All right! Several months have passed since I finally made the decision to go on a world trip. Lots of preparations have been done. For inspiration and ideas about how to prepare a world trip check this page; Part I and Part II. Yet it’s incredible how many last-things preparations still had to be made over the last three weeks! I had a hard time having a responsible job and working long days to save money and planning the world trip all together. I figured I could postpone a lot of things till after my last working day. It worked for me, just as I expected, but it didn’t come easy! Here is a little insight about the past three weeks;
Visa for Russia, Mongolia and China
Started off organizing my visa’s. I suddenly realized I had only three weeks to organize all three visa’s before leaving on the 14th of October. The plan is to fly to Mongolia, have a 17 hour lay-over at Moscow and continue towards China. Sounds simple, right?!
In order to get the Russian Transit Visa I needed to add a copy of my Mongolian visa and add a healthcare statement declaring that I am covered for medical suspense’s. Okay, so I’m applying for the Mongolian Visa first. Luckily this wasn’t a problem; I could simply send my passport together with my ticket and a letter describing why I want to visit the country. Five days later my passport was returned by post together with the Mongolian visa. Yay!
In order to get a healthcare statement declaring all medical suspense’s are covered, I needed to get myself a travel insurance. After two days of searching on the internet and making different phone calls I found the Australian Backpackers Insurance. With offers great benefits against a reasonable price. Within the same day I contracted them I got my English statement and so I could apply for the Russian visa 🙂 Only shortcoming is that I had to travel to The Hague to apply for the visa in person. This is a 1.5 hour trip from my hometown, making it a time- consuming business. The visa procedure would take up to a week. And this would fit perfectly in my planning.
While my passport is at the Russian Embassy in The Hague I am trying to get my documents together for China. I need to show both a ticket in and out of the country. After several days I got myself a booking confirmation of the Trans-Mongolia- Express from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing.
Meanwhile I am searching my ass off to get a train and/or bus ticket out the country. I’d spend many hours on the internet searching for a ticket and at one point thought I found one. Finally! Just one last check to see if Hekou- North is indeed in Vietnam and I’m good to go…. or NOT, Hekou- North is within walking distance from the border, but still on the Chinese side. No way! I phoned the Chinese embassy to explain the situation. She told me kindly to add my itinerary and a booking confirmation of the first nights in Vietnam. I asked her if there would be any delay in the procedure for missing the ticket out of the country and she told me not. I thanked her and said I’d apply for the visa on Monday the 3rd. She responded by telling me the embassy was closed from 3-5th of October. I could only apply Tuesday the 6th. I kindly wished her a happy holiday and hung up the phone. STRESS!
Applying for the visa on the 6th while flying towards Mongolia on the 14th wouldn’t leave much time to finish the procedure! I immediately emailed the Russian Embassy explaining the situation and asked if it was possible to collect the passport on Friday instead of Monday. This would buy me a little more time and hopefully enough time to get the Chinese Visa.
It was a little nerve- wrecking, as the Russian consulate didn’t reply on my email. I called them on Thursday but they didn’t have my passport yet. I had to call again on Friday. I was extremely happy to hear I could collect my passport on Friday! I went straight to The Hague and to the Chinese Embassy. I applied for the Chinese visa and could collect my passport again on Monday the 10th of October. Just in time for my flight on the 14th of October!