Details regarding the route and the vehicle are covered on their respective pages.
Visas were required for the following countries: Russia (six-month multiple entry ‘business’ visa); Mongolia (one month tourist visa); Kazakhstan (three-month dual-entry tourist visa); Uzbekistan (one-month tourist visa).
No carnet was required for the countries selected for this adventure.
Health Risks and Vaccinations
There were no significant health risks associated with the countries that I visited. Perhaps the greatest risk was tick-borne encephalitis. There has been a confirmed case of Bubonic Plague in Kyrgyzstan during 2013 but there are no indications of this being a widespread outbreak.
The doctor at the travel clinic recommended vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid.
I’d previously done my own research into health problems in the region and learned that Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is endemic in Central and eastern Europe and a risk for those visiting rural areas where they may be exposed to ticks that carry the virus. The most common vaccine for TBE is FSME-IMMUN, made by Baxter in Austria. This is the only TBE vaccine that is licensed in the UK and is sold under the trade name Ticovac. More information can be found using this link – http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Tick-borne-Encephalitis-Vaccination.htm
The travel clinic in Bermuda doesn’t have this vaccine in stock, as it has never been requested. It had to be specially ordered for me. A full course of vaccines consists of three injections, the third being administered at least six months after the first. A shorter period will allow for two of the vaccinations that will be sufficient for short-term protection (at least 90% protection).
Due to the ever changing political landscape, I kept a regular watch on travel warnings for the various countries. At the time of travel, the only concern was Kyrgyzstan as the UK FCO was warning against all but essential travel to a significant chunk of the country, including the Fergana Valley. The warnings seemed to be overly cautious. I travelled through the Fergana Valley and had no problems whatsoever.
First Aid Training
In April 2012, I completed a CPR and AED (defibrillator) course with St. John Ambulance. I planned to add the level 2 first aid course before the trip but never got around to it.
Off-Road Driver Training
I was able to get some introductory off-road driver training in July 2013, whilst I was in England. I completed additional off-road training as well as some recover techniques training in England, immediately prior to the big trip in April 2014.
Basic Land Rover Mechanics
Again, I got a very basic introduction in 2013 and then received additional training in England, just prior to the big trip in 2014.