Clothing (not all of these items were carried all the time, that depended on the weather)
Berghaus kindly supplied us with the clothing for the expedition, which proved brilliantly warm in the winter and very comfortable. As the weather warmed, we gradually switched to warmer summer clothes.
Berghaus Tights (thin and thermal)
Berghaus Base Layers x 3
Berghaus Hiking Trousers
Berghaus Puffa Jacket
Berghaus Gloves (thin and thick)
Berghaus Gortex trousers
Berghaus Gortex top
Got any questions about what it's like walking from Mongolia to Hong Kong? Well, hopefully Rob and I can provide the answers below! If there's anything you think we need to add to this FAQ then just post your question at the bottom, and I'll get back to you as best I can.
What were your highlights from the expedition?
LEON: For me the highlight was the Gobi Desert. I’d only had a little desert experience before this, and never on foot. It was quite intimidating setting off into the vast void in Winter, especially as it was right at the start of our journey when we were still fresh, and far from ‘battle-hardened.’ To cross the Mongolian Gobi took 13 days, during which we pulled a trailer (called Molly Brown) laden with all our food and water for the duration. It was tough, and it was cold, but it was also beautiful. The expanse of the desert was immense and humbling, and the sunsets were otherworldly. Arriving at the border town of Zamyn-Uud after nearly two weeks was a real highpoint, and one of my fondest memories of the whole trip.
ROB: For me, it was to be immersed in the experience of walking through, and seeing at ground-level, the incredible landscapes of China –deserts, mountains, valleys, forests – it is stunning. Alongside that, I loved getting to know more of the Chinese people, who showed such kindness towards us.
And what were the low points?
LEON: I found the seemingly endless winter became a real struggle. The thought of trying to hold a camera steady as fingers became increasingly painful and then numb was not a pleasant one.
ROB: Walking down a road (usually very slowly and painfully) which both Leon and I thought would be ideal for cycling!
Did you ever think you might die?
Neither of us ever felt that we were going to die during this adventure! The cold weather gave a few worrying nights when we slept fitfully and just couldn’t get warm – frostbite was always a slight fear.
The biggest danger though was always traffic– if anything was going to really cause us problems on this walk, it was likely to be Chinese driving.
Finally, after After 195 days, 10 million steps and far too many instant noodles, Rob and I arrived safely back into Hong Kong on the 26th May, right on time! We are both exhausted, but delighted to have completed this journey, and so glad that we had the opportunity to attempt it.
There'll be plenty of updates and post-expedition reflections appearing on these pages (and on the dedicated website at www.walkinghomefrommongolia.com) in the coming days and weeks, but for now you can check out a photo montage of our walk below.
We hope you enjoy it, and we really want to say thanks to all of you who have followed our trip and supported us and Viva along the way. Cheers, everyone!
Just a reminder that I'm still alive! My walk through China is proving to be everything I hope for and more. We are currently just over half way, and most recently trekked through the ancient city of Xi'An, past the Terracotta Warriors and out of the cold, bitter winter! There are regular blogs, photo and videos at www.walkinghomefrommongolia.com, so do head over there to check out what we're up to.
Meanwhile, I've created a page on this site with a small gallery of photos from the expedition so far, hopefully giving a taster of our adventure.
Check it out here
Here's a quick sneak peak at some montage footage from my New York to Hong Kong cycling adventure last year. I cut it over a weekend in the summer to have something to show at my talks about the journey.
I still (shamefully!) haven't properly watched through the majority of my footage yet as I jumped headfirst into the Walking Home From Mongolia expedition, but I'm looking forward to working with it in the summer of 2012 when I get back to the UK.
This clip is extremely low-res as I'm uploading it from a hotel room in China and is a combination of footage from my secondary handlebar-mounted camera, and two or three brief clips from my primary. The real thing will all be HD!
Hope you enjoy, please do let me know what you think
Today is day 19 of the Walking Home From Mongolia Expedition, and Rob and I have just reached Sonid Youqi in the Inner Mongolian Gobi. So far we've covered around 375km, which feels like a good start - Hong Kong however still lies over 4,500km to the south, so there's plenty more walking to be done!
Check out the full stories, blogs, pictures and follow our progress at www.walkinghomefrommongolia.com
I'm currently in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, preparing for my new Walking Home From Mongolia expedition.
For the next 6 months this website will only be updated periodically - for the most up to date info check out www.walkinghomefrommongolia.com
Rob Lilwall and I are planning to trek 5000km from the Gobi Desert to Hong Kong, making a TV show along the way. We're really excited about it, and are expecting lots of thrills and spills along the way, so please do check it out!
You can also follow us on Facebook here and Twitter here.
Feel free to drop me a message - it'll be a welcome bit of support during the long days of hiking!
First off, a quick update on our progress. Rob and I have been working hard over the last few weeks to finalise our choice of gear for this expedition. The equipment we use is obviously vitally important, and could be the difference between success and failure on this journey, and we are delighted that some excellent companies are coming on board to supply us with top-rate gear - keep an eye out on this blog for announcements of our major providers very soon.
Note from Rob and Leon: This is a guest post by the Lawlor Clinic on the technical side of preparing our bodies for the walking and kayaking, for which we are most grateful. A post about our physio sponsor in Hong Kong, Sports Performance, will be coming soon.
On talking with Leon about the expedition, it became apparent that physical preparedness was essential in the successful completion of the expedition as their bodies will be subject to extreme conditions and made to endure many hours of physical activity.
Physical preparedness is something that we advise regularly to all our clients regardless of their level of physical activity. Our bodies have to move efficiently to avoid injury during activities of daily living.
Somehow over 4 months have passed since Rob first mentioned his idea for a new expedition. It's a cliche, but it's incredible how quickly time seems to move when you're trying to get a lot done. Our time has been productive though, and we now find ourselves with a big date looming - we're just over two months away from the beginning of the journey.
So in less that 10 weeks, we will take our first tentative step out of Sainshand, and head south into the Gobi in search of adventure and excitement. Already that thought sends shivers down my back, and I assume the cause is an equal dose of bubbling anticipation and anxiety. Oddly though, most elements of the expedition itself are not phasing me (yet!); rather it's the logistics and preparation side of things that are in danger of consuming my every waking hour. So what exactly is needed to put something like this together? Well, a lot, it seems.
In Rob's last blog he detailed a shortlist of how we are having to divide our time. In the weeks leading up to our departure, we'll keep you up to date with how all these things are going, and we'll also have guest blogs from specialists in some of the key areas of our preparation. We'll also try and focus on certain areas of our journey every so often, and so today I'm going to post a few bits of info about the Yellow River. Paddling down this for over 800 miles would undoubtedly be a highlight of any expedition, and as someone with more experience of land-based thrills and spills, it appeals to me even more. So here's a few of the key facts and figures that I've picked out from my research.
Rob and I will paddle around 800 miles of the middle section, and will pass caves where many villagers live by digging themselves homes into the vertical cliffs!