My name is Dan, I’m a
28 29 year old guy from London in the UK, who, having got out of university with a highly relevant Medieval History degree, went on to work for the rail industry in the UK, where some of the equipment dates back only slightly less than the Magna Carta.
However, 6 years later, having suffered from itchy feet ever since I started working for them, and after trying out several foot creams without much success, finally quit my job to hit the road in early 2014…
The What, where and why…
Several people, particularly my mum, might be interested in what exactly my plan is, and why I’m doing what I’m doing. I tried writing a traditional style page explaining my rational, but I wasn’t very good about keeping it structured and so it wasn’t the most straight forward thing in the world to follow. So I’ve adopted a new way of getting a structured approach that has the added benefit of making me feel self-important. I have answered below a number of interview style questions that I cleverly asked myself. Hopefully they go some way to explaining what I’m doing, where I’m going and why. If you still feel none the wiser, feel free to ask me a question of your own. Although your questions probably won’t be as good as mine.
UPDATE – I wrote a separate blog post here in September marking the 6th month point of my trip, and now as I tip over towards what I think is the halfway point of my trip, I thought I should probably update this page directly – as some of the answers no longer make much sense. Updates are in italics.
Q. Hi, I’m Daniel, who are you?
A. Hi! I’m also called Daniel, what a tremendous coincidence! I’m a 28 year old British guy who’s spent the last 5 years working in the UK rail industry, mostly in the north of England.
Alas, time marches on – I am now 29
Q. Sounds fun, why did you give it up?
A. There are several main reasons, for one, I felt I was getting to the stage where I didn’t feel like I was learning anything new and wanted a new challenge. I had also been constantly battling the urge to run of travelling again pretty much since I first started and occasional visits to Hull no longer felt exotic enough. In the end the two things collided and I ended up taking the view that there wasn’t likely to be a better time than the present to go off and try to have a bit of an adventure.
I am definitely having an adventure.
Q. So you’ve done a bit of travelling before then?
A. Yup, although nothing really serious in recent years, previously I have backpacked in Morocco for a few weeks, a whistle stop 4 week tour of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina with friends and 7 weeks solo in the Middle East. Managed to fit in the odd quick bit of backpacking in Europe as well.
Q. So what’s the plan this time? Where are you headed, how long do you think you will be?
A. The plan is fairly “loose” but broadly speaking could be summarised as trying to get from the UK to Japan and back, going out via Turkey and Central Asia and getting back via Russia, Ukraine and the rest of Europe. Oh and I don’t plan to catch any planes.
Some big changes here – I am no longer looking at turning around when I get to Japan. In fact I have booked a space on a freighter ship heading to Mexico in March. The plan is now to circumnavigate the globe. Oh and still no planes allowed.
Q. You’re not flying? How are you going to travel then!
A. Contrary to some suggestions, I’m not going to try anything crazy like just walking the whole way. Instead I will just be jumping on trains, busses and taxis. And in very limited circumstances I might find myself on a plane – for example if I find myself unable to get a Chinese visa in Central Asia I may decided to just fly to Hong Kong, and I’m also keeping an eye out on the situation in Burma. As I understand it, currently if I wanted to visit Burma I would have to fly in rather than use a land boarder.
Q. Hang on – how are you going to get across the water to Japan? Swim?
A. Believe it or not ferries run between China and S. Korea and between Korea and Japan and Russia – so it should be doable without the need to get my speedos out….
Which is a very good thing given my poor track record in water….
Q. So what’s the reason then? How come no flying?
A. Good question. There are three main reasons:
1. First – because flying is a terrible way to travel, its loud, its claustrophobic, expensive and if you are lucky enough to get a window seat, all you are likely to see for most of the journey is clouds.
2. Secondly – because whilst I’m ok with the idea of the actual flying bit, I do have a small but terrifying fear of a horrifying fiery crash on either the take-off or landing part. I’ve got it into my head that I only have a set number of goes before I will get caught up in one, so therefore where possible I avoid flying. Of course coaches, trains and all other forms of travel can go fatally wrong, but they tend to involve lower amounts of highly explosive jet fuel….
3. Thirdly (and most importantly) – because whilst flying is fast, and gets you to your destination quickly, I’m not actually sure I want to go to Japan. I’m more interested in the countries in between, in the journey itself, so therefore I’m in no rush. I reckon the whole thing will take about a year.
Q. Hang on, you don’t actually want to go to Japan? Why are you bothering then!
A. Ok that is a good point, its not that I don’t like Japan, its just as a holiday destination it has never really appealed to me. I’m not a sushi fan, never had a tamagotchi and the internet seems to suggest they are all obsessed with cartoons, some of which are disturbing. Very disturbing….
But then half the fun of travelling is going outside your comfort zone, to somewhere really new and different, and Japan definitely looks different…
Q. Are you travelling on your own?
A. Yup. This is largely due to the fact that, scandalously, none of my freinds have places like Turkmenistan on their travel “to do” list, and also because previous experience of travelling with friends has tended to end in lots of shouting, and scurrilous accusations that I drink too much… I’ve done solo travel before and its definitely harder to fall out with yourself then fellow travel companions. That said I always find it quite difficult not to feel like a bit of a bell-end when I end up eating in restaurants alone…
I’m sure I will end up joining up with fellow travellers on parts of the journey though.
I have met loads of awesome people from all walks of life on this trip – as one Dutch traveller put it to me – “we might travel solo – but we almost never travel alone.”
Q. What does someone travelling for a year pack?
A. Another excellent question. Hopefully I will have written a separate post saying just that on this link here. Otherwise you’ll just have to guess. Or Google for one of the millions of other packing lists.
Q. What made you decide to write a blog?
A. If Facebook has taught us anything about life in the 21st Century, it’s that there is no point in doing or experiencing anything, be it weddings, babies, new cars, holidays or just what you had for lunch, unless you can the show off and boast about it to your friends.
This blog is a result of this same rather self-aggrandising need to update you on everything I’m doing.
I’m also mildly hopeful that given I think I’m going to some interesting places, it might actually be an interesting read. I’m also keen to try to build a platform of followers in the event that I end up needing to start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a kidnappers’ ransom fee….. (please give generously)
I am now also driven by a pointless desire to see the hit count for the blog slowly trickle up.
Q. The name of this blog is a bit rubbish…
A. Er well I couldn’t come up with a better one, my brother suggested this one…
Time has come to show that whilst my brothers suggestion is quite a good play on words if you are from the UK and familiar with the “No Fly Tipping” signs often seen around the countryside (meaning no illegal dumping of rubbish/refuse) it really doesn’t translate across to any other country. Naming my blog just brings confused faces and forces me into a needlessly long explanation of it.
Q. So finally, what do you think you will miss most?
A. To be honest I’m not sure. I guess it will be my friends. Well either them or my Xbox…
I miss Walls Feast Ice creams. Can’t get them anywhere
Any questions I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.