The faster you travel, the slower time goes. Here’s why.
Ultimate Train Challenge
The Ultimate Train Challenge was a feat of sheer lunacy and adventure. Partnered with two other travel bloggers, we co-created the train-journey-to-end-all-train-journeys: 30 days, by train, from Lisbon to Saigon.
Starting in Lisbon, we each had 17 days to make our way as and how we wished through Europe to Moscow, where we reunited and boarded the Trans Siberian (the longest train ride in the world) to Beijing. Hot on the heels of the longest train ride, we followed up with the fastest train ride (at the time) from Beijing to Shanghai. From there on, it was a series of (at times, painstakingly) slow trains through China and Vietnam to our final debarkation point: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).
To keep things interesting (if that weren't interesting enough), we spiced up the challenge with a scavenger hunt (for experiences, rather than things, given that we three were full-time travelers lugging everything we owned along with us) and some tours and experiences along the way when we weren't choo-choo-ing along.
My Ultimate Train Challenge adventure is far from the only crazy thing I've done on trains; I also rode 16,000kms of trains in Australia, took the train across Canada, and many more long-distance epic journeys. Much of it has made fodder for my book Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination.
Please enjoy this collection of posts (scrolling down takes you from end to beginning) about my Ultimate Train Challenge adventure.
With some of the most dramatic and beautiful footage yet, please enjoy Part 3 of the Ultimate Train Challenge video trilogy.
Imagine a week solid on a train from Moscow to Beijing, in small quarters with no showers and two people you’ve just met. Welcome to the Trans-Manchurian train!
In the first 17 days of the Ultimate Train Challenge, I covered 6 European countries and passed through 4 more. Here’s a video of my European UTC adventures!
During September, I took 29 trains from Lisbon, Portugal to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), Vietnam. Here are some highlights from this 25,000km journey!
3 of our 6 nights from Beijing to Saigon are on trains, so I have time to see Asian travel culture, make friends, and bide time. Here are some random experiences.
Guilin is a beautiful city with a thriving river culture, from morning meditations to touristy Li River cruises. Oh yeah – and rice noodles. Yum!
Visiting Beijing and the Great Wall of China is an amazing “full circle” experience for me; China was my 1st overseas trip – 18 years ago. Here’s my experience.
The Trans-Manchurian is 8,986km (5,623 miles), and involves 145 hours and 37 minutes of straight train travel. Give or take. Here is my account of the trip.
Despite the roller-coaster of Ukraine leaving me higher than lower, I roll into Moscow (literally “roll”) feeling pretty flat, and with a huge task-list.
With the help of my little buddy – the Tep Wireless Pocket WiFi, the European leg of the Ultimate Train Challenge was a relative breeze.
Ukraine is a paradoxical roller coaster that takes me on a three-day ride I won’t soon forget. Come along!
I’m disoriented, unprepared, confused, slightly drunk, slightly scared, and without a purse to clutch on to for security. I feel totally naked. This is my Prague at Night.
What little I saw of Switzerland and Zurich is all those cliches: quaint, charming, etc. What surprised me most was how refreshingly rural life in Zurich can be.
I try to discover the “real” Barcelona, devoid of tourists and tourist traps.It’s a naive mission that proves harder than it looks, but reveals some interesting insights.
Tapas, Mountains, Flamenco, and Siestas. It’s a tough life in Granada!
Ah, the food, the people, the ambiance, the life. In Leaving Lisbon on September 1st to commence the Ultimate Train Challenge, I have already vowed to return. (It’s just a matter of when).
Find out where we’re sleeping – and how – during the Ultimate Train Challenge!
I’m planning how I’ll travel from Lisbon to Moscow by train, with the help of Eurail. But I’m also departing from my usual ways….read on for more!
Amidst the huge effort of planning for the Ultimate Train Challenge lies a section of our trip that includes the world’s longest railway: the Trans-Siberian. Here’s how we’re planning it!
Here’s the next big step in my full-time travels; an adventure of epic proportions – the Ultimate Train Challenge. Check it out!