Send me to the Gulag – Fund the 2020 Central Asia Tour

In 2016 we went to Ukraine. In 2017 we went to Georgia and Armenia. In 2018 to Jordan and Israel. And in 2019 to Zimbabwe. All have in common a recent history of having been influenced (or outright conquered) by the Soviet Union.

In keeping with this tradition of gathering knowledge and wisdom and then delivering it to you as stories, in 2020 we submit to y’all the proposal for a Central Asia Tour. The video above gets into the details about the itinerary and the minimum things we expect to get from the tour. This article is focused on the financial details. Not all expenses are thoroughly detailed – only those funded through the fundraiser.

So, without further ado…

For consistency, all expenses are converted in USD at the median exchange rate for the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, 2019. This is also because all donations are converted to USD as it’s the working currency for almost all operations of this Network.

In places where there is price variation (e.g. trains in Central Asia) – the maximal option is listed. The list represents the minimum costs.

1. Cluj Napoca – Budapest (round trip)

Train: $40

Housing: $60

Food: $20

2. Budapest – Nur Sultan

Flight: $410 (round trip, all fares included)

Visa cost Kazakhstan: $0

3. Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan

Housing: $65

Food: $50

Transport in the city: $15

4. Karaganda, Kazakhstan

Nur Sultan – Karaganda Train: $20

Housing: $75

Transport around the area: $50

Museum and other fees: $10

Food: $40

Books and newspapers: $50

5. Almaty, Kazakhstan

Karaganda – Almaty train: $20

Ancient cities tour: $60

Big Lake tour: $35

Housing: $60

Food: $30

6. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Almaty-Bishkek transport: $80 (round-trip)

Kyrgyzstan visa: $52

Ala-Archa national park: $15

Books and newspapers: $50 (minimum)

Museum and other fees: $20

Food: $30

Housing: $65

7. Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan visa: $40

Transport Almaty-Tashkent: $45

Museums and other fees: $20

Housing: $60

Food: $40

8. Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Train from Tashkent to Samarkand: $20

Museums and other fees: $20

Housing: $70

Food: $40

Books: $30

9. Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Samarkand – Bukhara train: $20

Museum fees: $10

Housing: $70

10. Other

Trains from Samarkand to Nur-Sultan: $100

Health insurance: $40

Equipment insurance: $20

On-the-fly consumables (batteries, memory cards, etc): $80

Exchange rate fees: $100 (maximum)

Unexpected expenses: $300 (minimum)

Total: $2,547

This number represents the absolute minimum in order for the tour to take place. The total cost will be somewhere in the vicinity of $4000 which will serve as the maximal threshold for this fundraiser.

Given past experience, even in worst case scenarios, the cost goes somewhere between the two extremes. Any excess will be redirected towards fulfilling the wishlist or towards funding another project in 2020 (possibly the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Tallinn, Estonia).

Minimums and deadlines

The tour is due to take place sometime between July 20th and August 22 and it will last 25 days. This means that plane tickets should be purchased no later than April 15, 2020

As such, if the fundraiser doesn’t reach to at least $1500 by April 10, 2020, the tour is cancelled and all collected funds redirected to other projects.

If the fundraiser doesn’t reach at least $2500 by July 1, 2020, the tour is cancelled and all collected funds redirected to other projects. Of course, if it will be $2420 on July 1, it will be fine. But too much leeway downwards will lead to cancellation – because by July 5, most of the housing should be booked and paid for already.

Anything beyond $4000, as well as any remaining shekel after the tour, will be redirected towards other projects or to fulfilling the wishlist.

The state of the fundraiser will be updated regularly on the main page of the website and semi-regularly on the Youtube channels.

If this convinces you, head over to the Donate page and pitch in. Every dollar counts!

Lucian Vâlsan on Youtube
Lucian Vâlsan
Not particularly nice. Mostly libertarian-conservative. Founder of the Freedom Alternative Network.