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Over 65,000 miles (104,000 kilometers), 7 continents, 23 countries (yes, most in transit getting to where I was going), and 3 disputed territories/unrecognized states later I made it back to Alaska at the end of 2017.
No, I don’t plan to travel anywhere near as much in 2018.
The only trip I have on the books is that expedition I’m leading in China, Tajikistan and Pakistan in June, and potentially that one through Iran preceding it… and maybe one in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan later in the year.
So what happened in 2017?
Lots of shit. Probably more travel than most people do in a lifetime. Am I gonna write about it all in detail in this post? Nope. Why? I don’t fucking feel like it, plus not many people read these monthly/yearly roundups anyway. What brings in people is those 2000-5000+ word travel guides I slave away at. You know, because in 2017 no one will even so much as eat at a restaurant without reading through at least 50 online reviews about it. This leads me to some bitterness and frustration about spending the inordinate amount of time I spend writing those travel guides. A lot of these countries or regions I’ve written those guides for I visited blindly with little to no information prior to visiting (yeah, Tajikistan is very much one of them). I emailed a couple of bloggers that had posts with a little info about their visit to pretty much say ‘This is what experience I have and gear I carry… you think I can do it on my own?’. So if I can do it without all the info I’m giving people for absolutely free, why can’t you? Have you heard of an adventure before? Then again, Tajikistan is mostly a box to tick off for most on a trip with more time invested in its Central Asia counterparts, largely Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. I’ll never understand- seeing that after having spent a decent chunk of time in the region, Tajikistan is the most scenic in my opinion (not to take away from the others, but come the fuck on).
My favorite new countries I visited?
I think I’d have to say those would be the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia or Azerbaijan, whichever team you side with, and Antarctica.
I didn’t get to spend nearly the amount of time I would have liked to in Afghanistan. But the time I did get was definitely the major highlight in my travels in 2017, and really all my travels, period.
The impromptu visit to the Republic of Artsakh, better known by its former name Nagorno-Karabakh was definitely one of the cooler road trips I’ve taken. If you’re ever in the region do it! Plus, I mean it did require me to visit Armenia… and seeing that the members of System of a Down are Armenian by descent I got to check off a place I’ve wanted to visit since like middle school.
And of course, there’s Antarctica. Like how would you not be stoked on a place full of penguins? How?
As for everything else
Tajikistan feels much like a home away from home to me. I’ve actually spent more time there than any other country on earth aside from home. Kyrgyzstan gets a mention here as well, especially places like Osh and Bishkek, which being a person not from a city they both feel like a second home because I know my way around. My short time in Sydney and my New Zealand North Island road trip were an absolute blast. I’m still not sure how I feel about Myanmar. I think I can now declare Cypriot cuisine to be my favorite in the world, as well as having the most fun ever with one of my best friends who moved to Nicosia in October. And Morocco: I hated Marrakech, but the lovely Sidi Ifni And Tafroute in the little-visited south balanced things out.
As for December
Here are the posts I published this month:
Some cool ideas for places to visit in 2018 that you won’t have to elbow through the crowds to enjoy.
Happy New Years everyone!
Thanks for reading all my whinging, pissing and moaning for another year.