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The Train Adventure Of A Lifetime

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Last September, I, along with two of my travel blogging friends, Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick and Nora Dunn of The Professional Hobo, set out on a bit of a travel challenge.

Lisbon to Saigon in 30 days. All on trains, of course.

It was the Ultimate Train Challenge, and we had an absolute blast. We each chose different routes through Europe, reunited in Moscow and traveled together from there to Saigon. All in all, we each did almost 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers), and although you would think all of that might have made us sick of train travel, the exact opposite was true. I can't get enough of it.

One of the things I heard a lot on that trip and after I got back was "That looks incredible -- will you be doing it again in the future? Can I do it with you?"

So I decided to make it an annual event. This time, I am opening it up to anyone who wants to sign up for it. The new website for the project is Your World, No Rules and on that site, we are going to be planning multiple "challenge travel" adventures for people, if they want to join in. (You can also follow along the announcements of new events and challenges by signing up for the newsletter).

If you are up for this bit of craziness, it is scheduled for this November. You can choose to go either way, Saigon to Lisbon or Lisbon to Saigon. You have 30 days to complete the journey and all travel miles must be completed solely by train travel. You can choose any route you wish and all logistical responsibilities are up to you. You are on your own to secure the necessary visas and train tickets.

That's it. 30 days. 15,000 miles. You versus the rails.

Speaking from the point of view of someone that has done this exact journey already, the Ultimate Train Challenge is worth doing just on its own merits -- and for bragging rights, obviously! -- but luckily we have secured the cooperation of some great sponsors to offer some great prizes for some lucky participants in UTC12.

For the first person to cross the finish line in each direction, Intrepid Travel is going to give away a 15-day tour (each valued close to $2,000). There are also going to be Eurail passes given away to the person who takes the Best Train Photo and the one that shoots the Best Video on the trip. Plus, some passes will be given away beforehand to people that have signed up. The basics of the whole train challenge can be found here.

Quite literally the journey of a lifetime... a travel challenge like none other. Fabulous prizes. A great pre-party before the bon voyage and another at the end of the 30 days on the rails. Making new friends and seeing 15,000 miles of landscape from the best seat anywhere in the world... looking out the window of a train.

Who's ready for the challenge?