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world-flags-globe-translationIn 2018, we celebrated our 2 years of travel: 2 years on the road, to raise our thumbs up and write signs in all languages… And as you know, who says “anniversary” says “overview”! That’s good, because since our departure and our first assessment, so many things happened… So what better than to relive with you this 2nd year in photos?

“Thumbs up” overview

Very positive assessment, since our statistics show a total of 945 vehicles that took us by hitchhiking (cars, trucks, but also tuk-tuk, a livestock, dairy trucks…). And thanks to our super drivers, we reached a hitchhiking percentage of 100%, crossed 19 countries (to China) and traveled about 51129 kilometers, 1.25 times the circumference of the Earth!

Considering only the second year of travel, we traveled 32,441 kilometers in 9 countries, thanks to 478 vehicles. Compared to the first year, it’s much more distance traveled but much less countries crossed!

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering china chine tibet 2 years ans bilan overview
Hitchhiking, we also crossed passes at nearly 5000m altitude (here, the Himalayas in China) in the month of December… A record that pleased Julien, but not me: it was really too cold!

 

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kazakhstan
We also reached our record for hitch-hiking distance in the arid steppes of Kazakhstan: about 2000 kilometers with the same driver in 2 days on sometimes chaotic roads!

 

“Human” overview

In our eyes, the most beautiful ones! We were accommodated in total by 204 different families, and carried out 14 volunteer missions for humanitarian associations or individuals (for a cumulative total duration of 6 months in 2 years). But behind these modest numbers, there are millions of things that have been given, shared: good humor, laughter, glasses, meals, cooking recipes… and even wonderful gifts, such as jewelry in silver that I wear (a ring given by Aiperi, our Kyrgyz Mother Courage, and a necklace representing cutlery, symbol of the shared meal with a jeweler Uzbek driver!)

After our first year on the road, this represents 82 host families and 4 additional volunteer missions. Do not think we met fewer hospitable people, quite the opposite! We often stayed longer at home!

 

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kyrghyzstan Kirgizstan animal aigle eagles horses chevaux condition reflexionbackpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kyrghyzstan Kirgizstan host hote
This second year of travel marks our entry into the Middle East and Central Asia. We discovered a sense of incredible hospitality, and a different way of life: from meal to bed, everything goes on the floor!

 

 

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kyrghyzstan Kirgizstan kyol Ukyok yourte yurt
One of our most beautiful experiences of unusual hospitality: Yurt-Surfing! An experience made possible by the kindness of the owner, who, seeing us all chilly in front of our little tent, offered to stay inside one of his yurts 🙂

 

“Money” overview

One thing is certain: we were not bothered by our banker, since we spent a total of €2.94 / day / person without depriving ourselves of anything (and especially not good beers …). So we fell below the symbolic threshold of €3 / day / person, thanks to a low cost of living on Asian countries – and maybe also thanks to our tent, which made us sleep pretty much everywhere free of charge!

It’s simple, if we remove from the calculation the expenses made in the European countries crossed, we would have an average expenditure of… €1,18 / day / person!

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kazakhstan Kaindy Lake lac sunken forest forêt immergée camping
Our tent made the big difference this year: we were much more flexible, while maintaining optimal backpack weight. It allowed us, among other things, to camp on Lake Kaindy (Kazakhstan), one of our best “Nature” experiences to date!
camping langrud backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Iran
Also used in urban areas when we did not find guests, our tent allowed us to spend dry nights. In Iran, some people, fearing that we would be soaked on waking, simply placed a tarp over our tent to protect us…

Personal overview

Being 2 years on the road had brought many surprises to us – some of (very) good ones… but also bad ones. Here are what we have experienced during this second year:

  • I did not just lose a sweatshirt this year (left in a truck in Kazakhstan); I also lost two relatives: Noisette, my close friend on 4 legs, and my paternal grandmother… So we returned briefly to France, to attend the funeral of my grandma this summer.
  • We also lost a lot of data, including most of our beautiful photos and videos from Iran, during a manipulation error… Small consolation: we were able to produce a video on the migration with the nomads Bakhtiaris thanks to video footage filmed by another participant in the migration!
  • We have, of course, known some galleys. On the road, we managed to escape two very shady drivers (a drunk guy, and another was touchy… with Julien!). A CouchSurfing host in Kazakhstan has also abused our kindness…
  • We met our first real difficulties on the road: to organize to make our visas, to cross politically controversial zones even to conflict (Nagorno-Karabakh)
  • Beside that, there were also great moments we are not ready to forget: our first sandstorm and the migration with the Bakhtiaris nomads in Iran, our night in Yurt-surfing in Kyrgyzstan, our memorable nights in tent…
  • … not to mention all the lessons of life that we learned on the road: sleeping on a carpet (Iran), eating with chopsticks (China), tasting new flavors sometimes weird (China), getting by communicate in countries using a non-Latin alphabet (from Caucasus to China), cope with the minimum, and always repair our broken or worn equipment or clothing.
  • We have also expanded our skills and gained experience, especially in hostel management (Kyrgyzstan)… Which gives us ideas for the future!
backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Iran Varzaneh desert sand dunes sable 2 years ans bilan overview
During our volunteering in Mohammed’s hostel in Varzaneh (Iran), we had the pleasure of accompanying tourists in the sand dunes. What you do not see well on this picture is the violent gusts of wind this day, letting the sand infiltrate everywhere! While some tourists preferred to stay in the car, we went to enjoy this magical landscape. With the accumulation of sand, Julien’s camera lens almost ended badly… But a thorough cleaning and some repairs have rehabilitated it – contrary to another tourist present on site, whose lens is definitely broken …
backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering Kyrgyzstan horse chevaux World Nomad Games Kirghizstan jeux mondiaux camping 2 years ans bilan overview
An extraordinary event we attended this year: the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan! To obtain such a picture, not only did you have to take out the 300mm zoom, but also place yourself discreetly in the area reserved for “journalists” … A circle that nobody noticed, thanks to the professional equipment that Julien wore, and who also benefited the event since this shot was shared on Instagram by the organizers!

Carbone footprint overview

As in the first assessment where Julien explained our carbone footprint by a calculation perfectly detailed, we had again fun calculating our carbon impact after 2 years on the road!

Still considering only the “transport” part, we emitted around 453 kg CO2 / person (ie one-way Paris-Athens by plane, one person, 2100km) while traveling more than 50 000 km by autostop… The same distance traveled by bus would correspond to 3.1 tons of CO2 / person!

Note: this calculation is based on CO2 emissions (the most common factor and used because it has a direct influence on global warming). But other factors should also be taken into account: fine particle emissions, the ecological cost of manufacturing a car or an airplane, pollution linked to human activity and all the services on board an airplane. (food, paper, plastics …).

backpacking Jul&Gaux SerialHikers autostop hitchhiking aventure adventure alternative travel voyage volontariat volonteering ouzbekistan ecole presentation 2 years overview bilan ans
In Andijan, Uzbekistan, we met a young man who will house us twice in his family and become a close friend. Her sister-in-law, passionate about France, then asked us to make a presentation of our project in her university! Since then, unannounced presentations have become more and more frequent (twice in China!). No doubt the difference in growing culture and the significant time spent on the roads are exciting more and more people!

Overview of the overviews

There is not much more to say except that we will continue our journey, always without a time limit. Next big challenge for us: find a sailboat to hitchhike from Southeast Asia to reach Australia… Stay tuned!

 

* Post written according to our personal experience *

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