the summer? How long is the road between two places, where can we fill up on water and food? Are we willing to walk through sandstorms if we must? Are there dangerous animals around? This goes especially for areas where we’re going to camp out!
Do you work out a very detailed plan, or do you just float around wherever you feel like it?
Here’s a list of the kilometers I did on my walking days:
I think it is not very practical to make a highly specific plan for a route this long. It wouldn’t be that much fun anyway. So what I do is I start out with some relatively large cities, serving as general waypoints, and then I make up the in-betweens once I get there. It is very important to listen to the local people and remain flexible in one’s own planning. There are so many places to be missed out on if we choose to always stick to a fixed plan!
Again, walking should be fun.
And we need to dream.
Soundtrack: Sefyu – “Bollos”Print This Post