Yes, I know this looks like it was drawn by a 5 year old with a crayon.

In case you're wondering why I chose the southern route via Iran, Pakistan and India instead of the northern route via Eastern Europe, Russia, the Stans and Mongolia:

1) Russia is full of surly drunks and their best-looking girls are already in London. I also had little interest in weeks of driving across featureless tundra.

2) I wanted to see the broad sweep of life across the Muslim world and have a better understanding of what they're getting so upset about. Eliminating ingrained cultural biases is largely impossible, but traveling can help get rid of 'us and them' thinking. The countries in the news are no longer just abstractions.

There you have it. Anyone planning a similar trip is welcome to contact me for advice.