Michael Hodson left home in 2008 on a mission to circumnavigate the globe, and hasn’t stopped traveling since. He runs the popular travel site Go See Write, where you can follow his adventures around the world. He is also the founder of “The Ultimate Train Challenge” an epic train race across Europe and Asia starting this May.
As he discusses The Ultimate Train Challenge in the interview ask yourself “What am I doing this summer, and why isn’t it this!”
First off, can you explain to us what The Ultimate Train Challenge is? What are the countries it covers and the dates?
The Ultimate Train Challenge came out of me doing pretty much the exact same thing back in 2011 with a couple other bloggers. We did Lisbon to Saigon in 30 days and the response was so great that I decided to open it up to let anyone do it. We are scheduled for it this May (extra bonus is that will give everyone 31 days to make it). They can go either way — Saigon to Lisbon or Lisbon to Saigon. They have from May 1st to May 31st to make it the entire 15,000 miles… all on trains.
What adventures can someone expect during this epic challenge?
Wow! The Ultimate Train Challenge sounds amazing. Can you tell some of your personal highlights?
How many people participate and what’s the atmosphere like between fellow travelers?
“We are hoping to have about 20 people or so do it this year, likely split pretty equally between going each direction. Everyone will be able to blog about their travels on the www.YourWorldNoRules.com website and we will also have a live-tracking page there so that participants can keep friends and family updated on their location (and compare themselves against each other). Folks are also more than welcome to meet up with each other along the way — in fact, when I did it, all three of us ride the entire Trans-Manchurian rail part of it together. Six days on the train together.”
It sounds like just the experience makes everyone a winner, but what does the fastest racer get?
“I really love the sponsors and truly appreciate their donating some great prizes, but in the end the biggest prize is just the sense of accomplishment you are going to get from doing something difficult, amazing and that very few others have done.”
How much is the entry fee and what does that get you?
“It is $295 until Feb. 15th and $395 thereafter. In addition to being eligible for all the prizes I discussed above, it also lets you blog on our website and use our real-time map tracker, so as to keep family and friends up with your trip. Additionally, we’ll be throwing a pre-launch party in each city and HostelWorld is donating two nights for each participant before departure in Saigon or Lisbon. We are also negotiating with another possible sponsor for an additional train ticket discount that I am hoping on solidifying in the next few weeks.”
Do you need to apply for visa’s, and is there a resource page with helpful information?
“Visas are the biggest pre-planning thing that people will need to get. The Russian visa can be a difficult one and the Chinese just changed their visa policy also. Luckily, most people won’t have any problems in Europe, so in the end most people will be looking at getting Vietnam, China, and Russia (and possibly Mongolia and Belarus, depending on what route they want to take). We go over some of the basics on this page — http://yourworldnorules.
Lastly, point us in the right direction on how to get started on the Ultimate Train Challenge?
“Well, all those links above are going to give you a full impression of what the whole train challenge is all about. People are welcome to email me and my partner at Lori@yourworldnorules.com if they have any other questions and for the adventurous… just sign up using this link (and using Stephen’s affiliate code of VL13UTC to get $30 off their entry fee) right here — http://yourworldnorules.
So what do you think? Is this something you would like to participate in? Sign up today, and see where the world takes you!