We’re Emma Nicholas and Brendan Fletcher. This travel blog, kindly hosted by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, chronicles our attempt to walk 3000 kilometres along the Great Wall of China.
In a few days we’ll strap on our packs and take the first steps on our journey. We’re planning to walk a continuous route from the wall’s western end at Jiayuguan to its eastern end at Shanhaiguan. If all goes well, our trip should take five or six months.
For the past few months we’ve been immersed in planning and logistics. Ten months ago neither of us could say hello in Chinese; now, after months of tutoring and study and moving to Beijing for classes – well, at least we can say hello. We’ve read up on the wall’s history, met with people experienced in traveling in rural China, fretted over getting all the right gear, spent hours in the gym.
Brendan practicing his characters
At times it’s felt like our preparations were overwhelming the reality of the trip, and we were losing sight of why we set out to do this in the first place. But there’s nothing to focus the mind like a huge pile of gear laid out on the ground.
Just like home
What you see in that mess will define the routines of our daily life for the next half year. We’ll cook on the little camp stove, sleep in our tent, and wear the clothes that in just a few weeks will have dust ground into the material and the beginnings of an aroma that is best left undescribed.
Right now we’re weighing our gear and trying to eliminate what we don’t need. Going through our equipment brings a tangibility to the trip. It’s starting to seem more like an imminent reality rather than a vague dream.
Over the next six months we will update this site with stories, photos, and for the real geeks among you, stats and weather information (woo hoo!). Frequency of posts will depend on internet access, but we’re hoping for a couple times a week.
For more information about our route and some very important disclaimers and preemptive attempts to cover our backsides in case we’re in over our heads, click on the “Our Route” tab above.
If you’d like to contact us or give us feedback on the site, you can click on the comments link on any post. We know from reading some of the fantastic travel blogs out there that blog readers can sustain travelers through difficult times. So if you’d like to leave a word of encouragement, we’d appreciate that too. We’re sure there will be times when we’ll need it.