One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Well, not to give up the suspense, but the next month is going to be by land. Lots and lots and lots of land.

In this case and entire month of train travel as part of the Ultimate Train Challenge – some 25,000 kilometers/15,500 miles from Lisbon, Portugal to Saigon, Vietnam — all by train — all in 30 days.

Frankly at this point, about 12 hours before I depart, I am both excited and a little scared. It has been a long time since I have felt the latter emotion.

I hate failure with the intensity of the sun. And this is an endeavor that I have, only recently upon doing a bit of research (yes, I know, perhaps doing that a few months ago would have been a good idea), I have come to realize… failure is a legitimate possibility.

There are a variety of reasons for possible failure, and by that, I mean failure not only in making it to Saigon in 30 days, but my personal quest of riding trains for 30 straight days. From physical exhaustion to the need for showers to not having places to put my luggage when I want to wander to lack of laundry facilities to so many more things running through my head right now.

I am slightly worried.

The Amazing People of Hostel Bookers

hostel bookers worldwide logo

One thing I don’t need to worry about is that on the times that we do have arranged to lay our heads down to rest, in a hotel or hostel and not a train, that they are going to be wonderful places to stay.

I am writing this from the Rossio Patio Hostel in Lisbon, which is amazing. Hostel Bookers set us up with them and I have to say…. I almost don’t want to leave.

The folks at Hostel Bookers have also set us up for a night or two in Moscow at Prosto Hostel, before we embark on the six days from Moscow to Bejing and I can’t wait to see if it measures up to the Rossio Patio Hostel. Then when we arrive in Saigon at the end of this bit of craziness, they have set us up for a week at the Thien Thao Hotel to rest and recover.

Which frankly, I think I am going to need.

Although I am having more pre-trip jitters than I have had in quite some time, I am extremely thankful that we have managed to get such great sponsors for a first time event. Hostel Bookers is one that I particularly think might end up saving me from my personal quixotic quest to spend almost 30 straight nights sleeping on trains — I expect to get an email from my new friends there in a week or ten days saying “you sure you don’t want us to put you up in a hostel for a night or two?”

Not going to make a prediction now whether I would accept or not… but I am thinking I might welcome the offer…

hostel bookers logo

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I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all. Read more by Michael Hodson and connect on Google Plus.

26 Responses to “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” Subscribe

  1. Phil August 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Wait, 30 straight days on trains? I thought the rule was just make it there in 30 days by train. I am going to go ahead and say you are forgiven if you are not spending every single day on a train over the course of the next month. Sad I couldn’t join the crew, but wishing you guys the best. Looking forward to reading about it!
    Phil recently posted..Putting your African Adventure to Shame: Kilimanjaro by Lionback

  2. Lauren September 1, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    You aren’t going to shower for a month?????
    Lauren recently posted..The Beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park

  3. Joaquim Rocha September 1, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    Hope you like Portugal :D

  4. Abby September 1, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    Good luck!! Having an exact end date will make it easier, and finishing will make you feel young again. :)

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:56 am #

      I think I might feel very, very old at the end of this. But then again, a week in a nice hotel in Saigon might just get me back up and running again.

  5. gene September 1, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Jealous of you getting to travel by train across the world like that. Makes me think of The Great Railway Bazaar and the rest of the great travel books!

    Can’t wait to read the tweets and posts as you go and hope to get to follow in your footsteps on day soon!
    gene recently posted..Most Amtrak service restored in time for Labor Day Weekend

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:55 am #

      Theoroux is one of my favorites and that book is simply one of the best in the whole travel genre. I can only aspire to be 20% of him, at least on the writing talent side.

  6. Jennifer September 1, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Just think of how much you’ll never take showers for granted again, by this time next month. :)

    Seriously, this sounds like a fun adventure. Have a great time.
    Jennifer recently posted..Best Restaurants for Foodies in Old Colorado City

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:55 am #

      and you know how much I hate cold showers already. Perhaps I need to do a whole “shower” category on my blog.

  7. The Travel Chica September 1, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    I know I couldn’t spend that many nights sleeping on a train, but you might just be crazy and bullheaded enough to do it :-)
    The Travel Chica recently posted..What Will It Be Like to Come Home?

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:54 am #

      I can do “stubborn ass” better than most.

  8. Chris @CAroundTheWorld September 1, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Good luck, Michael! I’m not a huge train person (really not looking forward to an upcoming night train I have on an itinerary. But I know you’ll make it entertaining….
    Chris @CAroundTheWorld recently posted..Alaska’s Inside Passage: Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier

  9. Randy September 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    You can do it! It may be interesting to take a self-portrait each day of the challenge. I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it. You are the mobile lawyer dammit, you can do anything!
    Randy recently posted..Brigida, Gina & Emilio’s Nocino – Rome, Italy – Somewhere In Time Weekly Travel Photo

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:53 am #

      I am not sure I want photographic evidence of what I will look like on 30 days on this journey ;)

  10. Don Faust September 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    I think that would be the coolest trip, although I’m not sure how long I could sit and wish I was out walking around. If the showers are limited, I would have gotten a buzz cut first, so I could do a simple wash rag routine.
    Don Faust recently posted..Alaska’s Inside Passage: Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:53 am #

      Funny you should mention a buzz cut….

  11. Cathy Sweeney September 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Good luck in your travels. What an awesome journey!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..A Tramp in Heidelberg

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:52 am #

      thanks for following along, Cathy. Appreciate you chiming in and rooting us all on.

  12. Cam @ Traveling Canucks September 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Good luck – we’ll be cheering you guys on from Vancouver!
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks recently posted..Photo of the Week: Hiking in Jordan’s Holy Land

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:52 am #

      2012… I am counting on you two being in on this!

  13. Merav @ AllWays Car Hire Christchurch September 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    OMG! I didn’t realize you are about to spend the entire 30 days (and nights!) on trains. Now that is an adventure! If you need tips about what to do with the lack of shower, ask The Social media Syndicate. They just had their experience ;-)

    Good luck!

    • Michael Hodson September 9, 2011 at 3:52 am #

      well, as it turns out, it really isn’t that possible to do 30 nights on trains, but I think I’ll end up doing over 20. Is that still good enough to be impressive?

  14. Maria Alexandra @latinAbroad October 12, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    That’s AMAZING! I’m so jealous, but now thankyouverymuch for the inspiration – I’m adding this to my travel bucket list for sure!
    Maria Alexandra @latinAbroad recently posted..#RTW tip: How to poop in the Middle East and #Africa

  15. Susie Hartman December 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Sad I couldn’t join the crew, but wishing you guys the best. It may be interesting to take a self-portrait each day of the challenge.
    Susie Hartman recently posted..Many Cures

  16. Jeri Mejia December 8, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    Makes me think of The Great Railway Bazaar and the rest of the great travel books!Can’t wait to read the tweets and posts as you go and hope to get to follow in your footsteps on day soon! Good luck in your travels. That’s AMAZING! I didn’t realize you are about to spend the entire 30 days (and nights!) on trains.
    Jeri Mejia recently posted..Cancer Tips

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