My hovercraft is full of eels…
March 9, 2011

On Wednesday I leave for Siberia…

…and how often can you say that?

When I broached the subject with my wife she was very understanding.  “I want to go to Siberia,” I said.  “I want to make the journey without going on an aircraft and to gain a true sense of the size of the Earth.  I want to travel from our house in North London and go all the way to Beijing, by train!”

“I think you may need to change at Finsbury Park.” she said.

She was right too.  Grange Park; Finsbury Park; Kings Cross-St Pancras; Brussels; Koln; Moscow; Irkutsk; Ulan Bator and Beijing – about 5,500 miles and definitely outside the Oyster Zone.  Along the way I hope to research a novel, walk in the Taiga, go dog sledding, meet the descendants of Ghengis Khan and have an adventure (and write it down).

So, now I am getting ready to leave on Wednesday.  I have filled in 29 pages of visa application forms; I’ve made the spare bedroom look like a distribution centre for ‘Snow and Rock’ and I’ve learned the Mongolian for ‘my heart beats only for you’ and ‘the lady will pay for everything’ (which, between them should cover a multitude of situations).

But of course this is only possible because many other people have helped me to make it happen; the friends who encouraged me, the colleagues at work who will stand in for me and the kids who will both behave impeccably for their mother whilst I am gone (remember I’m only 5,500 miles away so don’t make me come back there!).  To all of you – thank you and I hope you’ll read some of this blog.

But, above all, the person who has been most influential in this plan is my wife Carol, who has encouraged me and cajoled me and generally stressed the importance of not allowing life to drift past without living out some of your dreams.  And, of course, she is right again.

So to her I say “Minii zurkh zovkhon cinii I toloo tsokhildg!”.


  1. LYNDA SMITH says:

    Good luck Alan. You probably don’t remember me but I used to baby sit you When you lived in Perivale. I was married to your Uncle Aidan. I will be buying your book when it comes out. Keep safe but most of all enjoy your travels.


    • Allan says:

      Wow! Hello Lynda – yes of course I remember you – I came to your wedding! Its great to hear from you and thanks for your good wishes – it would be good to make contact when I get back from this jaunt.



  2. Mike Sheridan says:

    Glad you opened up for comments Allan and great to read your tales – and in elegant prose. Will text you this week.

  3. Your nameStav says:

    Your comment
    Hey mate, you are truly blessed, enjoy the experience, live it, breath it, FEEL it.
    I’m soooo jealous and sooooo looking forward to hearing & reading all about it.
    Be happy & be safe, Stav.

  4. Phillip says:

    well hey just stumbled upon this site while looking at pics of siberia on googles, man u are just like me adventures. I just came from taiwan 2 weeks ago. my start Miami,Fl my home, then flew to chicago and as a suprise flew over canada north pass the hudson bay, artic circle, then siberia which i couldnt get my face off the window, it was like those james bond movies and reading the history of the bolsheviks and the gulags, then southward to mongolia alot of mountains and deserts and many small villages seperated from each other. and to shanghai. but would like to take a train from moscow to beijing u can see alot more that way. well how was ur trip?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *