A 3 year journey
In early 2016, I was finishing up my job after a pretty full on 6 years. I took the opportunity to start a small tourism related business which could be run remotely and head out on a journey that started in Hong Kong and had (at that time) and open ended goal of finding the next big challenge en route. Past experience has taught me that large parts of the world can shut very rapidly, and to take such opportunities while you have them. A bit prescient looking at the current state of affairs, not just because of Covid, but because some of those areas are either no longer open or safe to travel to since then: Xinjiang in Western China, Myanmar, The Kashmiri frontier with China, the border zone between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, the pseudo-republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Hard to pull out what I would say was the highlight, there were so many highlights along the way:
- Certainly much of Mongolia, riding the semi-wild horses across the steppe and over the mountains in the far north to find the nomadic reindeer herders. The wild, empty, dramatic expanses of the Western desert.
- The ancient towns and monuments, and the surprising natural beauty, to be found in China.
- The incredibly warm and welcoming people of Myanmar, watching the golden sun setting over a thousand temples in Bagan.
- The Indian Himalaya, be it the wild and rugged little visited northeast or the incredible scenery and culture of Ladakh and Spiti, travelling crazy roads by motorbike.
- The incredible fortresses of Rajasthan amid the sweltering pre-monsoon heat.
- Hiking 1000km of the Nepali Himalaya.
- Sri Lanka's startling beauty and diversity.
- Kyrgyzstan's fantastic undeveloped hiking, some of the best I've done anywhere in the world.
- Travelling the roof of the world along Tajikistan's Pamir Highway and the Wakhan Corridor along the Afghani border.
- The ancient Silk Route citadels of Uzbekistan filled with history and outstanding architecture.
- Hiking the great Caucasus Range along the dramatic Svaneti region of Georgia's northern border, with its ancient culture and hallmark fortified towers.
- In the heart of winter, exploring Greece's near-deserted islands with their surprisingly cold and wild weather.
- Finally visiting the ancient melting point of Sarajevo with its labyrinthine old town, sampling the burek and coffee, watching the sunset from the walls of the Yellow Fortress.
- Seeing the last roaming bison herd in Europe in Białowieża Forest along Poland's border with Belarus.
- Journeying from Norway's southernmost fjords to Europe's northernmost point, deep within the Arctic Circle.
- The magnificent forests, villages and islands of Sweden including the incredible medieval Gotland, halfway to Estonia.
- Feeling lost in Finland with its wild empty tundra in the north, to the gorgeous forested lakes in the south.
- Squeezing the last of the pre-winter weather in the Baltic States, exploring superb Teutonic castles, ancient villages and vestiges on the Soviet era.
I think I'll stop here ... I could go on ....
I'll get more photos up online as I get time. Priorities, photo editing is time consuming and there are other things to get done before I afford myself that luxury. My Instagram is somewhere in Norway currently, meanwhile my old Flickr account remains stuck in 2017.