One year has passed since we left Latvia on 15th September 2014 and now, 15th September 2015 we are in Thailand, 7900km away from home.
We have crossed 12 countries, had 2 bicycles stolen and got 2 another bicycles in their place. Each of our passports has been supplemented with 8 glued visas and 28 border control stamps.
So, where do we spend our nights?
- 141 nights with 24 Couchsurfing hosts;
- 70 nights out camping;
- 43 “One Nights” in Bangkok;
- 6 nights in trains;
- 3 nights in hotels (courtesy of our CS hosts);
- 2 nights in buses;
- 1 night in: a furniture shop; a Baptist church; a Buddhist temple; a cave; inside a train station; outside a train station; sea port; China Tobacco factory; a town hall meeting room; a truck; a ship.
In addition to CS hosts, we have also to say thanks to many random local people who have just invited us to their homes and shared a part of their lives with us. We have not paid for accommodation a single time.
How have we commuted?
- 8900km by trains;
- 6600km by bicycle;
- 1800km by bus;
- 1400km by hitchhiking;
- 900km by bicycle/hitchhiking (after the bicycle theft);
- 500km by boat.
Highest altitude we’ve cycled in – 3260m asl, lowest – 27m below mean sea level.
As you all already know, our destination is 18000km away from our homes. But we are still 10500km away from Pitt Island. However, despite the fact that, mathematically speaking we are not yet halfway there, that does not mean that we will be on the road for another year. We have covered most of the overland part and most of the distance left is occupied by water.
The exact route and timespan of the way that lies in front of us is unclear, as always – that is partly why it makes this adventure “the road less traveled to the place furthest away”. We also have to take into consideration that the probability of needing to take a flight at some point is quite big and can only be evaded completely if we get extremely lucky (or rich but that is the same).
All in all, wishful thinking, we hope to spend Christmas and celebrate the New Year in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, to clear your head from all these numbers, we present to you the summary of our adventure so far visually, in form of these 13 pictures, each representing one of the months we have spent wandering the world.
September 15th 2014, Riga Central Railway Station. Three ordinary friends with a passion for extraordinary embark on an epic journey!
But was this day really about them – that is – us? Maybe it was about the people who did not get on that train, about those who were left standing there on the platform. Our families, friends. They are not just bystanders they are an inseparable part of this journey. When we start to doubt ourselves, they do not. Without them, we wouldn’t be on that train, without them we wouldn’t be at all. The biggest thanks to them!
October. We, the three self-made adventurers, visit Ukraine and Moldova, basically, we are just cycling around a bit, first month into our trip, we don’t really have the feeling that we are really away somewhere, and that we will be on the road for a long time.
November 1st we entered Crimea. Everyone kept warning us that we shouldn’t go there, it is so dangerous and so on, and so on. None of that. Although, we got two of our bicycles stolen. Not that it is related to the situation in Crimea anyhow, but that was the first real obstacle we encountered on our way. A bit short of two months in our “big cycling adventure”, and we lose our bicycles after having cycled only around mere 1000km on them.
But we kept calm and moved on – by hitchhiking and cycling on the bicycle that was left.
We arrived in Tbilisi in November but we really arrived in Tbilisi in December. Basically, we settled in – made friends, looked for jobs, we even filmed in a music video of Georgian superstar Bera. We were living the Georgian dream.
The first Christmas away from our families (not for Laura though) were spent in the warm, cozy and very Latvian atmosphere of Explore Outdoor apartment, which was also our home for a while.
January was spent in Tbilisi, working, partying, singing karaoke, meeting friends (even one parent) who came visiting from Latvia and friends that Tbilisi brought us together with. We sold tea on the street, organized a story evening, but most importantly, the New Year brought us two new bicycles. Dainis got his new horse on 14th and Laura her Unicorn on 18th January.
We have the bikes, the road is calling us! February was the time to say goodbye to all the wonderful people we met in Tbilisi. The feeling was similar to that in September.
And off we rode towards Armenia, towards Yerevan, over the picturesque mountains of Lesser Caucasus.
March was rich with new impressions, stunning landscapes and likeminded people we met on the road. From the ever-radiant Victoria’s International Palace in Yerevan, to all the hospitable Armenian people on the road, everyone kept welcoming us and treating us with delicious food.
In the end of month we fully submerged in the rich culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran – completely new and unknown world was unraveling before us.
April. Endless struggle to get visas sorted for the next part of our journey. The incredible Iranian hospitality always provided comfort after the madness of Iranian bureaucracy. We also had a 4th member in our team for a while – Le Magnificent Maxime Bodar.
Cycling through the most beautiful landscapes of Iran, waving goodbye to the Iranian hospitality, quickly rushing through Azerbaijan, boarding a ferry to cross the Caspian Sea and embarking on the longest train ride of our lives so far – May summarized. For a month we returned to the post-Soviet world in Kazakhstan. Even cut our hair to blend in.
It was June. We were cycling in a hot weather. No one, not even the Kazakh nomads who herd horses in the Asy plateau could predict that after the weather shown in the picture, they will wake up in the middle of snowstorm in the very next morning. Could you?
The mountains proved to be incredibly challenging yet rewarding. Despite bicycle problems, we finally reached China. Well, first Xinyang – the land of Uyghurs, then inland China.
So it happened that during the hottest period of the year we were cycling through SE Asia. Endless filtration of water, witnessing monsoon landslides on the roads of China and Laos. Same as roads, sometimes our bodies tried to tell us that this season is too much for them. Nevertheless, we made it to the temples of Luang Prabang, expats in Vientiane and finally to The Kingdom of Thailand, all in July.
One Night in Bangkok. Then another. In total, we have spent 43 nights in this never-sleeping metropolis. No one planned that this will continue for so long. We even started to go to gym. To balance out the overall laziness, I guess. We could also excuse ourselves, stating that the new crowdfunding campaign we were working on took much more time than expected, which it did; but we still spent too much time just sitting and sleeping around.
It is September again. We don’t know what lies in front of us. We know that we need to reach Malaysia on 25th but after that, well… It will be October already :). Fingers crossed that the Monsoon takes it easy on us – sometimes it looks awfully dreadful.