The most common question I was asked before starting my journey was about my plans. My answer was I have no idea, I choose not to choose. I was sure about Transsib-Mongolia-China, but the rest was up in the air. Frankly I did not have any longterm plans, but I had hazy ideas. However due their haziness, I preferred not to share them with anyone and seeing that most of them have not realized I am glad I did not. The initial idea was to go everywhere – Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea, Japan, all over South East Asia, Tibet, Nepal, India, Middle East, Eastern Europe and so on. Eight-nine months is such a long time after all provided I wanted to go back before summer. Upon arrival to China in November, I realized that going to South Korea and Japan was not feasible due time and money constraints. After Hong Kong, I became glad I did not go to Japan, as Hong Kong’s high price level was painful enough after a month in China. I can only imagine what Japan would feel like.
After South Korea and Japan fell out of the picture, the idea was to do South East Asia, then go back to China and continue to Nepal and India via Tibet. And then to go back home somehow by land in the beginning of June just in time to attend a wedding and a birthday bonanza. The next few realizations were that a) Tibet is not a pleasant nor easy place to visit due all the government restrictions b) I got my dose of India in Malaysia c) I have not got simply enough time for India. India is way too massive to be crammed in such a short period of time. So India, Nepal and Tibet are out as well.
The next idea was born around January and involved to go from Singapore to Helsinki by land via China, Kazakhstan, other Stans and Russia. A beautiful idea in itself: Helsinki – Hong Kong by land on my way to East and Singapore – Helsinki by land on my way back. But the devil was in details. I still had a second entry Chinese visa still at that point, but I slowly came to realization that I would not make it to China before the deadline of the visa in March. What I did not take into account is that I had spent way too much time on Thailand’s beaches (no regrets whatsoever) and had little desire to go to Kazakhstan after the easy-going life of a beach-bum. You do countries like Kazakhstan before coming to Thailand not vice versa. Plus time constraints again, two and half months is just such a short period of time for all those countries. During my last visit in Bangkok, I made one more cut to my travel agenda: no China, no Stans, no going home by land. Just South-East Asia for the rest of the journey and flying back home just in time before summer festivities. That settled my return plans and I am flying home out of Bangkok via Berlin on 2nd of June. Ticket booked. Finnish summer here I come.
And one final touch, I met Noora and Ilmari today for the first time in six months and realized that we had booked the same flight to Helsinki. Life truly has its own bizarre way of making surprises.