Fifteen months ago, my wife Sheena and I quit our jobs to drive around the world in our Volkswagen van, "Nacho". The idea was borne of an unsettling feeling of complacency, and a festering itch for adventure.
Over the first year of our journey we drove from our home in Arizona to the southern tip of Argentina. We passed through otherworldly landscapes; the tallest mountains in the Western Hemisphere to the driest place on Earth; from jungles to high plains; past oceans and lakes and rivers. We endured dozens of mechanical problems. Failed wheel bearings. Failed brakes. Failed transmission. But we made it.
We wrote a book about our southerly journey, and are preparing to release it in the coming weeks. We document our continued adventures in a travel blog at drivenachodrive.com.
After we completed our South American drive, we drove to Buenos Aires and loaded Nacho on a container ship bound for Malaysia. We flew to Kuala Lumpur and took delivery of Nacho, and are now exploring Southeast Asia. This is just the start to the next big leg of our trip.
We would like to drive from Laos into China, cut into Tibet, and drive through to Nepal. We want to cross India and Sri Lanka, and then return to Tibet, after which we'll cross the Central Asian republics along the ancient Silk Road. Our Silk Road journey will come to an end in Istanbul, Turkey.
Our goal is to publish a travel adventure book about our drive across Asia along the ancient Silk Road in a Volkswagen van.
The book will be published as an eBook and paperback, with an anticipated release date of December 1, 2014.
Read an example of my writing here >>
We appreciate your support, and have chosen what we think are some really genuine rewards to show our thanks.
For our entry level support level, we'll send you a digital copy of the book, while the next level gains the personal touch of a postcard from the Silk Road. At higher levels, we add further personal touch by letting you interact with us on the trip; you can tell us places you'd like for us to go, activities you'd like for us to include in our adventure, and we'll even bring things back for you from our trip!
Any money that we make above and beyond our fundraising goals will be pumped back into our adventure to make it richer and more fulfilling. With a trip like this, we've found that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
Read our rewards section for a full listing of compensation for our supporters.
Where will the funding go?
$17,535 Fees for entering China, paid directly to tour company
$1,980 Guide's Food and accommodation for 66 days
$3,700 Fulfillment of rewards
$2,387 Kickstarter and Amazon fees
Any additional funds raised will be put back into our trip
Before we started this adventure, we prepared financially for this trip the old fashioned way: saving up our money. We summarized our savings plan here. We saved enough for a three year overland circumnavigation of the globe. We knew that crossing China would be too expensive for us, so it wasn't ever in the cards.
Now that we've arrived at China's doorstep, however, we thought China and the Silk Road would be great story to tell. It would be a tale of a rapidly modernizing and shifting China, a post-9/11 journey along the hippie trail, and a peek inside the lesser traveled old Soviet Republics. But there was still the issue of China and the cost.
China has funny laws regarding foreign-owned vehicles wanting to enter their country. In order to enter China, we'll be required to register our car there, get a Chinese driver's license and license plates, obtain numerous local travel permits, and hire a government-approved Chinese guide to accompany us in our vehicle for the whole trip. And we will have to pay for all of his food and lodging.
From a company that provides these services, we received a quote for the total cost of entering China twice to complete our proposed route. The expected cost is over $20,000. We will continue to pay for all other travel related expenses; our Kickstarter project will only fund our ability to cross China.
Since we never intended to drive through China, we didn't include it in our trip budget. But the ability to cross China will enable us to have a once in a lifetime driving experience along an ancient trade route. A journey worthy of being written about.
Help us tell the story.
Risks and challenges
There are obvious risks associated with a married couple traveling for years on end in the tiny confines of a 30 year old van through rough terrain and third world countries. But there are also risks out of our control. As an investor in our project, you should be comfortable with these - particularly those involving travel permissions.
Asia's border policies are ever-shifting. Currently, Myanmar's border is closed. It's virtually impossible to enter Pakistan, and even tougher for Americans to obtain permission to enter Iran. If politics shift and prohibit our entry into China on either our first or second entry, we may be forced to choose another route. It all depends on political whims. Part of the adventure is not knowing what's in store.
So as a worst case scenario, our Silk Road adventure could turn into the Road of Bones adventure, or the Middle Eastern adventure. But one thing is for sure: it will be an adventure!
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