It starts in Astana, Kazakhstan, a city that hardly existed 20 years ago. 22 days later, it ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a city with a lot of As in its name.
In the interim, however, we can't really tell you what happens. Yes, you'll likely stay in riverside guesthouses, tents, family-run homestays and yurts in the Mongolian mountainside. You'll probably try foods you've never heard of before, much less tried. You'll travel by van, train, boat, atop camels and horses. But that's all we know. After all, this is a mystery trip. And that's part of the whole appeal.
The Uncharted Expedition, as it's called, is run by Intrepid Travel, an adventuresome travel company founded by two Melbourne pals, who have a thing for the kind of small-group travel experiences you can't find elsewhere, like extended stays in indigenous Australian communities, 15-day journeys along the Trans-Siberian railroad and a trip to Taiwan centered around food.
According to Leigh Barnes, the Intrepid's Regional Director for North America, this trip pays homage to the trip the founders took nearly 30 years ago, which served as the inspiration for the company. Back then, they called on few likeminded friends and took a relatively unplanned sojourn through Africa, exhilarated by the notion that they didn't really know what they were doing, or where they were going next. In the early days of Intrepid Travel, every trip was a mystery trip. When they wanted to go somewhere new, they simply posted a classified ad looking for "intrepid" travelers to join them. So now you know how they got their name—and why they'd like to whisk you away to Kazakhstan, with one of their best guides and expert destination managers, yes, but without so much as a basic itinerary.
The trip leaves on June 30th, 2019. But if you want in, you should probably apply sooner rather than later, as there are only ten spots, and they'll close applications as soon as those ten spots are filled. Barnes says they're looking for "those who are curious, bold and not only unafraid, but eager to venture into the unknown." The application process is also designed to ensure that travelers are in the physical shape necessary to take the trip.
To start the application for the Uncharted Expedition, and to learn more (but not that much more), you can visit their website. Who knows? If all goes as planned, this time next year you could be packing your bags, preparing to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.