We’re half way there!

Warning! Mathematicians, geophysicists and obsessive statistics fanatics, look away now. Avert your eyes from the guesstimations and suppositions that lay ahead. The rest of you, just bear in mind that a lot of the facts and statistics in this blog post are from our own subjective experiences on the road, or were pulled from various websites, chat rooms and your hairdresser’s cousin’s former cricket coach with absolutely no attempts to verify them. Simply enjoy the story…

Ever since leaving London, we’ve been chasing sunrises. East, east, east – Eastern Europe, across Russia and through Siberia – in fact, even when we ran out of land at Vladivostok, we took to the sea and continued on.

This means that we’ve actually been travelling faster than the Earth’s surface is spinning through space. Try it. Walk just a few paces to the east and you’ll be doing it too. Cool, huh?

Well we’ve been travelling a damn long way eastward, roughly between 45 and 55 degrees latitude, where the surface velocity of the Earth is about 1,200km/h, also in an easterly direction. That’s much faster than a cruising 747 (about 900km/h) but not as fast as a hoverboard hoax is revealed. As we’ve moved across the Eurasian supercontinent, it’s been fast enough and far enough for us to greet the sun slightly earlier each day, and so it set behind us a little earlier too. In short, our days got shorter.

This means we’ve lost time. We’ve crossed 11 time zones moving east, and so 11 hours of our lives have been sapped away by our journey. Which is a pity really, because we needed those. With so many blog posts to write, films to shoot and so much more of the world to explore, we really would have put those hours to good use.

All that has stopped now though. Japan was as far East as we’ve needed to go on our Epic Journey, and it’s been the longest period of time spent in just one time zone. It was nice. It was even long enough to get over our trainlag – which, by the way, does exists and can be just as bad as jetlag.

And now, for the very first time, we find ourselves heading directly west. We know it’s directly west because our ship, the Utopia, is sailing just about dead-on into the setting sun, and it’s damn well spectacular (we have a great time laps sequence of it).

We’re sailing from Shimonoseki on the western edge of Japan, across the East China Sea to Qingdao, home of China’s most famous beer, and it seems like a good time to sum up the Epic Journey so far, to take stock and to look ahead over a nice cup of tea.

Funnily enough, when we checked our proposed route against the mileage we’ve already done, we discovered that this new change of direction also signifies another major milestone of our trip. We’ve travelled, give or take, about 17,100 or so km over land and sea from Hyde Park in London, and our proposed route from there to Hyde Park Sydney will total roughly 34,400 km.

Somewhere between Japan and China, in the middle of the calm East China Sea under a sensational sunset, we reached the halfway point of our Epic Journey. Aaah…

And what a fantastic first half we’ve had. Seeing the world, catching up with old friends and making brand-new ones across the breadth of the planet, all while chasing down content to knock your socks off, has been utterly brilliant.

When you boil it down the goal of travel could be summed up by the feeling you get when you can genuinely say to yourself: “Wow, I’ve never seen/done anything like that before.” Travel makes this sensation possible, and the Rat & Dragon crew has been lucky enough to encounter this many times over so far. For a summary of the highlights and lowlights to date, see the graphic novel style illustration above, all are images from the Epic Journey.

And the best bit about all this? Well, we have plenty of adventure in store. It’s only halfway, after all…