Driving to China in a volkswagen oldtimer campervan. Why do we want to do it? We walked around with the idea of working for an aid or charity foundation in a third world country. After some research we found out were not the types to work on a location and thought we could do something with our marketing studies. We came up with the idea of putting a charity foundation into the spotlights which, in return, could generate donations. But how do you something like this. To get into the spotlights, you have to do something special or extraordinary. After some research and hours of surfing on the internet we realised that driving to China would be special, very special to be exact as only a few can drive their own car in China. After this we started looking around for a charity foundation which would fit our ideals. It had to be something with children as we want children ourselves. We also wanted to focuss on children as you can mean something for them and also the generations that follow. SOS-Children’s Villages was a perfect match. A young and dynamic organisation who encouraged us to visit the projects on our route!
An expedition like this requires a lot of preparation. Even more then we could ever imagine. We have been busy for up to a year to prepare everything. It has become eat, sleep, drink and live drivetheplanet. The basis was that we believed in the project so much that nobody could stop us. This, while friends and family came up with quite a bit of discouraging advice every now and then. Anything is possible when it sounds reasonable, we kept thinking.
If you have plans like this, it is very important that you think carefully of what you want to do. You have to create boundaries for yourself and the project. How much do you want invest and is it worth the effort? By starting a project you have to make investments. But think carefully of the return of the investments is what you want. So be prepared to make calculated risks. Once you have sorted out your ideas, put them on paper. This is how we did it.
From there we went further. If you need investors in your plan, think carefully what you can offer them. What’s in it for them as they don’t just give you the money for nothing. It’s also important to come with something concrete and not just ideas. Which charity fund for example, or how do you intend to raise money. After all this we started to approach the media and once we had that sorted out, we started to approach sponsors. The result you can see on these pages. Believe us, it’s been hard work to get here and some blood, sweat and tears!
Internet is a necessity and a lot of spare time if you want to realise something like this. But what you need as well is help from friends, colleagues and family. So once you have your plan sorted out, spread the word! Without them we would not have been able to pull this off!
What to bring
As less as possible. Although we have more space in the camper then it looks, its always less then you think. a few things we bring are listed underneath.
- The Northface winter and summer clothing
- The Northface Sleepingsbags
- The Northface backpacks
- Minolta Dimage F300 digital camera
- MSR Waterfilter
- MSR multistove
- Ultra sun, suntan lotion
Some visa’s are easily to obtain, others not. Visa’s and permits to drive through China are not easy to obtain. So consult the embassies months before you go.
Vaccinations are an necessity. More and more people take last-minutes flights to tropical resorts but forget the fact that you need vaccinations. If you travel outside Europe or the United States, seek advice a couple months before you leave.
Carnet de passage
A carnet de passage is a document, needed in African and Asian countries. It obligates you to export your car once you have imported it. Without a carnet the passage you are obligated to pay import tax in every country. So its very wise to have one.
What makes you want to export the car is the fact that you have a pay a deposit for the carnet the passage. A bank guarantee is sometimes also possible. In Holland the ANWB has constructed a way to pay a deposit of 1 ½ times the current value of your car. In our case, not a lot. Costs for the carnet itself are a couple of hundred Euro’s.
You will loose the deposit once you hand in a incomplete carnet. This means if you miss an exit stamp. Only if you can show that your car is destroyed or stolen during the trip you can get your deposit back
Most travel insurances are valid for only a maximum period of six months. So it is very important to read the conditions before you sign anything. Next to a travel insurance you need a medical insurance. Although both can be expensive it is a necessity to have one in case something goes wrong. For the car we have a standard European insurance which covers us all way to Iran. After that we have to buy individual insurances at the border. An insurance for the Indian subcontinent costs 19 us Dollar.
The travel insurance we choose is especially for travellers who travel for a period longer then 6 months. The Europeesche insurance company offerd the best value and conditions for longterm travelling, medical care and theft.
We would like to thank the following persons: Dennis van Heezik, Juriaan Pinkse, Pieter Zuidweg and Randy Lemaire of Design IT, Diederik van Seventer for all his help PC-wise, Marcel and Walter van Groningen for an excellent paintjob of the car, Sjef van Ginneken of the vct2 club for preparing the car and everybody who helps us realising this expedition!
We would also like to thank William from Addictiff for his support making this expedition a success. addictiff.com