Exciting times lie ahead

The World Rickshaw Taxi is gaining traction now after the fairly bad spell over the past few weeks. Everything is slowly coming together and the big gaps in the jicksaw are becoming smaller, revealing the big picture that lies ahead. It’s quite exiciting as I’m starting to see how my dream is coming together and give myself confidence once gain to prove the many skeptics and doubters wrong out there.

Ideas on documenting by video:

I want to experiment with how I document the world rickshaw taxi and see what is an effective and feasible means of doing it. I’ve always been interested in producing a video documentary, but never had the time or the equipment to really produce something that I was proud of and really showcase my past expeditions.

A previous adventure documentary of mine candidly made on a pocket digital camera – The Great Bathtub Adventure

I want to try and produce a fortnightly documentary that keeps people up to date with recent events as it can allow people to more easily digest the most important events and in some cases cases better illustrate the heat of a moment than a blog entry ever could. Not many documentaries are produced by cycle tourers or travellers – atleast I cannot find them. The few that do exist usually are post-trip and the audience doesn’t get much of an opportunity to react or engage with the adventure concurrently. So keeping this regular is key.

Last week I spent abit of time to meet an old friend from school who studied media journalism at University of Preston. We discussed the possibility and feasability of putting together a documentary for a production company who would then commision this for a television channel. Ambitious as it may sound it’s not impossible, but is a bonus if something works out. One of the difficulties is being able to sell a really unique and interesting documentary that would get people watching, although that should be comparatively easy considering what I’m doing. The biggest difficulty is getting the breakthrough and it relies mainly on luck, getting a good following and having a programme structure to hold the audience captive.

The plan regardkess is to capture footage that I’ll send back home these on sd cards through the magic of airmail. Once successfully received, he will help produce a structured documentary show probably every fortnight. Logistically this will be a challenge, but is still feasible in most areas of the planet. It’s lifespan will ofcourse depending on its appreciation from audiences.

In the end we agreed we’d put something structured together and this will be investigated further, but to gain further interest we will have to shoot a show reel sometime that captures the thrilling nature of what I’m about to tackle.

Updates to the Route: Solving the stani problem

Upon completing my last few weeks at University, I stumbled across a great problem and it would be difficult to obtain a visa for Pakistan. With recent turn of events, the country has become harrowingly unsafe despite the postive outlook following the supposivly succesfuly ‘democratic’ elections held this year.

One pending option at the time would be heading through Western China. Lookjing through Google Earth, the place looks barren and desolate for thousands of miles and attempting to make a visit into cultural heartland of Tibet seems far from feasible.

The only viable option that stood was shipping the rickshaw by sea freight from the Arabian Peninsular to India. Fortunataly I recently received a few shipping quotes from several companies.

These amount to around $200 with taxes and will require a flight of £100. The only trouble is packaging it up and the long wait of 18 days between ports. Such a small comprimise I can live with and settles a long standing problem with the route. The only other little detail is locating a regular ferry throught the straits between Iran to Dubai and meeting the rich oil Sheiks to help pay for this!

To avoid Pakistan, I will ship the rickshaw from Muscat, Oman to Mumbai, India

To avoid Pakistan, I will ship the rickshaw from Muscat, Oman to Mumbai, India

Suprisingly this works out considerably cheaper and most likely less stressful dealing not having to boggle my head with the visas required in the Stani countries – the most difficult being Turkmenistan. It also saves a questionably difficult climb through the Himalayas which I think is inaccesssible for vehicles currently because of a landslide on the Karakoram Highway.

A possible venture into the south east

Having more time available, I am considering a possible optional itinerary into Malaysisa, Indonesia and the Phillipines. In terms of development these are on of the most rapdly expanding developing countries on the planet and would be of particular interest to engage with the people of these countries.

A Potential alternative route going through south East Asia

A Potential alternative route going through south East Asia (Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines)

This is not for certain, but something that I’d like to potentialy do depending on my condition mid way through. Although it probably would add another two months on the road.

Vaccinations. Many of them

On Wednesday, I went to get some vaccinations that would be critical for staying healthy whilst travelling in South East Asia. Honestly I’m hardly knowledgable in such matters, other than knowing that I need practically all of them. This is the one thing that no-one ever seems to mention and I’m quite annoyed that tourers failed to mention this in their preparation.

The vaccination list concludes:

  • Hepatitus A/B (Seperate Doses)
  • Rabies (x3)
  • Japanese Encephalitis (x2)
  • Typhoid, Diptheria and Cholera (Combined Oral Dose)
  • Tetanus (Booster shot not required)

A website that I was recommended to look at was the NHS Fit for Travel Website which also provides up to date advice on each region.

To get my vaccinations, the most convenient place was Newland Pharmacy – Travel Clinic, Hull. There, Neil provided very good information and consultation and advised that I should attempt to get some vaccinations for free (Hepatitus A and another) through my local doctors.

What was suprising to hear was that even with the three courses of Rabies jabs, even if were to come in contact with wild dogs which in my past experiences is almost certain, further vaccination treament is IMMEDIATELY required with suspicion of broken skin. The vaccination given is apparently composed as an immunoglobulin which is difficult to obtain in poor countries and only helps supresses the effects of the virus short term.

Considering that, I am looking to invest in a very cheap dog scaring device. Probably beinb a high pitched sound generator or a big stick to hit them with. I’ve come close to being bitten – on my previous trip from London to Istanbul, a stray dog in Macedonia managed to latch onto my rear pannier – very close to my leg!

The other thing I am advised about are the mosquito pests that I will have to deal with and the quite serious outbreak of dengue fever in the tropics currently. Not failing to mention malaria which will require prescribed tablets that I will probably start taking upon reaching burma. Dengue Fever is problem – from what I’ve been told this is spread by a different specie of Mosquito during the day and the only preventable measure is wearing insect repellant with 50% DEET and tight clothing. This I find worrisome, especially considering how much I will be sweating in the tropics cycling on a rickshaw.

In the end the other illnesses can be prevented by common sense and good approach to hygiene in addition to my water-to-go filter bottle

The experience was fine, and I didn’t feel any major side effects other than being tired for a few hours on the very rare train that comes to my village station (three each day). I’ve still got two more sessions to go to and another opportunity to visit Hull, which turned out to have a really nice city centre nowadays despite the stigmaticism it usually gets.

Cycling Jersey sent for print:

The cycling jersey design has been sent to print. A big thank you to James at Half Baked Brand who has been a great help assisting with the design of the Jersey. Hopefully, I’ll write a quick write-up of my experience with this because it is something quite new to me!

First interview with a journalist

To a great suprise I was contacted by an online journalist who after googling ‘rickshaw’ stumbled on my great adventure and was interested to write about this. What was most unusual was that the journalist was from the United States and I haven’t actively being pushing any publicity yet because things aren’t just ready yet.

It’s great that things are coming together now and it makes me excited each and every day