In mid-August of next year I am planning to ride north from Odessa, Ukraine, to Helsinki, Finland, by way of several former Soviet and Warsaw Pact states.
The trip is in honor of my paternal grandfather. He escaped the Cossack slaughter of Jews under the Tsar at the end of the 19th Century, got to America, then returned to Odessa in August of 1914. The biggest mistake of his life. He was going to drafted into the Army and only escaped by walking from Odessa to Finland. It took six months and he barely got out of Russia alive. The story is here.
I am hoping for an easier trip, which is why I am not traveling by the shortest route north through eastern Ukraine and western Russia. Currently, my route has no active conflicts. But I am going to write to every U.S. Embassy along the route to let them know an American tourist will be riding through these countries in August of next year.
Here is the route: From Odessa, I will ride northwest through Moldova and eastern Romania. Then I will ride north through western Ukraine and eastern Poland. From there I ride northeast through Belarus, then into the three Baltic States: Lithuania, Lativia and Estonia.
From Estonia I will take a ferry to Helsinki, Finland, then another ferry to St. Petersburg, Russia.
From Finland I will take a ferry to Sweden then ride into Norway and take another Ferry to Denmark. From Denmark I will go to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to see friends then fly back home. The entire trip should take a month.
If you have advice, besides stay home, I am listening.