I am Xavier. I've been quite interested in your adventures recently, that I have been following through your website. Very inspiring..
I'm really looking forward to read your next book about Eastern Europe!
I actually started to write this email a few days ago... but I got tired of trying to make good sentences, so I put this mail aside... Yeah, you guessed it, English is not my mother tongue, and I'm note quite confident with it yet. Although I'm working on it!
(quite hard though, .... As most of the Frenchs... I'm bad in foreign languages too...
I just saw that you opened a new thread about Russia... Great. Actually my mail was about that:
Actually, I hope to go there next summer... and I would really love to go for a hiking trip in Siberia (Sayan mountains). Hopefully, it will work out. I don't really know if you were planning to go that far east but at least, I was wondering if you were planning to go hiking... ?
Because I was starting to wonder about the russian hiking maps... I know by experience that sometimes, it can get very tricky to find them in some areas...
If ever you happen to care about that too, Can you please give me some feedback about this issue? it would be super cool!
I just found some free digital maps on the web... from the website www.mapstor.com .... => It forwards you to this link http://maps.poehali.org/en/... where you can find digital hiking maps from Russia (and other Eastern european countries). Maybe you already know the link... Otherwise, maybe it will interest you...
I was wondering though about the accuracy of those maps... 'cause they seem to be quite old (military maps).
Same! if ever you happen to use them, it would be nice to have some feedback about it!
Thanks a lot.
Otherwise, I was finally thinking to order your book and DVD from the internet. Is is still possible? or do I have to wait until you're back home? How much would it cost me to receive them in Ireland?
Ok, that's about it for now.
Sorry for my english. I know how exhausting it can be to read my mails ....
Take care and have fun!
Merci pour ton email! Although I can write in French, for the sake of others who might read this, I'll stick to English.
Thank you for sharing the great tips of those websites. Although they are old military maps, it's save to assume that the lower the trail (in elevation), the more likely it is still there. The trails that may have disappeared are the high mountain trails. However, vegetation grows slowly in Siberia, so although some trails may be a bit overgrown in parts, they are probably passable.
When you go to Russia have 2-3 hiking options available in the Sayan mountains. When you get there, ask the locals which of your routes are viable. Unfortunately, I suspect that less than 10% of the population there speaks a foreign language. So use a free translation service, like Babelfish, and print out a few key phrases, like, "Is this trail/road open?" or "Is there water?" or "Do you like communism?"
Have all those phrases on a piece of waterproof piece of paper and point to those phrases wherever it is appropriate. Although it's heavy for backpacker, you can carry a Russian phrasebook, which will give you something to read at night when you're camping.
I won't go to the Sayans on this trip. I only have two weeks on my visa. I hope to go to the Ural Mountains, but I'm not sure if I will have the time.
Finally, yes, you can order my book/DVD via my website. Orders ship whether I am home or not. I always sign a bunch of copies before I leave, so there should be autographed copies available.
Shipping costs outside of the USA (including Mexico and Canada) is $11 for just the book and $15 for the book and DVD. Thank you for your interest!