On our blog you can read a lot of articles about our travels and adventures. We like to share our experience. But even more we like to talk about other people and share their stories.
Today we are publishing story of Harijs and Karina. After few weeks, at the end of April 2015, they will start their 1 year long journey across Eastern Europe, Balkans, Caucasus and Asia. Let’s wish them luck!
– Please, tell us a little bit about yourselves!
We’re just two regular white collar people who happened to get married on the eve of last year. Since our wedding coincided with very busy periods in both of our jobs, we didn’t really get a chance to have a proper honeymoon. So we postponed it to exactly half a year after the day.
During initial planning and calculating we figured that this is a perfect chance to fulfill our lifelong dream – travel the world for a year.
– When did you start to dream about long term traveling?
It seems that every person at least once in their life has thought of such a possibility – just let everything go and relax. So, yeah, basically the idea, dream or whatever you could call it, was always there, but just on a level of a dream, nothing more.
Five years ago, when we met each other, we started to talk about our common dream as something that would be achievable, that we would definitely do it some day. But again – it was still more of a dream than a plan.
Since we got together, we’ve spent each and every holiday away from home – travelling. The legislation in Latvia grants only 4 weeks of paid vacation every year, and at some point these four weeks were not enough anymore.
At our wedding we asked our guests to chip in for our honeymoon trip instead of bringing presents. Afterwards we did some calculations of the acquired funds and our savings – and decided that if we’re going to be really careful with our spendings we could pull off a year away from home.
– How often did you go on trips before? Where have you been?
Last several years we have been using up all of our free days for travelling. If there’s a long weekend because of national holiday or something else, we would go on a mini trip around Latvia or neighbouring countries, but every year we tried to go to at least three bigger trips abroad.
Together we have travelled to most of the Europe. We also have been to China, Morocco and Georgia. 24 countries in total. Each on our own we’ve been in even more countries before that.
– How do you plan to travel? Which transportation you will use?
Our Honey-year, as we like to call it, we plan to divide into two parts. In the first part we’ll be travelling through Eastern Europe, Balkan countries, Caucasus and Turkey with our van. For this time it will be not only form of transportation, but also our accommodation, kitchen, everything. We’ve customized it a bit so it would fit our needs and become a mid-term home.
The second part of our trip will start in Iran. And because of some bureaucratic limitations we will not be able to enter this country with our vehicle. So some good friends will fly out to Turkey, pick up our van and safely take it home. From this point on we’ll be backpacking, using public transportation, hitchhiking, etc.
– What are the main things you will need to take with you?
During the first part of our trip we’ll be splurging – we’re taking a whole bunch of stuff with us, like blenders and stoves, folding table, chairs, a decent sized hygiene bag, etc.
After, when we will turn into backpackers, we’ll have just a regular travel backpack each and that’s it. The most important thing will be good hiking shoes and a good quality backpack. Everything else is just details.
– What do you still need to do / finish / arrange before you go?
The most complicated part was to get the needed papers for the car and Visas for Pakistan and Iran. Car papers are ready now.
We’re still waiting for information about or Visas from Embassy of Pakistan in Poland. And also for authorization codes for Iranian Visa, which we’ll need to collect in Turkey.
Other than that, it’s just minor, but still important things like vaccinations, doing last checkups on our and our van’s health, getting all the paperwork ready, etc, etc. We’re getting old, so we can’t just get up and go away, we like to plan. Also, we’re both still wrapping up things in our dayjobs, and that takes most of our time.
– Please name the countries you plan to visit during your trip!
Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Transnistria (some consider it an independent nation, so why not mention it), Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzogovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia.
And if we’re really lucky, then hopefully we will go to Australia, too. Of course, some changes may happen and we may not visit some of the mentioned countries. As you can’t predict everything and there’s a lot of place for mishaps in such a long-term plan.
– Is there any country which frightens you more than others?
Since we have not been in most of the countries we plan to visit, we only have the idea of them from books, online forums, comments from friends, etc. So I think saying this or that country is dangerous would be just a wildly uneducated guess.
Bearing that in mind – I would say India is the country which I would expect most of the troubles from. On the other hand – what frightens us the most is the bureaucracy and corruption of officials, which could potentially mess up our plans more than real life dangers like assaults and robberies.
Experience suggests that in most of the world people are willing to go out of their way to help friendly travelers. So I think we will be pretty safe.
– Is there any country from your list you want to see more than others?
For me (Harijs) it’s almost all of the countries that I really, really want to visit. If I would really have to highlight some of them, I’d say Montenegro, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos… and the list goes on, so, yeah, I can’t really choose one or few countries. I want to experience them all.
As for Karīna – when travelling she mostly looks for traditional cuisines and beauty of nature, so she puts the accents more on regions, not countries, because most of the neighbouring countries are pretty much alike. And as for regions – every region we will go through is interesting for her.
– Your advice to people in doubts – to go or not to go on a long term travel?
I can’t advise people in general, everyone has their own values and limits of their comfort zone, so it wouldn’t be right to say that all people should travel.
What I do know though is that only when you step out of those limits, the real hidden you comes out in a light and only then one can learn much more about themselves and people around.
Follow their adventure on Karijs.lv. The blog is in Latvian. If you don’t understand Latvian, you always can understand the photos, ha.
All pictures used in the article are from Harijs’s and Karina’s personal archive.
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.