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Trip Overview
'Round The World, 2000-2001

Background

The idea of taking a year off to travel the world has been a dream of mine for many years, ever since my first ever travel experience in '95. My original intent was to take a continuous year of time off traveling, but relationships, weddings, social activities, passport issues, tenacious computer bugs, and a nastly onslaught of sloth resulted in me spending much of my first year in San Francisco. As a result, my travels will extend well into 2001.

This trip is much more a pilgrimage than a vacation. I'm not traveling to get tanned and rested. I'm traveling to find something, some part of me that somehow got lost or buried in ten years of obsessive working, serial monogomous relationships, and compulsive self flagellation. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but then if I did, I wouldn't need to go searching. To read more about my thoughts on travel, read my travel philosophy musings.

Latin America by Bike and Bus
Feb. - June 00

The first leg of my trip, now complete, involved biking and busing my way through Latin America, traveling from Baja, California, Mexico down to southern Bolivia. During the four months of my trip, I biked about 2300 miles and traveled on more overnight bus trips than I can count. For a detailed description of this leg, including bike statistics, country ratings, and highlights and lowlights, see my summary report.

Europe by Train
Oct. - Nov. 00

The second leg of my trip, scheduled for Oct/Nov 2000, involves a "quick pass" through southern Europe. Having spent many months traveling the world, yet only four days total on the European continent, I decided that at least a cursory pass was in order. I am keeping this segment short, since Europe is both expensive and not exactly high on the adventure travel scale. I plan on spending a month or so there, starting in Madrid and working my way through southern France, Italy, and Greece as I work my way to Africa. As with previous trips, I hope to do much of the trip by land, most likely via train. I opted against buying a Eurail pass, since at $900/month, it can hardly be considered a bargain for us "over 26" travelers.

East Africa
Approx. Nov. 00 - Jan. 01

Africa has always intrigued me, yet I have never set foot there. This travel leg aims to remedy that. I plan on flying into Nairobi, then traveling by land down to near Victoria Falls. While I have a great desire to see animals, I really have no desire to pay a fortune to be pampered on safari with a bunch of other Westerners who have flown out just for the occasion, so I will play things by ear.

My travels will likely take me through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. I won't make the final decisions until the last minute, based on the current political realities. I also intent to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, weather and finances permitting.

Asia by Motorcycle
Approx. Feb. - July 01

My extensive biking travels have prompted a curiousity in motorcycle travels. While not quite as up close and personal and bicycling, it also allows me to move quicker, allowing me to focus less on the day to day physical challenge of bicycling and more on the places I am visiting. Never having done more than short trips by motorcycle before, I am interested to try out this exciting travel mode.

The plan is to start in the Middle East somewhere, perhaps Cairo, and work my way across Asia. I will buy the bike once I am there, and once I have an idea of what bikes are available. If you have any suggestions on a brand/model, please send me mail. Currently, I hope to travel through Israel (although I need to be very careful with paperwork if I ever hope to enter a Muslim country,) Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and China. I'm not sure where I will end the trip. I also hope to visit the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, although most likely not by motorcycle.

Copyright 2000 Peter Birch All Rights Reserved.