It has been great to meet so many people who are interested in my trip and have offered ideas and suggestions, given advise and sage wisdom, all of this has been appreciated. However, the one question that I do get asked the most is "when are you going". Some people believe that it's a bit like deciding to drive to Greece and all I need to do is get in my car and go.
Regrettably the reality is that in order to do this trip well there are not only a lot of things that I need but many things that also need to be organised. I am conscious that I have not yet found any other woman who has undertaken this journey on this route on her own. There are a number of men who have undertaken it and some couples but I've yet to find a woman who has done it. So I am trying to ensure that I not only succeed but perhaps inspire other women who would like to undertake an adventure such as this.
So the planning has begun and the journey may take up to 6 months so I need to be sure of a number of things, including my own safety.
Thus I thought I would share with you the Things that need to be done before I can establish a date.
- Money - nothing much happens without it regrettably. Earning and raising enough money to undertake the trip has become a biggie. There is one thing that can put you off doing a thing entirely and that is budgeting. The cost of the trip has expanded exponentially since my first announcement as I have gained clarity and seen the errors in my initial plans. As such I have been heartened by the people who have chosen to support me and I am truly grateful for such kindness and encouragement. The budget also keeps changing regularly.
- Sponsorship - I'm not really very good at asking for things, so having to ask for support to make this project happen is a bit daunting. Writing proposals, getting information, finding the right people to connect with and having meetings, etc. all takes time. This is all still very much in progress at the moment.
- Vehicle - I am planning to devote an entire blog on this as soon as I feel I have a handle on it. However, when I started off I was looking at a very affordable second hand camper, then came the information about some of the roads and I realised that I would be better off with a 4x4 vehicle (this more than doubled the cost and the complications). So now looking at a 4x4 there are a number of options, at least less than a camper but coming to understand the features and failings of each type has been an interesting part of my personal development! This item alone is taking the most time and money but as it will be my home and how I do the trip the choice needs to be made carefully.
- Charity - I'm not a fame chaser but I have realised that the attention I am getting on this is something that I can use to shine a light on a worthy cause or two. As such I am in the process of talking to organisations to understand which align with my personal values and I feel can truly make a difference. Seems easy but it surely isn't so many worthwhile causes and how to choose!
- Bureaucracy - it makes the world go round and no place less so than in Africa, most of the countries will need visas and these are generally only valid for 30 days. Then the complication sets in of where to apply (some allow purchase at the border others have to be done from embassies), what paperwork is needed, is it possible to have flexible entry dates (information to date suggests not!) and of course the fees (each on average is about $100). Then there is the insurance, banking, business, etc that all needs to also be planned and organised.
- Weather - another thing that needs to be taken into consideration as I will be travelling from Northern hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere with the middle seeming to be hot all the time. I have been cautioned to try to avoid the rain season (roads aren't great and they can turn into rivers or mud slides) but this is proving difficult as there is rain somewhere and predicting which time of the year is taking some research too.
- Driving - I'm a pretty good driver, I've only had one accident in 36 years of driving and the previous time a drunk walked in front of my car in the darkest of night, so I don't consider that I was at fault (entirely). I've also driven vehicles big and small but I'm not acquainted with 4x4 driving and I've decided it would be a good idea to do an advanced 4x4 driving course before I go ... just to be sure.
I think you're getting the picture that this is going to be quite a lot of planning and working out the dependancies of one action upon another. So the short answer the the question of 'when are you going?' is ... I'm not sure but I'm planning on first half of 2017.
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Until next time ...