How does someone come up with all that?
29.07.2013 27 °C
This is my first attempt at regular blogging in years, on occasion of the most extensive and most exciting trip of my life to date. The whole thing started out like this:
1) One day, back in September, I looked up at the world scratch map poster on my bedroom wall and thought to myself, "Wow. Russia and China are pretty huge. Wouldn't it be nice to scratch all that off?" Thus an idea was born.
2) No, really. That’s what gave me the idea. MAPS, PEOPLE. Turns out, they work. Even Seth Cohen recommends them: “Maybe there's someplace you'll want to go. It's pretty good for ideas.” (I’ll try to get over the fact that I just quoted The O.C. in my first blog entry. THIS IS GOING WELL.)
3) The actual inspiration for this trip came from a half-forgotten childhood memory of one of my favourite books: Die Suche nach den sieben Schwestern - apparently available in English as The Search for the Seven Sisters - in which a girl with big blond hair (i.e. me, obvs) and her little blond brother (i.e. my little blond brother) spend their summer holidays on a round-the-world trip with their grandmother, looking for her seven lost sisters. They go on the Transsiberian Railway between Tina (who is in China, which rhymes in German, JSYK) and Olga (in the land of the Volga) in an awesome, double-sided spread. Needless to say, I immediately got a second-hand copy of the book on the net, and, to be honest, if you're not doing the same thing right now, I don't know what's wrong with you. It's round-the-world trip shenanigans, for kids, with bonus Where's-Waldo action, and a truly groovy grandma who has a guitar-shaped swimming pool and a dog named Kumquat. (I shit you not.)
4) The idea proved pretty persistent, and, at some point, started to take shape. Whenever I have to really study for an exam, I like to spend my breaks planning hypothetical trips. I find it cathartic. Whatever floats your boat!
5) After deciding to do the Transsib, I realised my plans so far extended to Beijing and no further. When I asked myself what part of China I'd really like to see if I could, the instant answer was Tibet. Not gonna lie, this might also go back to a distant memory of watching [i]Seven Years in Tibet when I was probably around twelve years old. (I am very susceptible to media, as it turns out.) I still kind of love that film, though that might be because I first watched it in German, which means I didn't have to suffer through Brad Pitt's atrocious accent.
6) After spending a few minutes laughing at myself for that idea, I turned to google, and as it turns out, travelling to Tibet is not actually the same as travelling to North Korea (though it's not free and easy by any definition).
So here I am, nine months later and quite a few Euros shorter, eagerly anticipating the trip that will take me from St. Petersburg to Beijing by way of Mongolia on the Vodkatrain, on a few more ridiculously cheap trains through China to Xining, on the highest railroad in the world to Tibet, through the Tibetan plateau to Everest Base Camp (because WHY NOT), and finally to Kathmandu, Nepal, for a couple of days and a flight homewards.
(Here's why this trip is sort of amazing: A year ago, I would've said I had zero interest in Asia. Nada. Can totally wait until after I've done, like, Australia and New Zealand, or Iceland, or Europe the second time around. Enter the scratch map. I guess this is one of those instances where I say something sage like, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans," except a LOT of planning actually went into this, because travel planning is AWESOME.
Right now the Great Visa Struggle is over and done with (DUN DUN DUNNNNNN), and I finally have a few days after a very busy July to finish my travel preparations and hopefully learn Cyrillic.
Wish me luck, you guys, and stay tuned for a couple more pre-departure posts!