Is This The End?

As scheduled, we are flying to Europe today from China.

Asia has been our home for almost 18 months. Now that we’ve become accustomed to dumplings, noodle soup and Nescafe with condensed milk for breakfast, we depart with mixed emotions (well, our emotions towards Nescafe are clear: we are very happy to leave it behind). We also leave behind the richness of Asia’s chaotic streets for a different European pace punctuated with cafes and medieval stone architecture.

Journey Across Europe in 100 Days
Train travel in Europe. Doesn’t get much better than this.

When I let it leak on Facebook last week that we were leaving Asia soon, some relevant questions streamed in:

“What’s going on?”
“Are you OK?”
“Are you stopping?”
“What about the other continents?”

Don’t worry, we are not stopping. We are also remarkably healthy considering all the street food we’ve enjoyed and arduous bus rides we’ve endured.

The journey continues. We are, however, taking a breather.

A European Interlude

After a stop in Vienna (Austria) to visit some of Audrey’s family, we’ll return to Prague, Czech Republic for a few weeks to renew our Czech business visas and sort some errands. While we don’t relish bureaucracy or visits to the Foreigner’s Police, this in-person visit is required to keep us and our Czech LLC legal and current.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle - Prague, Czech Republic
Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

Instead of hopping right back on the road, we’ll friend-hop around Central and Eastern Europe for the summer and fall. We’ll use much of this time to write, reflect and perhaps drink a few bottles of good wine. Between sips, we intend to resume a regular publishing schedule to catch up on our experiences in China, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Nepal. We’ll fill these pages with Asian visions of beauty and culinary surprises as we cast a sharp eye on some of the region’s more dubious politics and curious cultural mores.

Since we’ll be friend-hopping around places like Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Bulgaria, we will also include a European adventure from time to time as well. Visit often or add us to your RSS feed.

In addition to working on content for Uncornered Market, we will take advantage of our stillness and reliable internet connections to work on business development. What does this mean?

For us, it means taking the time to explore and secure new projects, freelance writing and photography assignments and partnership deals. If you have any ideas, leads or contacts that might fit, please let us know.

How About Africa?

We expect to hit the road again later this year. Our current plan is to head to the Middle East and Africa, though we’ve recently entertained South America as a next stop. One of the goals of this journey is to visit each of the continents; opportunities, projects and contacts will continue to determine the pace and sequence of how it all fits together. Keep checking the website for updates as our plans fall into place.

A Visual Return to Europe

In the spirit of returning to Europe, we leave you with a photo slideshow from our first sojourn together in Europe eight years ago. From Estonia to Croatia and from Turkey to Portugal – with our wedding in Italy thrown in between – this four-month cross-continent trip served as our first taste of long-term travel and whetted our appetites to travel around the world together one day.

Photo Slideshow: Europe in 100 Days

If you have a high-speed internet connection, stick around for the slideshow below. Otherwise, visit the photo set here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Dear Audrey and Daniel,

    I hope you’ve made it safely back to Europe, and that Prague is treating you well. It’s a town that I remember hazily from a college trip many years ago, but my affection for Staropramen has outlasted my naivety.

    Reading Uncornered Market as often as possible during these last few months has been a major factor in me deciding to try a similar project to yours – in Central Asia as I mentioned a while ago – but on a smaller scale, with fewer countries and a less sophisticated website. If I don’t make the trip in the next year I’ll never find the time.

    There are two questions for the time being that perhaps you could advise me on. How hard is it to set up and maintain your own website? At the moment I rely on a blogging site, which looks good but doesn’t allow me to express myself in the way that I want. And what measures do you take to increase your readership? I would love to turn my travel stories into a book, or at least have them read by a reasonably large number of people.

    If you find time to come to Ukraine during your European trip I’ll help in any way I can.

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan

  2. says

    Needless to say, I’m jealous of your return to Europe. Having Emerson has really brought me back to those early days with Connery in Prague, with all the (stolen) prams and trams and walking. I miss that a lot. Well, not the stolen prams.

    Hope you’re having a great time. Wish that Livingston were conveniently located in Central Europe for a little visit with us.

  3. Pete De Ritter says

    Is this the end? It can’t be. According to Bob Dylan the end was to be stuck inside of Mobile with those Memphis blues again.
    Hope your stay in Europe goes well. Looking forward to new posts.

  4. Chip Ritter says

    I hope you didn’t get caught in that terrible electrical storm in Vienna last night. Have a great time in our old stomping grounds. I’d love to get your perspectives on how our old city, Prague, has changed in the last couple of years.

  5. says

    I’ve gotten into the habit of checking your site every week or three to see where you are. (I don’t do RSS yet…) It’s a bit strange to think of you both back in the place where I met you. I’ve been in touch with a couple of people from Systinet days… that took me back, so to speak. Good luck and all the best with everything as you get reoriented and catch up.

    After six months setting up my new business (sites4people.com), my own travel travel bug can bite. In mid-August I’m off to South America for 6-8 weeks in Bolivia (where I found a very helpful website for eastern Bolivia, BoliviaBella.com) and into northwestern Argentina. If you guys want to change your mind and head for South America right away, I’d be glad to see you! 8^}

    Take care,
    Jerry

  6. says

    Thanks for your comments…and patience. Individual responses are below.

    Jonathan: How difficult is designing and maintaining your own website? It depends on how particular you are regarding functionality (photos, videos, audio, etc.) and your programming/HTML skills. Towards the “easy” end of the spectrum: sign up for a free hosted blog with Blogspot or WordPress.com and select a theme (look/design) that matches your needs, style and functionality. These alternatives may offer more flexibility than Travelblog.

    If you would like even more functionality and individual style, design and host your own blog. If you don’t have HTML/PHP experience, you could probably find a designer in Ukraine for a reasonable price. The range of choice in design and functionality (e.g., embedding videos, photos) is wide. Our website design is the result of a heavily modified WordPress theme; we host it on Dreamhost. Much of our site’s functionality comes from freely available software (called plug-ins) that we’ve integrated and tweaked to meet our needs.

    From experience, we can say that maintaining a website on the road is not a trivial task. The search for internet cafes and wireless hotspots (if you have a laptop) is never-ending. While you can write your pieces offline if you have a laptop, a decent connection is needed to format and upload photos and videos. In places like Central Asia, internet connectivity can be very tricky. That said, where there is a will, there is a way.

    Building readership takes time and is a long-term game. For the reasons cited above, it can be difficult to do while on the road. To build readership, a few thoughts: friends and family, social networking through sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, etc., commenting on other websites, and ensuring that your content is original and searchable (SEO, search engine optimization) in order to draw visitors from search engines. One of these days, we will write a series of articles on the construction and maintenance of our site.

    Then, there’s the content. Obviously, that’s entirely up to you.

    It’s possible that we’ll find ourselves in Ukraine this autumn as it keeps coming up in conversations. If we head that direction, we’ll be sure to contact you.

    Nicole: We remember those stolen prams. The apartment where we are staying in Vienna features an unshackled pram in an open doorway. The pram is still there.

    Pete: I suspect that when the end comes, we won’t have the luxury of writing an article about it.
    Bob Dylan, an endless font of wisdom for world travelers, continues with:
    An’ here I sit so patiently
    Waiting to find out what price
    You have to pay to get out of
    Going through all these things twice.

    Chip: We didn’t get caught in the electrical storm. We were well-protected in the stadium.

    Kidding, kidding

    We ended up in a swirl of wind and horizontal rain on the night of the Turkey-Germany game; our clothes were completely soaked through.

    We are still recovering from a weekend of football in Vienna and wine-tasting (um, er, guzzling) in the countryside with a friend. When we come to, we’ll share our thoughts on Middle Europe.

    Jerry: Yes, we’ve completed another circle, this one landing us in Prague. Thanks for the well wishes. We’ll keep you posted on our “Africa or South America next” decision-making process.

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