You are quite a few to ask for some news about how the project is going. Therefore, it is time for me to do a little recap for you, and share my feelings about the evolution of the preparation.
Let’s split this into the different points I am working on at the moment :
Paperwork / administration :
Because everything has to start with authorizations and an incredible amount of paperwork, let’s get right into it. Administration. The core of our society. What would we do without it ? As useful as it can be frustrating, it is the first step to every action.
I started with the renewal of my international driver’s license, without which is would be impossible to do anything at all.
Then, I will have to ask for an international document called “Carnet de Passage en Douane”, which is a sort of passport for any vehicle. A vehicle, taken out of its original country, must have a sort of guarantee to make sure it will not be sold anywhere else. That is the reason why you get a Carnet. To get it, you have to fill a form and send it to the Automobile Club of the country where your vehicle is registered, and pay a really expensive fee, that will be kept as a bond (the price will depend on the vehicle and which countries you will be crossing – for our project, it will cost 3’500 euros). That bond will be used to cover the import / export taxes, in case you were to leave your vehicle in a different country. It is a mandatory paper for most of non-Europeen countries. It also makes the entry at the borders much easier.
The next step will be the visas : countries of the EU won’t make any trouble, but the rest will have to go through official demands. Some countries, for example, require an official invitation letter from the Government to be able to get into. And this is why it is important to have very good contacts all over the world.
Finally, I have asked for a SIRET number for the association, which is mandatory to ask for subventions from the towns, region, and country councils.
The sponsorship hunting is reaching its peek. The proposal has been sent to more than a hundred different organizations and companies : shops, garages, distributors, services.. Having only little experience with marketing, I learn day by day the tough reality of the thing. Lots of people seem really interested about the project and want to contribute, but most already have their 2015 budget closed and fully used. However, we received a few encouraging emails that should get us somewhere. We will keep you updated on that.
The motorcycle is currently being serviced at the garage. I took it for a medium distance run, fully equipped, in order to check the reliability and how well it can handle it the highways. It was also a good time to test the GPS tracker on longer distances. Very good results for the moment, with a precise itinerary on Google Maps.
Myanmar (Burma) :
A few special words about Myanmar. Previously called Burma, that country only re-opened its borders for tourism a little while ago, and getting into it with a vehicle is still a really complicated step. The entry requires a special invitation from the Government, as well as the services of a local guide company. Some zones are forbidden, and the rules are really strict. Getting into Myanmar and crossing it solo cannot be done, as it is necessary to form groups of usually 8 people minimum. Fortunately, I found a group that will be crossing the country from India to Thailand on the 15th of October 2015, in 9 days. Very good news, as it gives a bit of structure to the project with the dates, having to be at the right place at the right moment.
Talking about dates, a lot of you are asking me when I will be ready for the big departure. It is still hard for the moment to get a proper date, but I want to be ready by the end of June. It will be the best time of the year to leave, in order to get the best weather conditions on the way. Leaving by the end of June will also allow me to be on time to cross Myanmar.
Marketing / Promotion :
I would like to thank Le Repaire des Motards for publishing an article about the project (link). We hope that we will receive even more support from the medias soon. I also started to contact a few shops selling Indonesian products. The idea is to set up some little stands on the way to promote the association and raise money by selling them.
Thank you again for your support, and stay connected for more information soon.