I think I probably missed out some pretty obvious bits from my first post.
How about, where I'm going... skipping the bit about Paris for an hour, Freiburg for three days, Berlin for a night, it's lining up to be:
Russia >> Mongolia >> China >> Korea >> Japan >> China again >> Australia >> New Zealand >> Cook Islands (hey, I can dream) >> and then home, somehow.
I've got 6 1/2 months to do this. The deadline, and there's always a bloody deadline isn't there, is for me to be back slumped bleary-eyed in front of a publicly-funded Central London computer screen come Easter next year.
Wherever possible, this is a trip to be carried out whilst directly connected to the Earth.
Let me make this clear - flying isn't travelling. The inside of a plane in one part of the world looks pretty much like any other. In the air, you can only hope to 'meet' semi-bored failed-models-turned-air-stewardesses, Yankee-doodle security contractors en route to the Middle East for fun and profit, or mountainous spluttering snore machines who should have been forced to do the decent thing and pay for the whole row of seats instead of permanently wedging themselves between you and the escape ailse.
No sir, flying is not the thing for me. Unless time constraints forbid it (e.g. HK to Sydney), i'm sticking to train, bus, boat, foot and bike. My employers will be proud. Life is so much more fun when observed from the ground.
The other thing you may be wondering, is why oh why is this blog called "Other People's Music"? That does indeed deserve an explanation. To cut a long story short, every now and then I get the urge to start my own podcast. It'd be loosely based on a much-imagined radio show, called... Other People's Music. The name derives from the show's signature jingle... "You're listening to Serge, and we're playing Other... People's... Music"
And now I've explained that in writing for the first time, it sounds even sillier than it does in my head. So it's got nothing to do with the trip, and even to travelling in general (despite the desperate sounding sub-heading about one ipod, fifty million miles or whatever) but that's what you've got. So it's gonna stick. And i'm too tired to change it.
Sensible alternative suggestions will be considered.
More pre-trip flannel to come, if I ever get over the shock of actually having been awarded a Chinese visa.