I Need Your Help

To anybody who may stumble across this, please offer up some comments if have you a second. I and an indeterminate number of friends are planning an epic adventure which is described below. In the course of doing this we also hope to film a documentary of some sorts and are planning to write a grant proposal/prospectus to submit for consideration at various providers. My question for you, the reader, is: what should our unifying theme be?

A)    An exploration of youth culture around the world, considering both political, economic, and social dynamics?

B)     A documentary about the oft unmentioned social network, Couchsurfing.org, which, despite its muted notoriety, provides an incredible tool for meeting people and bridging cultures while avoiding entirely the crass commercialization of its larger social networking peers.

C)     A straight up travel documentary. Cool places, fun bars, sites, sights, and sounds kinda thing?

D)    An exploration of the differential impact globalization is having, a kind of compare/contrast?

E)     Something different and better than the above?

I need you help because I have never attempted to write a proposal for a documentary film project and because I am lost amid a ideational fog that has as yet revealed nothing coherent to me. So tell me what you think!



Date Range: Undetermined

Length: 4-6 months, roughly


Starting Point: Lisbon, Portugal

Ending Point: Beijing, China


Mission: Travel across the entire Eurasian continent

This document is intended to provide a rough sketch of a trip from Lisbon, Portugal to Beijing, China via plane, train, taxi, foot travel, draft animal, boat, hovercraft, armored vehicle, or any and all forms of transportation necessitated throughout. Recipients are encouraged to work directly into the framework provided below. Formatting need not adhere to the present configuration as a finalized itinerary and trip outline will be adjusted to ensure conformity.

Participants are encouraged to seek out information through any available means. Links to several electronic travel planning resources have been included, however, you are encouraged to add to this list, whether it be media specific to a region or country, or a general outlet of information. Any friends, family, or acquaintances that you have in the countries listed would be great resources. Researchers, authors, government agencies, professional associations, independent travelers, and basically any person who has experience with countries listed may also prove valuable sources of information and can potentially offer in-country help.

This is not a trip for the faint of heart. This is not a trip for hotel snobs. This is not a trip for those who pack ten bags when preparing for a three day jaunt to NYC, or a week long sloshfest in Cozumel. This isn’t a trip at all: it is a journey between two ends of the Earth. Across the worn cobblestones of Old World Europe; through ports and cozy beach towns on the Mediterranean where thousands of years of history and custom shape the contemporary lives of residents nestled among the ancient buildings; through the clannish peasantry of eastern Europe, where an end to the Cold War began a headlong rush towards the chaotic world of western capitalism; over the Caucasus mountains and into the mysterious, secretive, myth shrouded and cloistered kingdoms of Central Asia, carved from the once great Persian empire;  up, into, and over the legendary, breathtaking, alien landscapes of the “Roof of the World”, the highest mountains on the planet – the Himalayas; and a long trek across a rising superpower, the second largest country in the world, communist China. Our exploits will be told for generations to come in circles of intrepid adventurers. Our story will resonate within the collective human imagination as a paradigmatic tale of bravery, cunning, and finesse. What we do shall echo in eternity.

More Seriously:

A trip of this sort is possible. The primary obstacle is arranging visas according to projected dates that we will be in each country. I of course am open to any and all suggestions, ideas, etc. Whether we make it all the way to Beijing or decide to go only as far as say, Slovenia, is something to be considered although I would love to make the entire trip and might ultimately try to do so even if it meant traveling solo after a certain point. Anything is really possible and this document should be understood merely as a planning device, a way to collect and organize information relevant to a trip from Lisbon to Beijing. I know it might sound crazy, and it probably would not be 100% fun and games. After Georgia, from Azerbaijan through Tajikistan, it’s probably going to be a lot like traveling through an alien world, with alien cultures, and alien customs.

Despite how crazy and daunting it might seem I hope you both really do consider trying to make the whole trip. My deliberate hyperbole from above aside, an adventure like this would most likely be a seminal life event, providing knowledge, global perspective, self awareness, and self confidence. Again, it won’t be a cake walk. We will get mad at each other. Plans will be disrupted. Officials will harass or extort us. We will face a thousand inconveniences of all shapes and sizes. But remember, that is not a huge departure from our lives here in the US. Statistically the US is probably more dangerous than almost anywhere we would travel.


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