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Travel reports

The idea


October 2013. We were just on a domestic flight in the south of Indonesia. It was early morning, the sun was still very low and the morning mist hung over the valleys of the island of Java, as the plane started the descent. Only the peaks of numerous volcanoes, among them Kelud and Merapi, stuck out of the fog. Our 7-month journey through 10 countries in East and Southeast Asia was coming to its end. In one week, our next destination would be Australia.

While staring out of the window a thought came up: "Just imagine, we would take the car down there long". "... and then keep going to Germany!" Nadine answered.

The idea was born.

Then we started to imagine how it would be to take the car along the Indonesian volcanic belt, to squeeze ourselves through the streets of New Delhi, to see the deserts of the Middle East. We didn't come out of the swarms. However, in the consciousness after the past trip not to have the funds for such an undertaking, we rejected the idea quickly and focussed on Australia instead.
"Work and Travel" - coupled with the optimistic and friendly life mentality of the Australians ("no worries") attracts for many years already numerous travellers from around the world to come here. For us, it was the second year. And we had several ideas and plans for this time.
But while we brought the first 2000 km with our Mitsubishi behind us, the idea of ​​a journey "from here to home" was buzzing around in our heads again.

And so came the first research on such an enterprise, to get an idea about the feasibility and implementation of such a tour - at the beginning late in the evening in front of the laptop after the fourth glass of wine, with having the consciousness to have to get up again in six hours and wiggle to work - it was just "out of interest" ...

The first findings and travel reports from other people of similar trips motivated us to create a comprehensive task list, and financial planning.
In January Rudi and Gabi from Germany, two very experienced and passionate world travellers, visited us and we exchanged many thoughts and experiences. By the time we got to know new people who already undertook such or even much crazier trips. For us, a valuable source of information.

The plan

We first created a rough route plan in accordance with the motto "go on four wheels to Germany, get directly there, do not use any aircraft and do not consider any detours".

This created a route through 15 countries:
Australia – East Timor – Indonesia – Malaysia – Thailand – Myanmar – India – Pakistan – Iran – Turkey – Bulgaria – Serbia – Hungary – Slovakia – Czech Republic – Germany

World map with route
Approximate route

All in all, about 25000 km on the wheels + shipping.
For regions in three countries, the website of the German Department for Foreign Affairs gave travel warnings which read like 'You have to be totally insane to drive only in the near'. Awesome ...

We furthermore realised: despite the remarkable number of countries we would have to traverse, we would need a visa for only five of them. Good news! That's the theory. But the fact of planning to travel to these countries by car should move the whole thing in a different light later.

Meanwhile it became February and our everyday life only consisted of work, planning the trip and sleeping. Every day after work, we saw ourselves dealing with questions like:

Can we save enough money to actually start (and finish) this journey?
What equipment do we need?
Do we create a website? How should it look like?
How do manage to get all the necessary visas?
Which insurances do we need?
Will the remaining empty pages in our passports be enough for the trip? (Never thought to actually have to deal with such a question...)
What the hell is a ‚Carnet de Passage‘ and where do we get it from?
And the most important question: how shall we find the time to still go to work whilst doing all this planning?

The weeks went by in a flash. In the middle of April we finally came to the decision: we do it! We were happy and could not wait to finally start.

We continued working on a salad farm in the south of Victoria until the middle of May and planned the tour in our free time. A first major "acquisition" was the 'Carnet de Passage'. This is a (rather expensive) document, which can be considered as a 'passport for the car'. It saves you from customs duties at borders and in general is mandatory in most countries.

Our 'balance sheet' and findings until now:

  • 1 website will be created: catastrophic, still under construction, only 40% done, not to mention the content
  • 2 renewed health insurance
  • 1 Carnet de Passage obtained
  • > 150 E-Mails sent to lots of different authorities and institutions worldwide, most of them caused headaches instead of "Aha" effects
  • about 200 new grey hairs for Enrico
  • some headache pills less in the backpack
  • approximately 300 l of used fuel, without even having started the trip
  • almost the same amount of alcohol consumed to help making frustrations bearable caused by the preparations ;)
  • car: completely overhauled (at least one of us is ready for the trip...)
  • got most of the necessary equipment
  • shipping from Darwin to Dili (East Timor) organised
  • Findings:
    1. 2 countries whose visas are difficult to organize (Pakistan and Iran)
    2. greatest difficulty: the crossing of Myanmar
    3. a new place to go to: Canberra, home of all embassies in Australia relevant for us

Special case: Myanmar   Myanmar

During our preparations and research, we have found that it is very difficult to cross Myanmar by car. Still many regions in the country are restricted to foreigners and the government charges exorbitant fees for entry / transit with a private vehicle. Visa and Carnet are not sufficient in principle.
Foreigners travelling with their own cars have to be under the constant guidance and support of local licensed guides in the country. And the prices of these guides are based on the size of the tour group. The more vehicles, the cheaper it will be per vehicle. Solo travellers would have to pay likely the same money as for a two-week Caribbean holiday - or even more! After successfully contacting a tour guide recommended from other travellers, we are still faced with the problem to find other people who want to join the tour. We look forward to gain further information and help in the Myanmar embassy in Canberra.