Getting visas prepared

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
Trip End Jan 20, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I've now been home for nearly four months working and preparing for my trip coming up.  It will consist of 7 months of travel and 25 countries.  I loved living at home and sleeping in my own bed every night and saving money.  It was nice.  In the next 7 months, I will spend at least one month on overnight planes and buses along with probably sharing a room wtih people who probably have sex and snore loudly another month of it.  Nevertheless, I'm excited.  I will start my trip in Santiago Chile in less than two weeks and cross over into Argentina, up to Bolivia over to Paraguay, down to Argentina and back to Chile, then home for a week, to Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, home again for 3 days, then gone for good for another 5 months and will not be returning to USA.  I'll be ending in Australia or New Zealand and that will depend on where I find work.  Hopefully Australia.  I'll start that long segment of my around the world trip in Svalbard, which is an independent terroritory of Norway near the North Pole and then to the mainland of Norway, Finland, down to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, then over to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, crossing over the Black Sea and into Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrygzstan, China, Philippines, Guam, Micronesia and finally Australia.  Most of it will be done ovrland by bus. 
It has took me four months to get prepared for this trip with visas and planning.  I willneed visas before arrival to get into 8 of these countries and I only have six of them now.  I was able to get Belarus by finding someone online to invite me to the country.  A lot of people teased me and where like saying you basically bribed someone to invite you to your country.  They said if it was that hard to get  a visa there, it can't be safe.  I can get visa on arrival in Ukraine, visa on arrival in Turkey and Armenia.  I had two options of visas for Azerbaijan, this was a transit visa good for 3 days or $140 for normal tourist visa, so I figured that I would just go through it fast.  Uzbekistan visa was not hard to get.  I did not need a letter of invitation for it.  I did not need a letter of invitation for Kazakhstan, Kyrygstan either and they were quite simple to get.  It was just a repetitive process of getting forms printed off, pictures taken, iteneraries submitted, cashiers checks from banks, self adressed envelopes from the post office.  It was not so hard to do these, but just really repetive and time consuming.  It could have been a lot worse.  I was only denied from China and I can get that in a lot of cities on this trip where they have an embassy.  I guess you have to have an agency get you a visa for China.  The toughest visa to obtain will be Turkmenistan.  There are two options for Turkmenistan visas.  I have to be in a tour group, which could mean bodyguard or transit visa.  The transit visa, I have to have visas for the countries before and after and I already have those, so it should not be a big deal.  I also have to get this one in either Armenia, Azerbaijan or Ukraine.  Hopefully everything will be alright with that one.  A lot of people have told me if a country is that hard to enter, then it can't be safe.  I have heard it is not safe, but I do not think I'll be in trouble if I do not go off the beaten track.  It should be interesting!
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