Even before setting off we have been aware of the facts, that we are heading in a difficult direction in an even more difficult season.
The first three steps of our journey were pretty much set: Crossing Bulgaria from north to southeast, crossing Turkey, getting into Iran!
It is what comes after Iran, that made us adjust plans more than once – with the result of not having a clear plan right now. The ideas in our mind are the follwing:
- PAKISTAN: We failed to get the visa so far and don’t have high hopes for getting it in Iran. The idea was to move to southern Iran and to cross Balochistan somehow, being aware how dangerous that specific area for individual travelers is. From Pakistan, we would have gone into India and onwards.
- UAE & OMAN: It is possible to take a boat from southern Iran to UAE. Unfortunately, if planes should be avoided, one is pretty much stuck there. Some travelers tried to get boats to India, most without much success. We still might give it a shot! At least the temperatures should be perfect in wintertime.
- The ‘STANS’: The classical route of most bike / overland travelers further east is crossing the Stan – countries, namely Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan into China. We wouldn’t have minded this options at all – but winter temperatures reaching down to -40°C are far from encouraging! All travel would be more survival sport than anything else.
- Staying in IRAN: Ben has been in Iran two times before and names it as one of his favorite travel destinations. Maria is very curious to find that our herself. We both like Farsi as a language a lot. Why not spending the winter in Iran?! Well, we are tempted! On the downside of this idea is the difficult visa situation (can we obtain a student visa? Or extend the tourist visa up to three times?), the unfortunate climate, that would restrict us to a few regions in winter and probably money issues, as we can’t withdraw money in Iran but have to carry cash. The upside? Easy! Getting a longer term, in deep impression of that wonderful country could be amazing! And in spring the overland route through the Stans would be possible!
- AIRPLANE: If really nothing else works out we would prepare ourselves to bite into the sour apple, brush all pride aside and take a plane to somewhere nice…and warm. Perhaps from Dubai – or directly from Iran.
We are very open for advice, suggestions or encouragement regarding any of the mentioned options – or would be all ear for completely different ones!