Epic Trip #2: Solo Travelers on the Ultimate Train Challenge
Being a fan of train travel, this epic adventure (the second in our Epic Adventure theme. Read #1 here.) just had to be shared. Micheal Hodson of Go See Write dreamed up this fun and tells us about it here.
The Ultimate Train Challenge answers a question that I doubt gets asked that often: “What is the world record for longest continuous train journey?”
I am a fan of solo adventure travel, or at least, solo oddball travel. In 2009-10, I circled the globe without leaving the ground and was trying recently to figure out what sort of madcap solo travel adventure I wanted to try in 2011. As I am a huge train travel fanatic, this is what leapt quickly to my mind.
Although I originally conceptualized it as a solo trip just for me, some friends talked me into inviting a number of great travel bloggers to join me in this quixotic quest. There are five us us meeting up in Lisbon, Portugal for the crazy one-month train journey to Saigon, Vietnam.
Lisbon to Saigon — all on trains — in 30 days.
Five solo Travelers – One Destination
All five of us are going to travel independently and we are each free to take whatever route we want to get to the finish line. The person that ends up in Saigon with the most miles traveled by rail will be deemed “the winner,” as long as they follow the rules.
The rules are likewise quite simple. To make it a ‘continuous train journey,’ you have to travel every day somewhere on a train — no resting up for a few days in Paris eating crepes and drinking fine wine. To make sure that no one just piles up easy mileage, you can’t go back into a country once you leave it and you can’t repeat a length of rail (e.g. you can’t take the Frankfurt to Munich bullet train back and forth to pile up miles). Obviously, you also have to complete the entire journey by train.
The spirit of the trip is that it is an actual a train journey — that you are trying to get from Lisbon to Saigon — and in the meantime, you are traveling on the longest existing, continuous stretch of train tracks currently on the planet.
Not Epic Enough? There’s More!
But just sitting on trains, trying to set a world record might be a boring, so we are going to add a lot of entertaining side competitions and to-do’s for the traveling bloggers, which hopefully will bring enjoyment to those following along with us. The one that I am most excited about is a huge scavenger hunt that will last for the duration of the journey, with dozens and dozens of items that need to be collected along the way. Their will also be additional mini-challenges for the traveler that makes it furthest north and south and also contests for best photo of the week, voted on by people on the website, and more.
It is going to to be a fun, crazy, wild, and hopefully entertaining journey. Eurail.com has been kind enough to sponsor the European train portion of the trip and help make all this possible, but the thing that is going to make this a great journey is the participation of readers goading us and encouraging us along on the way, via our forum and the website. Thanks for following along!