The ‘Stans and Back

I wanted to travel to a part of the world I hadn’t been to before. My mind kept drifting to the same blank space on the map: the ‘stans – five mysterious countries in central Asia, once part of the Soviet Union. So I booked a one-way flight to Bishkek, and set off to explore.

Recently my trip expanded and ran away with me – I decided to just keep heading back west and see where I ended up.

A Nomadic Feeling - 10 May 2018 – I wanted to travel to a part of the world I hadn’t been to before. Thinking about different destinations, my mind kept drifting to the same blank space on the map: the ‘stans – five mysterious countries in central Asia, once part of the Soviet Union. Maybe it was the allure … More A Nomadic Feeling
And That’s Travel in Kyrgyzstan - 20 May 2018 – Oyv arrived in Bishkek early one morning; I came back from nomading around Lake Issyk-Kol and walked into the hostel we’d agreed on to find him sleeping off his middle-of-the-night flight. We were hungry. I’d been eating cheap; a lot of unidentifiable stuff, mostly lumps of dough concealing meat I didn’t … More And That’s Travel in Kyrgyzstan
Silk Road Tripping - 30 May 2018 – I’d done a lot of hiking and homestays in Kyrgyzstan. That’s one sort of travel. Whenever I thought about travelling onwards to Uzbekistan something completely different came to mind – the Silk Road, that legendary trading route linking the East to the West, along which the world’s great civilisations traded valuables like … More Silk Road Tripping
Three Days at the Ends of the Earth, Also Known as Nukus - 2 June 2018 – Uzbekistan has another side, a more remote and desolate one, just a bit off the beaten path that runs from one Silk Road settlement to the next. There are some old fortresses – 2000 years old, in fact – in the barren emptiness of ancient Khorezm, a now-historical kingdom that’s not … More Three Days at the Ends of the Earth, Also Known as Nukus
Plan B - 13 June 2018  – I didn’t make a lot of plans before setting off on this trip – in fact I didn’t make any – but I had a lot of ideas. One of them (my ideas, I mean) was to travel up into Russia from Kazakhstan. Visa policies in Central Asia have loosened up … More Plan B
Retracing Steps: Feeling Sentimental in Georgia - 27 June 2018 – Eight years ago Oyv and I took a short holiday in Georgia (the country, not the state) and I’d been meaning to go back ever since. The details had gotten a bit fuzzy and I couldn’t even remember exactly why I liked this former SSR country so much but whenever I thought … More Retracing Steps: Feeling Sentimental in Georgia
Abhkazia – The Country That Never Was - 9 July 2018 – At seven am I sat outside a McDonald’s surrounded by partially unpacked backpacks and the drying laundry I’d spread across a couple of tables. After a fitful sleep on the jolting night train from Tbilisi I’d arrived in Zugdidi. That’s the last town in Georgia before the unofficial border crossing to … More Abhkazia – The Country That Never Was
Then This Happened: Robbery in Abkhazia - 16 July 2018 – It was late afternoon and I was back at Mc Donald’s in Zugdidi, where my whole Abkhazia adventure had begun. This time I was inside, without any drying laundry (and with a lot less cash but I’ll get to that), sending distraught messages to Oyv and my mom. I needed to get … More Then This Happened: Robbery in Abkhazia
One Week in Lebanon - 23 July 2018 – Lying on the bed in our room and listening to the distinct crackling noise of automatic weapons not too far away, I raised an eyebrow at Oyv. ‘It’s probably just a wedding’ he said. I nodded: it’s true – festively shooting in the air on any given occasion is a thing … More One Week in Lebanon
As It Turns Out, Jordan’s Got More Than Just Petra - 30 July 2018 – By the time Oyv and I met up in Istanbul, I’d been travelling for a couple of months; he was joining me for three weeks. I was running on a self-imposed and somewhat radical budget, and had started competing with myself to spend less from one day to the next. Travelling for … More As It Turns Out, Jordan’s Got More Than Just Petra
Petra: One for the Bucket List - 31 July 2018 – Think of Jordan and you probably think of Petra. I doubt anyone goes to Jordan without visiting it; in fact a lot of people go there specifically for Petra alone, even day-tripping in from Israel or Egypt just to see it. And no wonder: it’s amazing. So when we arrived in Amman, … More Petra: One for the Bucket List