With 174 days to go, it’s time to get cracking on the Visas.
So with two Australians and one Malaysian passport holders in Team Raven Shoe, the following countries will need visas (many pre-arranged) before arrival.
- Turkey (Malaysia is exempt)
- Iran (Malaysia is exempt)
- Mongolia (Malaysia is exempt)
So pretty much every country outside the EU bar Kyrgyzstan. Great.
Luckily the Visa Machine (a visa-expediting, will-sort-it-out-all-for-you company probably run by The Adventurists themselves (220 teams x 2 people x 7 visas x £100= £308,000!)) are providing a ‘discounted’ service to help get some of these visas. Now some of you may say that there’s plenty of time to sort it out ourselves – why do we need a visa agency to do so? But look closer at the visa requirements and you soon find out that you’re in a mobius loop of bureaucracy from the beginning. Sometimes you need an invitation which you can’t get – you have to be invited. Others you can apply for an invitation, but need to be very specific on the entry and exit dates (the certainty of which will be totally up in the air with regards to the rally), some require that you know somebody in the country who will sponsor your visit and many probably don’t believe you want to visit as a tourist – “Why would a tourist want to come here?” they say…
Anyhow, discount or no discount, Lesson 1: Visa’s a not cheap. Lesson 2: They’re not quick to get. Lesson 3: If you’re ever travelling through Central Asia, you’ll be better off on a Malaysian passport. Maybe it’s because Petronas (Malaysian oil and gas company) have some pretty big dealings in these oil and gas rich nations? Let’s hope we can secure ours on time!