A trip like this is (unfortunately) more than just deciding to go and hitting the road; a lot of practical issues have had to be solved to be able to make an idea a reality. This is the longest trip we've planned in terms of distance and time, and it's especially complicated because we have to get ourselves from A to B (and to C, D, E... Z, AA, AB...) with all our gear in tow. We still have just over a month until departure, so over the next few posts we'd like explain what we've done so far.
For the past four months, Nate has been in the US spending time with his family after completing his Fulbright in Jingdezhen; meanwhile, Jieming has been in China, having left his job mid-March to spend time between Beijing and Shanghai planning the trip full-time. The time difference makes planning a bit more complicated, but we have settled into a comfortable routine where one of us works during the day while the other sleeps; in the time we overlap we're able to catch up on WeChat (a chat app) so that the other can take over and continue working. In this way, we've more or less been able to work on this project 24/7.
The planning process may seem overwhelming at times
(it definitely has for us), but having a general guideline has helped us know what needs to get done. We're still smoothing out some practicalities, but so far we have
identified four tentative phases:
- Daydreaming: decide where we want to go and why, draw straight lines across the world on Google Earth
Start-up capital & sponsorship: this
trip will cost quite a lot of money, both during prep and execution, and we talked to many people about sponsorship in funds and equipment. This stage also included building a realistic
budget and an accurate gear list – an abstract task for an extended ride (and we’d like to thank other long-distance riders, Martin Bredeli and Christof Lahner, for their invaluable help)
Practical preparations: visas, motorcycle
paperwork, equipment, getting better at repairing bikes, changing spare parts, and modifying them to make them do what we want
- Charity and further sponsorship: we would like to raise awareness for a cause or causes, and are considering several foundations
In our pre-departure posts, we want to be able to provide a general overview of our preparation process to better inform those who are curious about what it takes to put together a trip like this. Stay tuned for more updates!