FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
HOW DID THE IDEA TO DO THE TREK COME ABOUT?
Quite simply realy. Michael Clarebrough was unable to sleep one night and, turning on the radio, heard Colin McPhedran talking about his escape from Burma as a little boy.
Colin's voice was beautiful: mellifluous and haunting (you can here this very interview on the "What and Why" page). The next day, Michael made contact with Colin’s son, Ian. He was totally supportive and the Trek was "born".
I THOUGHT THIS WAS HAPPENING IN 2017??
So did we! In December-January of 2016/17 we came agonisingly close to leaving for Myanmar to begin The Trek but, just weeks out from our set departure date, the Myanmar Army suspended to access Kachin State for all parties, including Myanmar nationals. This was a heart-breaking blow after over 3 years of planning. Our only option was to postpone by another 12 months to allow tensions to settle in the state. After the sudden passing of our friend and fellow trekker Charlie in 2018, we took some time to re-assess. We were again granted ministerial State approval when Alison joined us towards the end of 2018, but tensions escalated further in Kachin State and the state was closed again.
I’VE HEARD LOTS OF WORRYING STORIES ABOUT [BURMA] MYANMAR - IS IT DANGEROUS?
Yes. Kachin State is subject to ongoing civil unrest and has hosted one of the world’s longest running civil wars. That situation has deteriorated several times between 2016 and 2018. That’s why we’ve had to postpone The Trek, and have now developed an alternative, representative start to the route. Then there’s the parasites. And the tiger sanctuary…
SO WHEN ARE YOU GOING?
At this stage, whilst we are working toward a 2020 departure, there is no fixed date for the Trek to take place. Our operators in Myanmar continue to keep the Trek on the radar of Myanmar state and federal governments, and local State officials, and we remain positive and prepared to mobilise at short notice when the opportunity arises.
IS THIS THE RAINY SEASON?
No, we would avoid going at this time for two reasons: firstly, the Hukawng Valley essentially turns into a sloshing valley of knee-deep mud in the rainy season, and; secondly, no travel agency in Myanmar will take the work. Even they know it would be an insane idea.
CAN I COME TOO?!
Haha – we get this one a lot..! The answer unfortunately is no at this stage. We have figured out that the optimum number for safety and budgeting is only four trekkers. The only extras we will be taking are Colin and Charlie’s ashes.
WHAT WILL YOU EAT?
Everything! We’re planning on carrying with us a fair bit of dehydrated stuff – that’ll form the basis of our diet on the walk, plus whatever we can buy locally or share with the locals. Could be spicy..! One thing’s for sure: we’re going to need lots of food to sustain us for the many kilometres we are walking.
ARE YOU CARRYING EVERYTHING ON YOUR BACKS?
Not everything. We’ll carry a fair amount of our stuff – equipment and so forth, but the five-six weeks’ food alone is too much weight and bulk to carry: just the dried food weight alone would be over 100 kilos. We’ll have vehicle support in part, and food and equipment drops. At a point along the way, the climate changes rapidly from hot tropics to cold sub-alpine for the next 300 kms, so our clothing will change too.
HOW DO WE FOLLOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING – BEFORE YOU GO AND WHILE YOU ARE AWAY?
The best way is to like our Facebook page – we will be posting regularly before we go and, once we are away, we will relay information through our support team at home who will post on our behalf.
The Facebook page is where you will see invitations for events that you may be able to come to, you will also meet the other people who have connections to us – some of whom have family who were part of the original refugee exodus (walking at the same time as Colin and his family).