It seems only fair to list those who have inspired me to go off on this trip, have given me ideas for what to do and have kept my enthusiasm high whilst I waited to start.
- My parents : back in 1967, when they were students, my parents and a few of their friends patched up an old Bedford van and set about touring down through Europe to Yugoslavia. It must have been a good trip because a couple of years later they got married.
- Michael Palin : Starting with “Around the World in 80 Days” Michael has undertaken some fantastic trips round our planet. Only one problem: Michael has the backing of the BBC which gives him influence and finances I don’t have.
- Bill Bryson : The funniest travel writer I have read. Being an American who lived in the UK for many years, before returning to the US, has given him a great perspective on our relative cultures. With the exception of his African Diary, Bill’s books only cover travel in Western cultures and I intend to go a little further...
- Peter Moore : My favourite travel author of the moment as his books seem to give me the best idea of what to expect. He normally travels as a solo backpacker, on a strict budget to places most Westerners never venture. Only a couple of problems: (1) he heads into all sorts of places likely to land him in serious trouble but somehow gets away with it and (2) he has only written 3 travelogues to date. His web site contains a set of photographs for each of the trips he has written about in his books which is a really nice touch. He has also written a superb alternative backpackers guide called “No Shitting In The Toilet” which is worth a read even if you have no plans to go travelling.
- Neil Burling :My original plan was to skip over China by air, but in researching the Trans-Siberian railway I came across Neil’s travel journal. Reading it changed my mind so overland from Hong Kong to Beijing got added to my itinerary.
- The Backpacker’s Bible : by Suzanne King and Elaine Robertson made it all seem feasible.
- Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide : my guidebooks of choice.