Archive for February, 2010

Visas, Sponsors, Friendicoes etc.

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

We wrote our last blog in december. I am glad to say that since then things are going as planned. First and foremost well done to Pooja for clearing her driving test; that is a big weight off my shoulders because now she can share the driving with me. We have received our visa for Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The process for these visas was very simple. All we needed were invitation letters from a local travel agency in these countries. Once we got the invitation letters, we went to the consulate with other documents (application forms, photos and fees) and in a few days got the visas stamped. For all Central Asian countries we are using a company called Advantour. They have provided us with invitation letters for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and are also booking accommodation for us in these countries.

In Kyrgyzstan, we have also booked a second car with an english speaking guide and driver to help us get around the country. Normally, i wouldn’t like to hire a second car because the whole idea is to drive by ourselves throughout. The sense of adventure and the memorable experiences that we can get by travelling alone would be totally different compared to driving with someone who will not be sharing our passion. Having said that, due to concerns about safety raised by family and also due to language issues in some remote parts of Kyrgyzstan, we think it is wise to have some help at hand.

We have applied for the carnet de Passage and will get that in March. Permits for China and Tibet have also been applied. However, that is delayed by a few weeks due to the Chinese New Year season this Feb.

We are trying hard to get some sponsorship to help us fund the journey. We spent a lot of time last month preparing a presentation and a sponsorship proposal. We received our first sponsor Stanfords (stanfords.co.uk) who have provided us with guide books and maps for the journey. Also, a Jeep dealer in London has offered to service our car and teach us how to fix basic issues on the road if the Jeep breaks down. Believe me, finding sponsors is not an easy task. Hopefully, we will be able to get some funding too before the journey begins.

We have also decided to raise money for an animal charity in India called Friendicoes. They do a fantastic job at rescuing and taking care of stray dogs and other neglected animals in India. I think that nothing can be more special than going on your dream journey and at the same time, raising awareness to help prevent cruelty towards animals.

The journey is all we talk about now. Whether we are sitting at home, out for a meal or even on the phone, it is the only thing we do. There are a million things still to be taken care of. Getting the jeep serviced, learning to fix the car if it breaks down, buying the essentials for the car such as a roofbox, a car stereo that will play our ipod and mp3s, portable appliances to cook food, portable fridge, chargers for all electronics, first aid kit, jerry cans for fuel and many many more. Please do let us know if something useful comes to your mind.

We have bought a digital bridge camera – a Panasonic Lumix FZ38 with extra batteries, extra memory, car charger and a tripod. We also want to record the entire journey on video. I am thinking of fixing a video camera cradle on the front dash to record while driving. We will also do video diaries whenever we get time and will of course try our best to capture all interesting bits that we encounter.

That’s all the update I have so far. I will be going for visas for Ukraine, Kazakhstan and China in the coming weeks. Will keep you updated on our progress.

Thanks for reading!

Tushar