I want to share a few issues I have been dealing with the last few days, and over the course of the last 35 days. Google maps is my help and hinderence. If it can’t plot a route, I can’t take it. Initially, I was rather naive in setting this rule, because I already wondered how I would get across the Pacific, which I will discuss nearer the time.
When I headed towards the Iran border, through Turkey, I had to research the most likely border crossing into Pakistan. [I have done this for every border along the way.] This threw up a number of issues, like, do I go through Afghanistan or not? Remember, as a virtual traveller, I can sample all of the history, culture, architecture etc., but avoid all of the problems of being shot, kidnapped or being blown up by a road bomb. I am a British citizen with a British passport, so I also consider what the British Foreign Office say for travellers, so missing out on Afghanistan made sense. There is only one official border crossing from Pakistan to India, so my route had to get me there. You may have followed my route into Nepal, which shows up the route issues I am starting to see.
I am now in india, about to pass into Bangladesh. I have already had to put some time into researching possible restrictions and routes in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China. Having my lovely camper is both good and bad, and I will explain these issues as we move on. Before Nepal, I only really plotted my next day. Nepal has taught me a good lesson, so I have now had to plot the next week or so, as Google maps only has very specific data on getting through to where I need to be.
One of the best sources of real information has been the many, many blogs I have read by people who have travelled these roads or crossed these borders, by foot, by bus, or by motorcycle. Something ‘European’ in me, assumed that you can go anywhere with a smile and a backpack. You can’t. If you are considering a real trip somewhere, and you live in a free country, do your research.