Off We Go!

Today, we leave for a completely different type of trip than we usually take. We are spending two weeks in China, flying to Seoul for 5 days, then spending 19 days traversing Mongolia and Russia on the Trans-Mongolian Railway followed by two weeks of cruising the Baltic and Norwegian Fjords on MSC.

What makes this trip so unique (other than the itinerary)? We have signed up for tours rather than traveling independently as we normally do. We will travel with Gate 1 Travel in China and G Adventures for the trek across Mongolia and Russia. Having briefly visited both China and Russia on previous trips, we knew that neither is particularly “user-friendly” for independent travelers. Most countries we have been to have enough English language signage and English speaking people for us to manage on our own; not so in either China or Russia. It will be an interesting experience being on organized tours; we shall see how it all works out!

I realized recently that I never finished my blog posts from our most recent trip to SE Asia. Partially this was because I got the creeping crud for the last couple of weeks of our trip, so we didn’t do too much while in Bangkok. I did write a post about Bangkok; I just never posted it! Here is a link to the post: Bangkok, Thailand

The main reason I never finished is that when we returned home from the trip we found that our beloved cat, Maxwell, was not feeling well. He wasn’t his usual self, so we took him to the vet. It turns out he had advanced kidney failure and had to be put to sleep immediately. I know those of you that have furry children understand how devastating this was for me. I was deeply affected by his passing and didn’t really feel like writing. So, I never finished my thoughts about traveling in SE Asia; perhaps I will do so while on this next trip. I definitely have some ideas that could be useful for those of you planning a trip to this part of the world.

I am curious to see how much my internet usage will be curtailed while in China. I know that social media and certain email apps are not allowed. I am hoping that at the very minimum, I will be able to keep my blog up to date. We do have a VPN that we will be using; hopefully, that will help. I am also assuming that while crossing Russia by train that internet availability will be severely limited. Stay tuned!

7 thoughts on “Off We Go!

  1. So sorry to hear about your cat. I know how difficult that can be. I’ve been to China once and I can tell you that it was probably the least friendly place that I’ve been to in the world but nothing that would stop me from going back. Be careful. Sign in with the embassys which I’m sure you already do. You are both extremely experienced travelers. I bet your trip will be awesome 😎 can’t wait to keep up on the blog👍

    Sent via mobile phone



    • Thanks, Candace. We arrived last night and have already found that I cannot access GMail and our VPN doesn’t work. Oh, well! No email or social media for a couple of weeks. We did enroll in the STEP program with the US Embassy.


  2. I enjoy reading all your detailed trip reports. I admire your planning skills and attention to detail. I am sorry to hear about losing your beloved pet. We have had that same experience and I know how hard it is when we lose one of them.

    Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip and I will be watching for your posts.

    Wendy Tremblay


  3. I’m very excited to read about your adventures- we are doing a similar trip in September. Your advice will be very helpful as we are doing the train on our own and have organized tour guides to meet us at a few stops along the way. Have fun and be safe- Patrick and Cecilia


  4. Alison here from Vancouver – travelled with you through the Suez Canal. Anyhow, eager to hear about your upcoming trip. Frank & I have been on 2 tours with Gate 1 & just loved it. We went to Machu Piccchu & Morocco with them – worth the $ & very organized & super guides – curious how yours goes. We are thinking of doing Nepal in the future with them. Think of you often & hope our paths cross again soon.
    Sorry to hear about your cat. I cried for 3 days loosing our dog years ago & won’t have another pet – too painful- plus we now have grandkids!


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