May 2013

Asia, Blog

DISCUSSION 15 Comments

Driving (away from) China and The Silk Road

If I’ve been doing a good job at promoting it, you know that we’ve been trying to raise money through Kickstarter to write a book about traversing China and the Silk Road in Nacho. We were attempting to raise $25,602 to cover the cost of permission to enter China twice with a government-approved guide. After thirty days of fundraising, you all pledged a grand total of $13,174, or 51% of our goal. To all of you who supported us, we can’t thank you enough for your generosity and your votes of confidence. Truly, we have been humbled.

The way that project funding through Kickstarter works is this: if we were to have reached our full project goal, we would have gotten the money to carry out our project. If not, as is the case here, all of the money is returned to the donors.

Being that we were unable to raise the full amount to enter China, all donors will keep their money and we’ll revert to our original plan. Rather than driving through Laos and into China (the first leg of our two-legged Chinese crossing plan), we’ll enter Laos and then drive South into Cambodia, and then back into Thailand. We will then proceed to ship Nacho to India.

This still leaves the question of what we’ll do after India. If we are to drive out of India, it has to be either Pakistan-Iran-Turkey, or Nepal-China-Kyrgyzstan. The former will be logistically tricky and politically restrictive if not altogether impossible, while the second – a Chinese crossing – would still be prohibitively expensive. We think we could cut a couple thousand dollars off of the ,000 quote we received by spending less time in China and keeping the purse strings tight, but it’s still not in the budget. We’ll keep an open mind and hopefully it’ll work out in some way. If neither of these work, there’s always the shipping option.

So what will we do after India? Who knows. But whatever happens, there’s no doubt that it will be anadventure.

Now that this effort is behind us, I thought it might be interesting to break down the Kickstarter project data and show you how it all went down. Call it a debriefing.

When we first launched the project, we saw a huge outpouring of support from our readers as we promoted it on our blog and on our Facebook page.  In fact, we reached 22% of our goal in the first three days. Throughout the month, our project received referrals from Garmin, Adventure JournalGSI Outdoors, BBC Travel, AutoblogExpedition Portal, Flagstaff Live, and others.

In the end, we saw pledges from $1 to $1,000, while the $25 reward level was the most popular pledge. Interestingly (to me, as an engineer) the distribution of pledges as seen in the following chart can be described using a Weibull probability density function. This function is used by engineers to conduct failure analysis. Coincidence?

For now we push on, we drive the subcontinent and the Himalayas, we eat lots of good food, and we keep Nacho in tip top shape. Only one thing is clear: we have no idea what we’re going to do next. I guess that’s why they call it “adventure”.

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  1. “(to me, as an engineer) the distribution of pledges as seen in the following chart can be described using a Weibull probability density function.”

    Sheena! Whack the guy on the head for me, will you? :-)

    By the way, thanks for the tips on dealing with Bangkok customs to extend paperwork here. I was treated royally (see FB)

    Comment by Kevin Beretta on May 20, 2013 at 5:44 am

  2. Can’t wait to follow your travels through SE Asia, one of our favorite areas but REALLY looking forward to your time in India… We spent several months there and have never been so humbled, frustrated, and alive. Enjoy!

    Comment by Rhonda on May 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

  3. I am sure you have thought about stashing the van and backpacking China? I know it sucks to be a stinky lowlife backpacker but there is dat peking duck waiting for you on the other side.

    Comment by James on May 20, 2013 at 9:28 am

  4. Definitely a possibility, James. Most of our attention vis-a-vis fundraising and worrying is related to our ability to move westward and all of the logistics involved. We need to stop and think about enjoying the trip from time to time as well.

    Comment by Brad on May 20, 2013 at 9:50 am

  5. Graeme

    That sucks. Best of luck, must be difficult travelling the Stan’s and Iran with a US passport. if only you could get hold of other travel documents… You could ship from India to Kenya drive up to Israel via Egypt then ferry to Greece and then Turkey or truck Nacho from NW India to Tajikistan if you dont plan to drive Pakistan. What does the CIA suggest ;)

    Comment by Graeme on May 20, 2013 at 11:42 am

  6. Was really hoping you’d make your funding but still looks like you have an intensely awesome plan. Best of luck with the next stage of the journey!
    We were in Cambodia, Laos and Burma/Myanmar early last year and the people in all those countries were amazing.

    Once Nacho is stowed aboard his ship to India you could fly from Bangkok to Burma/Myanmar, even if it is just for a week or so—could be worth doing since you are in the neighbourhood.

    Whatever path you take, looking forward to following the rest of your journey.

    Comment by Emma on May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm

  7. […] to learn yesterday that Brad and Sheena Van Orden from the Drive Nacho Drive travel blog have cancelled their plans to drive across China.  This is due primarily to their Kickstarter fund-raising campaign not reaching its goal.  Brad […]

    Pingback by Crowdfunding Travel has Benefits and Costs - Central Overland on May 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm

  8. India will be a great adventure!

    Comment by Kenneth on May 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm

  9. Vivian

    Hey Brad / Sheena … have been following you every inch of the road … some times with a knuckle buster when you posts get delayed ; ) …

    Sorry to hear abt your project not working out the way you’s thought … however when you’re in Mumbai … send me a mail … beer’s on me !!


    Comment by Vivian on May 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm

  10. […] adventurous than us, tried a KickStarter project to fund their travel across Chine, have a look here on their blog to see how they did. Money Stuff ← The Diakofto to Kalavrita railway and farewell to […]

    Pingback by Making money from a Travel Blog – OurTour.co.uk | Our Tour on May 25, 2013 at 12:01 am

  11. Will Teeters

    Hey, have been following you guys for a while ( have spoken back and forth, and I have picked your brains ) and want to say this; I hope you aren’t downheartened about your Kickstarter.. You raised a HELL of a lot of money in a short time, and I really wish I could have done my part to help, besides sharing it on my FB status…. I think I shared this with you guys, but I had a bad motorcycle accident a few months ago, hit a deer, broke bones, had surgeries… this not only postponed my PAN AM travel plans, but it obviously damaged my finances. I actually REALLY wanted to donate to this cause, because I care about it, but also, I feel I am getting a VERY valuable service from you, Bumfuzzle, HomeontheHighway, and others ( liferemotely, 30before30 , etc ) your travel tips, advice, encouragement, and HONESTY ~ what goes wrong, what works, what frustrates you, your limitations, errors~ have helped guide me in my own trip, and how I want to plan it ….. ……………………. You DO provide a great service, be it entertainment, advice, guiding….. ……… If I could have donated, I would have. thank you for your articles, and sharing your life

    Comment by Will Teeters on May 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

  12. Hey Will, good hearing from you again. Believe it or not, I was thinking about you about 10 minutes ago while driving a twisty mountain road in Northern Thailand. I read the article about your spooning incident with the deer, and wondered how your Pan-Am plans had progressed since. Planning to go by vehicle now rather than moto? I’m hopeful that you make it happen. It’s a life-changer for sure. Good luck, and thanks for the note!

    Comment by Brad on May 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm

  13. Will Teeters

    ARGGGGGGGGHHHHH… that spooning comment will follow me to my friggin grave.. that came from the passenger, my friend.. she saw NONE of it, didnt even see the deer, but when the journalist who wrote the article called her for her perspective, ( while she was on medication) she had to say SOMETHING , I guess… so now I am immortalized as having ‘spooned a deer ‘ at 55 mph…. grr… oh well… hahaha…….. not the biggest deal in the world. But she later on ( we are still good friends, very close ) admitted she wasnt sure , and thought she could be wrong.. I have been to the accident scene, have reviewed the photos the Deputy took ( weird to see my body lying there and my leg super twisted and jacked up ~ broke in 3 spots ~ ) and her perception of where the deer came from , and what happened, are skewed… *sigh* oh well, doesnt matter…… just glad that we both are okay, and that her injuries were WAY less severe than mine.

    … So, in short… I WILL make it down the PanAm….. I will NOT be doing it on my motorcycle, or anything short of a 4 wheeled machine. My dreams of going on a motorcycle died with Simone ( my Yamaha xs1100 ) … but I will be going. And will likely be rocking a 4runner.. they are such a solid vehicle, and are known for having some kickass durability and cheap parts. Homeonthehighway has kinda sold me on it. Although I am really in love with Nacho, I know that my mechanical aptitude precludes my desire to have a fun, unique vehicle like that… I will struggle with the basics of repair. But as you have so many times pointed out, you learn as you go, laying under the vehicle, either fixing it or not going anywhere…..

    Health~ Doing way better than anyone, myself included , expected.. Having a strong, young body has helped a lot. Doctors say that my having done a lot of weight lifting is one thing that helped the bones and muscles repair quicker. I am now walking, no crutches, no cane, just me and my limp. Got a few awesome hiking trips planned for late summer, when I am recovered enough, and I am currently canoeing and swimming a lot.

    Hope you guys keep on with your travels with the same spirit. Your articles are VERY captivating. I follow other travelers, but you two, bumfuzzle, and homeonthehighway are the best to read, in my opinion. I can really FEEL how you guys feel, I can smell the air, I can hear the things you hear. Your humor is really great as well.

    I know I have said it before about me appreciating having your blogs to read, but imagine this, Brad, Sheena. You have been planning your trip. You are 1/5th of the way there financially, and have your rig. You wreck it beyond repair, end up in the hospital, and are in my shoes…. busted up body, cant move, and your goals have been placed on a major back burner…..

    NOW. Imagine having blogs like yours to read. Imagine having the dreams you have being lived by others, with encouraging words about how it IS possible to go there, it IS possible to do these things, and these people on the website are DOING them. ……… It helped me keep my hope. Laying there, not being able to move, cruising the websites….. it helped me believe that it was a speedbump, not a roadblock. Brad/Sheena, and Pat/Ali and James/Lauren were and are so inspirational. You guys are living the lives I want to live, and I am GOING to get there. Thank you again for your blogs, and for your personal encouragement and advice. You both are awesome.

    Comment by Will Teeters on May 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

  14. I’m surprised but pleased to see a bit of data analysis here. You should read this really good Data Analysis article about success on Kickstarter: http://blog.echen.me/2011/04/25/kickstarter-data-analysis-success-and-pricing/

    Comment by Loïs Boullu on May 31, 2013 at 11:53 pm

  15. beth

    Looks like I’ll be in Kathmandu during the first two weeks of september. Do you have a tentative schedule?


    Comment by beth on June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

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