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Our advice about the must-haves for each country we have been

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The complete list of what we brought inside our backpacks

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Detailed costs for each country from our experience

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TOP SITES

 

It's hard to build a list of the most beautiful places we have seen...each of them is so impressed in our memory, they all gave us something, we lived them! Anyway this is a shortlist!


Why is this Terzani’s “fault”?

Intro

When we decided to take a long trip in Asia, the initial plan was far different from the road we then followed. At the beginning we thought to take a flight, land in another area of the world to discover a new culture and fully immerse in that culture throughout our journey. Our main destination was India.

We had this plan in mind until 3 months before our departure. However, our soul told us that we were missing something, that we had chosen the easiest path and we would not thoroughly understand that culture. In other words, we were not completely satisfied with our decision, but still we did not have the courage to question the initial plan by ourselves.

The courage we needed came from Terzani’s words. The book we were reading in that moment showed us the way, fed our feelings and allowed us to take the flight…or, rather, to not take that flight (and many others after)!

From that moment on, we started to plan our overland journey through Asia, crossing mountains, bridges, cities, borders and all it takes to reach our destination: India.

This travel style put us through many challenges, but it also gave us deep emotions, for this reason we have decided to apply the same mindset for our upcoming adventure in South America.

For this reason, our lifetime adventures are all…Terzani’s fault!

 


 

 "A fortune-teller told me" T. Terzani

 

 

"Moving between Asia and Europe by train, by ship, by car, sometimes even on foot, the rhythm of my days changed completely. Distances became real again, and I reacquired the taste of discovery and adventure.

Suddenly, no longer able to rush off to an airport, pay by credit card and be swept off in a flash to literally anywhere, I was obliged once again to see the world as a complex network of countries divided by rivers and seas that required crossing and by frontiers that invariably spelled “visa”—a special visa, what is more, saying “surface travel,” as if this were so unusual as to cast suspicion on anyone who insisted on it. Getting from place to place was no longer a matter of hours, but of days or weeks. I had to avoid making mistakes, so before starting out I pored over maps. No longer were mountains beautiful, irrelevant frills seen from a porthole, but potential obstacles on my way.

Covering great distances by train or boat restored my sense of the earth’s immensity. And above all it led me to rediscover the majority of humanity whose very existence we well-nigh forget by dint of flying: the humanity that moves about burdened with bundles and children while the world of the airplane passes in every sense over their heads.

My undertaking not to fly turned into a game full of surprises. If you pretend to be blind for a while, you find that the other senses grow sharper to compensate for the lack of sight. Avoiding planes has a similar effect: the train journey, with its ample time and cramped space, reanimates an atrophied curiosity about details. You give keener attention to what lies around you, to what hurtles past the window. In a plane you soon learn not to look, not to listen: the people you meet, the conversations you have, are always the same. After thirty years of flying I can recall precisely no one. On trains, on Asian ones at least, things are different: you share your days, your meals and your boredom with people you would otherwise never meet, and some of them remain unforgettable.

As soon as you decide to do without planes, you realize how they impose their limited way of looking at things on you. Oh, they diminish distances, which is handy enough, but they end up diminishing everything, including your understanding of the world. You leave Rome at sunset, have dinner, sleep awhile, and at dawn you are in India.

But in reality each country has its own special character. We need time if we are to prepare ourselves for the encounter; we must make an effort if we are to enjoy the conquest. Everything has become so easy that we no longer take pleasure in anything. To understand is a joy, but only if it comes with effort, and nowhere is this more true than in the experience of other countries. Reading a guidebook while hopping from one airport to another is not the same as the slow, laborious absorption—as if by osmosis—of the humors of the earth to which one remains bound when traveling by train.

Reached by plane, all places become alike—destinations separated from one another by nothing more than a few hours’ flight. Frontiers, created by nature and history and rooted in the consciousness of the people who live within them, lose their meaning and cease to exist for those who travel to and from the air-conditioned bubbles of airports, where the border is a policeman in front of a computer screen, where the first encounter with the new place is the baggage carousel, where the emotion of leave-taking is dissipated in the rush to get to the duty-free shop—now the same everywhere.

Ships approach countries by slowly and politely entering the mouths of their rivers; and distant ports become long-awaited goals, each with its own face, each with its own smell. What used to be called airfields were once a little like that. No more. Nowadays airports have the false allure of advertisements—islands of relative perfection even amid the wreckage of the countries in which they are situated. They all look alike, all speak the same international language that makes you feel you have come home. But in fact you have only landed at the outskirts of a city, from which you must leave again by bus or taxi for a center which is always far away.

A railway station, on the other hand, is a true mirror of the city in whose heart it lies. Stations are close to the cathedrals, mosques, pagodas or mausoleums. On reaching them you have well and truly arrived."


T. Terzani, "A fortune-teller told me"


Comunque la spedizione mi dava un buona ragione per rimettermi in viaggio, per riprovare quella gioia unica che solo i drogati di partenze capiscono, quel senso di libertà che prende nell'arrivare in posti dove non si conosce nessuno, di cui si è solo letto nei libri di altri, quell'impareggiabile piacere nel cercare di conoscere in prima persona e di capire.

T. Terzani


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