RSS feed

LIKE THIS WEBSITE?

So send me few $$ I will use toward the hosting of the blog. Thanks! Via Paypal.
GET UPDATES ON
EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish

ABOUT THIS BLOG

In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

Visited countries

Calendar

October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

MONTHLY ARCHIVES

THE ROUTE

Click to see the map




 









  • Not exactly a land of milk and honey

    Posted on June 20th, 2010 Nicolas 93 comments
    Not much gas stations in the desert between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

    Not much gas stations in the desert between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

    The last week has been one of the most difficult since I arrived in Africa. Once again, what was supposed to be a straight forward affair – going from Ethiopia to Djibouti – turned out into a nightmare.

    Every afternoon, rain starts in Addis, to stop in the evening.

    Every afternoon, rain starts in Addis, to stop in the evening.

    The road going to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, was an easy road, if you let on the side the perpetual danger of animals and human in the middle of the road. Ethiopians, like Kenyans, are driving like there is no tomorrow, and you have to be extra vigilant while driving.

    Wim’s campsite, in the center of the city.

    Wim’s campsite, in the center of the city.

    In Addis, I had a very pleasant time at Wim’s Holland House, a campsite located in the center of the city. The place serves as a meeting point for all the overlanders using the east road to cross Africa. A bunch of people, mostly Europeans, spend time here waiting for visas, spare parts for their vehicles, or just to rest, drink beer and watch the World Cup. I watch the disappointing performance of the French, and I am the only one on the American side while they play, with many British bikers around. Addis is an OK place, and you can easily walk in the city, if you don’t mind people constantly asking you for money.
    After a couple of days here, I decided to leave and get to Djibouti. Under the impression that French citizens don’t need a visa to go there, I didn’t bother stopping by the embassy.

    There is always something on the road. You have to be extra cautious.

    There is always something on the road. You have to be extra cautious.

    It is a two-day journey across the desert to get to the border. Two roads are going to Djibouti. One of them is very good and used by many trucks. The other one is a terrible gravel road. Of course I did choose the first option, and left Addis happy, not suspecting I will end up not only taking the first road, but also the second, with no success whatsoever in getting to Djibouti.

    There are just accidents everywhere. I consider myself lucky until now.

    There are just accidents everywhere. I consider myself lucky until now.

    I thought I knew bout hot weather. I didn’t. It was horrible to cross the desert. The temperature was horribly high, at around 45C, the air hazy, no shade anywhere, and a strong wind was blowing boiling air. The sky was gray, and the sun seemed huge.

    A city in the middle of the desert where I chose to open my tent behind a restaurant.

    A city in the middle of the desert where I chose to open my tent behind a restaurant.

    I traveled with my head wrapped in a towel, and windows closed to avoid the hot wind. I have no AC in the truck, and doubt it would have helped. The temperature didn’t go down at night, and the wind shook the tent endlessly, making sleep impossible.

    The flat landscape let you battle with strong winds.

    The flat landscape let you battle with strong winds.

    The following day I made it to the border, barely alive. I drove for about 600 miles (1,000 km), and you can imagine my disappointment to learn from the immigration officer that I would not be allowed in the country. If you do fly into the country, you automatically get a visa, but it is another story when traveling by road.

    Some area of the world were never meant for human presence, and I wonder why I am here.

    Some area of the world were never meant for human presence, and I wonder why I am here.

    Of course, as you can imagine, I did everything I could to have the officials let me get into the country. I begged them for hours, spent 24 hours lobbying them, even sleeping in front of the immigration building. I tried everything with no success. I had no more Ethiopian money, and had to pay US$10 to place two calls to the French embassy in Djibouti, only to have to hear that they didn’t care about my case.

    A night at the border crossing.

    A night at the border crossing.

    So this horrible trip was done for nothing. I was suffering now from heat exhaustion, and had to keep moving. The immigration officer mentioned to me that there may be a way to Djibouti through tracks in the desert. After going back south 200 km (125 mi), I tried the track, shown on no maps.

    The road close to the Djibouti.

    The road close to the Djibouti border.

    I have to admit, I was really afraid to take this direction. If I had any mechanical problem, I would be in the middle of nowhere, risking the worst in the extremely hostile environment. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the track finished with a collapsed bridge after 60 km (38 mi). Once again I had to backtrack.
    The next solution was to try to drive back south-east and go to Dire Dawa to get a Djibouti visa at the consulate there. Another two-day trip.

    Back in colder temperatures.

    Back in colder temperatures.

    After one day of driving, I was back in a colder area, a hilly region where tea and coffee grow. I had a nice fresh night, unfortunately just on the side of the road, as I could not find a proper area to camp. A shower would be a dream after all these days.
    Late morning, I was showing up happy at the Djibouti consulate in Dire Dawa, taking for granted I would have no problem getting my visa. “But”, I was told, “the consul is in Djibouti, and will only be back in a week”.

    Donuts in the mountain.

    Donuts in the mountain.

    Of course he was the only one who could sign for the visa. Another lost fight. The consulate employee advised me to go to the border, and explain the immigration officials my situation. Surely, she told me they will let me through. At this effect, I had to get to the second border crossing at the end of a terrible 250 km gravel road.
    It took six hours to complete this road. The heat was terrible again, and the gravel on the road was so sharp it took a real toll on my tires. I was able to fix two puncture, but one of the back tire exploded, making necessary the use of my spare wheel. No there was no space for mistakes. If another tire blew, I will be stuck there forever. In addition, the area was not very safe, and as I was changing the tire, a group of Somali illegal immigrants, roaming the desert, took an interest in my possessions and gather around the truck, trying to put their hand on anything they could. I was constantly locking and unlocking the doors to grab tools and work under the truck. This episode I will remember as being one of the few times I felt in danger since the beginning of the trip.

    Another day, another desert.

    Another day, another desert.

    But I made it to the border alive, driving as slow as 30 km/h (20 mph) to avoid a will be catastrophic tire blow up.
    Of course I was decidedly in no luck, and this time Ethiopians officials kicked me out of the border area, in no gentle way, asking me to please get lost. They would no let me speak to the Djibouti officers, arguing I had no visa and had to go back.
    In rage, and in the middle of the night, I decided to turn back and drive the entire dirt road back to Dire Dawa. There was anyway no way of sleeping anywhere in the desert where I would have been exposed to Somali gangs.
    At 4 a.m. I was back in the city. The trip going back was slow, as I just went easy and slow, listening to an audio book, smoking Yemeni cigarettes and trying to not let the adventures of the week get to me. When you are alone and face all these difficulties, it is hard to not be down and suffer for the lack of luck. I know that failing is not an option, but this week, for the first time, I did wonder at times why in the world I would have left the comfort of my life to end up in such place and situation…
    Exhausted, I slept few hours behind the wheel and woke up at 8:30 a.m., surrounded by people looking at me.

    Once again across the mountains to get back to Addis.

    Once again across the mountains to get back to Addis.

    I started the truck, and drove back all the way to Addis where I arrived at 5 p.m. I will have to buy new tires there, as mine are in poor shape. My shock absorbers look like they are gone as well, with oil leaking out of them. Because of the heat, one of my car batteries is dead for good I believe, and some other electronic equipment like the GPS or even my iPod suffered greatly as well. I am in poor shape myself, feeling sick in the last two days, probably another consequence of the unsupportable temperatures. I had to unplug the fridge, which couldn’t make it anymore. In addition, I wasted hundred of dollars in fuel trying to get to Djibouti.

    Back in Addis for a busy week.

    Back in Addis for a busy week.

    I imagine I will be pretty busy this next week. I plan to get the most urgent things fixed on the truck, and get few visas. The ideal will be to get Djibouti, Yemen and Saudi Arabia visa, so I will not have to worry about it later on.
    So as you may have understand, the last week has not been easy. I will need a little bit of luck and some good news soon to overcome all the difficulties and do more than just try to survive.

    I have been going down last week, looking forward to good news now...

    I have been going down last week, looking forward to good news now...

    Be Sociable, Share!

93 Responses to “Not exactly a land of milk and honey”

  1. Boy My friend, this sounds like the worse report yet- since day one. I know you must push on. But please do it in prayer and the leading of your Holy spirit. I will pray as well

  2. Joanne in New Jersey

    Nick,

    I’ve been following you since the beginning – be safe. Hope you can give yourself a little time to breath.

    Hope someday I’ll buy your book and have you sign it.

    Joanne in NJ

  3. Please never feel how felt when you were driving back to Adis. All the things you mentioned last week was more than anyone sitting and typing in front of a computer could comprehend. But, you are a courageous man and never forget the hoarding you saw before “if there is no way God will make a way for you”

  4. Janice - Canada

    Everything will work out OK for you I am sure. I am so glad that you updated your blog today. For some reason I was worried about you since your last message. Get rested & repairs made to the truck and the necessary Visas, then head on out again. Just remember that you have many people following you and we care about your well-being. This past week was a learning experience…

  5. Glenn Upton-Fletcher

    Hey Nick

    What a troubled story. Good to here that you made it out safe. I am concerned about the same aspets you have just been through. Will keep your experience in mind.

    Cheers

    Glenn

  6. Bro! That’s INSANE!!!

  7. Dont worry, every thing will get resolved. Stay strong. Our best wishes are with you.

    Most people will spend a lifetime contemplating a trip like this, but you are living it. NO Regrets!

  8. NICK,

    SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE HAD A ROUGH WEEK…HANG IN THERE…!!!

    REMEMBER..”IF IT WAS EASY ..EVERYBODY WOULD DO IT !!”

    KEEP THE JOURNEY GOING..EILEEN AND I LEFT YOU A GIFT ON PAYPAL..

    BUT GAS AND MOVE ON!!!

    CHRIS&EILEEN

  9. The visa requirements for some of these countries are just ridiculous. Oh you can fly in to the country and be fine, but if you drive we don’t want you. That’s silly. I hope you get all the paperwork you need in Addis Ababa and be sure to give some TLC to the LC. Good luck for the rest of your travels.

  10. Keep up the trek, Nick! It sounds like you’ve hit a really big patch of bad luck, but think of all that you’ve done so far. I will continue to read about your adventures, hope that you get out of Addis Ababa w/o too much of pain and expense, and that you’re feeling healthy soon. On to bigger & better things, huh? My thoughts are with you!

  11. Dear Nick:

    What an ordeal. The title of your blog “The year of living dangerously” is very fitting as I read the all that you are experiencing with negotiating Ethiopia. I especially liked the line where you referenced leaving the comforts of your life back home…./ As a parent, my first reaction was to say, “well you know, you don’t have to do this and head back home”. Given the miles already covered there is no such thing as failing, at least I don’t how anyone could interpret you decisions as failure. But, again this is the parent in me thinking out loud. Nick, people from around the world have you in their daily thoughts and prayers, so you are covered; by the Grace of God, go Nick. I believe some good news is just around the corner. ML and our best,
    -Joy and Paul

  12. OMG! Nick! You are one brave soul!
    I pray things will look up for you very soon!

  13. Courage !! le “pire” est bientot derriere toi !!!

  14. I hope that your luck changes for the better soon, but at least you are safe and in a city. Keep your head high, there are lots of us rooting for you!!!

  15. Nic, i’ve been following your journey since the darian gap. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write down and share your adventure. Your writing reflects how drained you are. Maybe Addis is not too bad a place to recharge your batteries (proverbially). I’ve been there for a bit and it’s not all good, but beyond the “ferengi! ferengi!” there’s some upsides: super-fresh coffee and thick, cold fruit juices. My point: take it easy, you’ve still got a long way to go and maybe time seems to run away, but it’s your trip, your adventure. Don’t forget to kick back for a bit and enjoy it.

    oh, and stay clear of the baby-blue cabs: lice in the seats!

    S

  16. Nicholas, be safe and well. Will be thinking of you this week, hoping you get what you need to continue your expedition. I love your posts!

  17. Wim,Columbus,Oh

    Here’s some good news,Nick, if you’re a golf fan: as I read this I was watching your countryman Gregory Havret put up a very good performance at Pebble Beach to be 2nd at this point in the US Open. 3 holes to go; Good luck with the visa and red tape!

  18. Don’t let this get you down Nick. You need a little R&R after that crushing heat and the visa disappointments to rejuvenate your entire self. Those are the type of things that can quickly steal your spirit. You don’t strike me as the type to give up. Give yourself some time in Addis to relax (take a shower! smile) and get all your visas lined up so that hopefully you don’t run into these border situations in these next countries you’ll be traveling through. God knows they are not going to be the easist countries for you to be passing through either, but if you’ve got your visas in line you can focus on the daily tasks at hand. You are doing something amazing. I don’t know if you feel that every day because of the trials you’ve experienced lately, but those of us that follow you know it. Be safe and forever godspeed.

  19. Nick,

    I was already nervous since it had been a bit longer than expected since your last posting.

    The journey at this point seems at least challenging/impossible..

    I wish I had some words of inspiration but please be careful and remember these are experiences that are not to be experienced by most. However, not worth your life.

    Be careful and I am praying to hear from you again….

  20. Oh my goodness.
    That sounds so stressful and quite difficult.
    What terrible luck to have to turn around and repeat the same roads, so many times.

    Did you have any idea it would be so trying to get a visa to get through?

    Hopefully your next week will be better and less challenging.

  21. That’s quite an adventure you had recently. I hope you’re able to make the necessary repairs for your truck and secure your visas to continue on your journey.

  22. Wow, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt/killed! This area of the world isn’t known to be very safe! I really think you need to fix your A/C as the heat is only going to get worse as you go through the Middle East! Only two days of 45 degrees heat makes you like this. Imagine going on for a week! Get that A/C fixed and get to Pakistan alive!

    My prayers are with you.

    Godspeed!

  23. I’m following you since the beginning, what an adventure :)
    I’m glad you made last week
    wish you LUCK
    Simon

  24. I read this with amazement.
    You sir, are a much better (and tougher) man than I.

  25. Hi Nick,

    I have been following your blog since the inception and truely admir you. Sorry for all the troubles you are facing. My suggestion is why don’t you try Eriteria and from there to Sudan or are you trying to cross to Yemen from Djibouti?

    Good luck with ur travel.

  26. Hang in there Nick!!!! Don’t give up. You can do this. You are an inspiration to so many. Stay the course.

  27. hey nick, sounds like a rough go of it this week. If you find a Toyota dealer, the AC may just need to be recharged to work again. They can put on some new shocks as well. If you can get a new set of factory Toyota shocks they are your best bet, and not expensive (in the US anyway). Good luck out there, mike

  28. You’ll be telling the story of this week for the rest of your life. Stay strong.

    Effie
    Toronto, Canada

  29. I’ve been reading your postings ever since October. I know that we (your readers) can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through and what you’re going through, but just know that our thoughts are with you!
    I’m praying for your safety and for your ability to get all the way around the world.
    When is your estimate for making it back to the states?
    God bless,
    Kristen – Ohio, USA

  30. Nicolas – Your experience in Ethiopia has been harrowing to say the least. Best of luck and here’s hoping things start looking up soon! Stay safe.

  31. Thank you so much for letting us know how you are. I enjoy seeing your updates. So sorry to hear about the misadventures. Keep your head up. These are memories you will look back on and laugh about years from now.

    Wishing you a safe trip,

    Jennifer
    Alabama, USA

  32. I love reading about your adventure. What you have done so far is a major accomplishment in itself. Every trip has a point where you hit rock bottom. I had that moment when I sprained my ankle in a pothole on a rural road at 3 a.m. trying to find my guesthouse in a small town in India. Now it’s a great story, but at the time I was ready to quit. Remember, it can only go up from here, and it will be worth it! Hang in there!

  33. Wow, you sure went through a lot this week – good for you for sticking through it, though it was full of disappointments

  34. Hi Nick,

    PLEASE don’t give up yet! I know good news will eventually arrives for you. Just hang in there :-)

    God bless you and please stay safe.

    Wan

  35. Amazing you found the time to take photos! Godspeed….my prayers are with you!

  36. Jason in Dallas

    Nick,

    I’ve been reading your adventures since last November. I decided to write this to let you know how much your efforts are appreciated. Like many of your readers, I admire your courage and fortitude in the face of the unknown, the unpredictable, and the truely dangerous. This journey will change your perspective on people and the world in general, mainly due to the disappointing, frustrating and frightening moments you have already encountered and will encounter again.

    So, if it helps, I want to encourage you to keep going. Take a deep breath before speaking to the border officials, take care in who you trust, and above all stay positive!

    Jason

  37. Have followed you from the beginning,Nick,
    Must admit I was some concerned the last couple weeks.
    The photos are great, Places I’ll never see only through your eyes
    Take care ,stay strong and GOD BLESS YOU…

  38. Hi Nick,

    I’ve been following you since day one. I’m sooo sorry to hear about what you went through this past week. Keep your head up and just remember that everything happens for a reason. Maybe this happened to help prepare you.

    I wish you the best!

  39. Nick, Your parents must be so proud of you and yet so worried….How often do you get to contact them? I can’t wait until you are someplace “safe” again. I am holding my breath! I am sorry you are not feeling well…how miserable….

    Kathleen (North Dakota)

  40. Nic,

    I’m sorry to hear you had so many troubles trying to make it to Djibouti. My friends and I are anticipating your arrival and can’t wait to sit down and have a beer and chat about your experiences. I’m sure it will be nice for you to be in the presence of some English speaking Americans and of course a few French around town as well…lol. Good luck this week on getting to Djibouti. There will be a few Heinekens and some A/C waiting for you…as long as the power doesn’t go out…(sometimes a problem here). Godspeed to you!

    Dave

  41. Podgorsek family

    Oh Nicolas, what a tale you are living!! At the moment it is CRAZY hard, but the story will be one you will never tire of remembering.
    Take some time, get things fixed on the truck, rest up yourself and recharge you and your AC. I have a feeling the scarey moments haven’t all passed you by, but you sure are handling them well.
    You do have people all over the world who think about you every day and wish you well. You may feel alone, but we all think of you, worry about you and some of us send you money so you can get the good tires or a night in a hotel with a shower.
    Please be safe Nic, we’re all cheering you on in our little corners of the world!!
    Dan, Lisa & Bryce in Minnesota

  42. Nick, You are on a remarkable journey – well done. However, please reconsider motoring Yemen. Your published route takes you into Sudan. Stay that route. Yemen is not a place for any outsider – it’s real trouble mate. Consider your failed attempt to Dibouti as a “sign”. Maintain course to Sudan. Then Saudi – good luck friend.

  43. Harvey (Naples, FL)

    November, 2009… Nick’s Blog:

    “I was lucky enough to receive a visit from Al Podell, a New Yorker and veteran traveler… Back in the mid-1960s, Al and his friend Harold Stephens circumnavigated the world in a Toyota Land Cruiser. They drove across 42,000 miles and crossed more than 30 countries at a time where it was probably more difficult than today. They wrote a book when they came back, which I bought few years ago. It was a major inspiration for my trip, and I was incredibly surprised when Al agreed to meet with me. He was doubtful I could succeed in my journey, but he gave me valuable advice about my safety…”

    Keep your head up… if you make it you’ll be a hero… if you don’t you’ll be a failure! No matter how many ways the liberal mind tries to spin it… you’ll forever be a looser. If you weren’t going to succeed you should have never ventured out on this road to begin with. This is going to be your one and only shot. One day your children will measure themselves by your success or failure. Don’t let them… or yourself down.

    We’ll all be there when you cross the finish line in body or spirit. Fight on… don’t give in!!!

  44. Remember, even if you may be (physically) alone in the middle of the desert, you’ve got plenty of supporters on here cheering you on! And now you probably will never forget to check a country’s visa requirements ahead of time, so hopefully this situation won’t happen again. This setback will make you a stronger person. It ain’t perfect, but you’re still living the dream!

  45. WOW! What a trip! What persistence you have! Worry about how you’re doing. Take care! J. Z.

  46. Victoria Picard

    Nick,
    You certainly have had it rough as of late! Be safe and I’ll be thinking of you. I left you something on Paypal. I am here to support you and if there is anything you need let me know.

    Sincerely,

    Victoria

  47. All,
    Thanks so much for your support, really needed that right now, and feel way better.
    Here’s a little update. I have no success yet getting a letter from the embassador of djibouti in ethiopia authorizing me to cross the border with my car. The president of ARB USA contacted me and will send me four new shocks to Djibouti, where a friend (David who commented here) will receive them. I can’t take the sudan or kenya route now with my shocks. I have two weeks left on my ethiopian visa. If i can’t get into Djibouti, i will be in some trouble and facing difficult choices. I will let you know as soon as possible what’s going on. And thanks again everybody.

    nick

  48. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Holy Crap!! U are in BF Africa!! instead of BFE. LOL I really liked the advice that that Dr. Joy gave you! Also everyone else that is forging on with you. Get refreshed and try to clear you head a bit. Maybe a good strong drinking nite! It sound like your body and your buddy are wore down, but just like the other times you had truck trouble u certainly forged forward after all the fustration.

    So happy that everyone here lifted your spirits!

    FORGE ON MY FRIEND!!

    Ms. Marti – Nashville, TN

  49. Harvey (Naples)

    Hey Gang,

    To thank the people @ ARB-USA for helping Nick… you can send a message to:

    Jim Jackson
    President, ARB-USA
    JJackson@ARBUSA.com

    I just talked to his AdMin and she gave me the e-dress.

    Cheers,
    Harvey

  50. Glad you are feeling better Nick. Comments from your friends and supporters help me stay positive and not worry so much. Everyone is so positive with passing on their sincere well wishes. You are not alone on any decision. The positive universal energy is real. Now more than any other time I am happy that my colleagues and I had an opportunity to spend quality prayerful time with you in South Africa. Like a prayer you are a daily habit. Thanks for the update. Hugs,
    -joyMaria

  51. Nick,
    Maybe you should point the ambassodor of Djibouti to this website, so he could see the legitimacy of your request. Perhaps he is an adventurous man also. You never know.

  52. Nick.. I so worry about what you are going through and what is yet ahead of you! As a mother I say STOP and come home but after getting to know you through your pictures and writing, I’m sure you will push on. I check on your progress just about every day looking for a post. I am so impressed with you and your courage. Please be careful and I am praying for your safe travel. I also pray your vehicle holds up!

  53. Hang in there Nick. You will make it!!

  54. I wish you good luck and God’s speed in your upcoming days. I can’t even imagine what all these recent troubles you’ve incountered are like for you. Just remember the reason you decided to go on this adventure and hang in there, and keep your sanity! God’s Blessings and BE CAREFUL.

  55. Hi all, new update. After a week going every day at the Djibouti embassy, I think i may be able to get the authorizations I was looking for tomorrow. I got my A/C fixed, and two new tires. I am not looking forward to go back in the desert, but as long as I know I can get into djibouti, I will have the energy.
    Thanks for the support!

  56. Good news indeed! Interesting, I awakened this morning thinking about your A/C and the upcoming desert trek. Our prayers are answered. Will write to ARB-USA as Harvey suggested. Hugs, -joyMaria

  57. I am so happy to read this latest post…Yes! You will make it now! You are awesome! So proud of you~

    Kathleen (North Dakota)

  58. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Nick,
    Just like Dr. JoyMarie said “Good News Will Be Coming Soon”. The endurance you display is more than anyone I have known!!! So glad things are looking up. So glad about the AC, it will make a trip a little more bearable cause this time you will know you are “Getting Close to Being “Out of Africa”.

    Ms. Marti

  59. Karen in Austin

    hi nick,

    it seems to me that a trip does not involve some degree of risk, it can’t be considered an adventure. perhaps it is the sucky moments of an adventure make the good ones even more sublime.

    i’ve been following you from the start. thanks for keeping the dream alive for those of us still chained to our desks! and please know your trip has really made me think about what my own next adventure will be.

    with gratitude for the inspiration you given us all, i wish you continued safe travels.

  60. Sounds like good news! Let’s hope it’s true! Keep an eye on that radiator too, since turning on the A/C will add additional heat load to your cooling system, it might become a problem! If you can get a bigger/better radiator now, I say do it!

    Good luck and post often as we’re all worried!

  61. Marlon Trivino (Corona, CA)

    Nick,

    Great to hear that you got your A/C fixed. This will help you tremendously in your long journey to the upcoming desert countries. Fixing the A/C is a MUST! Your comfort and preventing heat exhaustion are very important when traveling long distances expecially in the desert.

    Good Luck on your future travels. I hope the experiences you had in Ethiopia-Djibouti Border and the back and forth travels won’t happen again.

  62. Nicolas,

    I have been reading since the article came out on your journey in newspapers across this great land.

    Your trials and tribulations are very evident in your latest update.

    Please continue on. Most of the people, including me, could not even attempt the adventure you are embarking on. We read and dream. You are living that dream. Carry on, please… for your readers sake.

    Looking forward to your future book, I am sure will arrive once you finish your mission. I donated some well earned gas money.

    Once again, for your readers and followers, please carry on!

    Geoff

  63. geez, reading parts of the trip puts knots in my stomach. When your tire blew, I really got worried. God is surly protecting you, keep looking up at night at the stars and let Him know that you are trusting Him. Also know you do have alot of us watching you travel, reading your diary and praying that you have a great time and are excited right along with you with what you are doing. To me, when the A/C went…, I would have boarded a plane and come home…, that would be the extend of my suffering.. :) Glad you posted today that things are looking up & will be anxious to see if they finally let you through.

  64. Janice - Canada

    Nick,

    Thanks for both updates. Having the A/C fixed will surely help! I check here daily for updates and to read the comments from others. I will be awaiting your next posting from Djibouti!

  65. Nicolas,

    I have been following your journey since the beginning, but had fallen behind in checking in on you. I am so amazed at what you’ve been through and the courage and conviction that you show us all. Never, ever, feel alone on those roads because so many of us are out here thinking of you and pulling for you every step of the way! You are truly an inspiration and I, too, can hardly wait to read a book full of your adventures. I left a little money at paypal and will try to do so again soon. Please take care and keep the fascinating stories coming our way!

    Britt

  66. This week will be better. Surely it can’t get worse……..can it?

  67. Hi all,
    Spent the day at the embassy again. looks like the letter is ready, waiting to be signed. Same for my visa. With a bit of luck, I will be leaving tomorow, back in the desert. Wish me good luck.

    N

  68. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Nick! thanks so much for the update. I check every morning on your progress, as probably many people do. Good advice from Edwin about the AC, you sure don’t want to experience vapor lock from the heat running the air.

    Ms. Marti~Nashville, TN

  69. Great News Nick, I wish you all the luck in finally getting that Visa. Your story is amazing and I have enjoyed it from the start. Today, what amazes me most is how many wonderful people you have supporting and living their dreams through you. Good Job Nick, keep it up! Next stop Dijbouti!
    Jaime

  70. Marlon Trivino (Corona, CA)

    Great News! Sounds like you are in your way out of Africa.

    Do you already have visas in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria? Or do you already have plans on getting them soon? I just hope you won’t have anymore problems like you had from the past weeks.

    Good Luck and take care on you future travels.

  71. Good luck this time! :) it will work out!

  72. I’ve been following all along Nick – Stick with it and stay strong.

    Godspeed

  73. Hi NIck,

    Is your route in the states written in stone? I would think with the followers you have here in the U.S. we could arrange one hell of a welcome back home party/route with stops just about everywhere. Probably keeping you from ever getting home. Are you game? Further more, I could arrange for a hotel chain to accomodate you through your journey, and who knows what else we can do for you, once again, you game?

    Manolo-Corvette City

  74. Hang in there man ! once out of Africa, things should look better. good luck

  75. Good luck!

  76. Great news about the visa! Travel safe and keep us posted. We’re all pulling for you!

  77. Kick Djibouit’s bouti!

  78. Just checking on your progress, so sorry It’s been a nightmare.
    What I great adventure and something to cherish for the rest of your life.
    I wish you safe uneventful travels!

    Katie in Tn

  79. Hey Nick,

    Stumbled across this blog right about when you started it and have been reading it ever since. Like everyone else has said, Im really impressed with what you are doing and have loved reading along with your travels. You are doing something most people only dream of, I wish you the best in the rest of the trip and thanks again. We are all here reading along with you!

    -Ryan in California

  80. Just arrived in Djibouti, everything went smooth. My parts already arrived as well!

  81. Yea!!!!! Congratulations….you must be elated! I do hope this drive was a lot better than the last one. I am keeping continued positive thoughts for you for all future travels….Keep safe.
    Charlene in Spokane, WA

  82. You made it! woo hoo!!

  83. Thanks for the updates here in the comments section. Lets us know you’re ok in between more detailed postings. Enjoy those beers with your friends in Djibouti. Travel safe!

  84. Glad you made it safe! I was worried about you!

  85. Good News Nick. As one of your followers said, you are almost “out of Africa” . Glad to know that all went smoothly with the journey and with the mechanics of your Land Cruiser. I sense from over 10,000 miles that you know beyond a doubt your family, close friends, new friends and followers are with you in spirit. You are indeed richly blessed and God does indeed smile upon the faithful. What a calling! Nick, we can see the light at the end of your tunnel, and as Monolo suggested, many of us wouldn’t hestitate arranging a huge homecoming on your behalf in November. Take care, and many blessings your way.
    -joyMaria

  86. I’ve been following your blog since before you left New York, and what you”ve accomplished so far has been nothing short of amazing. I love the pictures and all of the descriptions, and hope someday to see many of these places for myself. There were bound to be snags and nightmarish problems, but in the end, you’re the one who gets to say “I drove around the world.” Good luck with the road ahead, and congratulations on making it into Djibouti!

    Amber

  87. Nic,

    I’ve been praying for you since I first read this piece, and am happy to see you just responded to someone’s “tweet”. You have MANY, MANY people pulling and praying for you—from around the world. I know that’s of little comfort when you’re in your trials alone, but perhaps it will help you when you’re past them and can look back to see how many of us were thinking of you and praying for you then. Hold on, friend. Hold on. We who are living vicariously through you care deeply for your safety and your spirit. Remember the only rush we feel is that which we place on ourselves. If you need to stop and rest, please do. Warmest regards always!

  88. Woot!! Good news indeed!

  89. “I did wonder at times why in the world I would have left the comfort of my life to end up in such place and situation…”

    man do I know that feeling. i hope parts aren’t too difficult to come by. get the Beast back in shape!

  90. Nick,
    I have been intrigued to read your adventures and challenges in your border crossings and visa experiences.
    It reminded me that I believe the most difficult visa to get is a US Visa where the Visa regulations assume that anyone who is applying for a visitor visa really intends to stay in the US.

    For example, I got to know the owner of a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City who wanted to visit the US to see her daughter graduate from community college and her son graduate from high school in San Diego. She had applied twice and paid a non refundable fee of $200 for each filing and was rejected. The US Consulate thought that because she was a widow and her two children were in the US, she would not return. After writing a letter to the Consulate on her behalf that explained that she owned a hotel that employed 5 people, that her children were returning to help her manage the hotel, and that she was willing to put up her hotel as a bond for return, she got her visa after paying another $200. After the graduations, she returned to Vietnam, and her hotel, the Hy Vy in HCMC.

  91. Been following you since you hit the road. Can’t wait to buy the book I’m sure you’ll write. Wish I had the drive to do what your doing. For now I’ll just follow your adventure and what an adventure your on. Good luck and happy travels.
    Thanks.

  92. Nick,
    I have been intrigued to read your adventures and challenges in your border crossings and visa experiences.
    It reminded me that I believe the most difficult visa to get is a US Visa where the Visa regulations assume that anyone who is applying for a visitor visa really intends to stay in the US.

    For example, I got to know the owner of a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City who wanted to visit the US to see her daughter graduate from community college and her son graduate from high school in San Diego. She had applied twice and paid a non refundable fee of $200 for each filing and was rejected. The US Consulate thought that because she was a widow and her two children were in the US, she would not return. After writing a letter to the Consulate on her behalf that explained that she owned a hotel that employed 5 people, that her children were returning to help her manage the hotel, and that she was willing to put up her hotel as a bond for return, she got her visa after paying another $200. After the graduations, she returned to Vietnam, and her hotel, the Hy Vy in HCMC.

  93. I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future