I’ve been driving Amy nuts for the past few months. She called me out on it a few weeks ago, saying that she thought I was “floundering” or something along those lines—essentially saying that I’m kind of stuck in a rut. She didn’t criticize me for being a bit stuck; she just stated it as an observation. She was right, I had a lot on my mind, but I was also fidgety as hell.  So after thinking about it for a little while, I came to the conclusion that I was due to get some travel time in again. In the last five or so years, my travel has been constrained to different parts of the US, mostly remote areas or visiting with family and friends. This year will be a little different though. I’m going to spend some time in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan over my birthday in October. I want to get a lot of hiking in, but I’m just playing it by ear and doing the whole AirBnB thing.

After researching off the beaten path places to visit, airfare prices, and visa requirements, I decided on flying to Bishkek by way of Istanbul. One of the things I like to do when travelling is not to plan. I read up a lot on the place, their customs, general laws and restrictions, religions, politics, etc… Then just go. I really don’t have an agenda. I would like to do a lot of hiking and absorb the people and cuisine, but other than that, I really don’t have any plans. Since Kazakhstan is so close to Kyrgyzstan, literally fifteen miles from where I’m staying, I might as well visit there as well.

My favorite places to visit are desolate landscapes. I also like it when I don’t speak the language and I can’t read the signs. To me, there is something freeing by not understanding what people are talking about and being able to think of the signs as more ornamental than advertisements for some product or service. It is a long flight, out of JFK in New York, but I look forward to being the stranger in a strange land again. It gives me immense pleasure to discover and absorb new and foreign things when far away from home. I’ll post more about this when I’m actually on the road. One of the tortures of travel is the wait until one is seated in the airplane and underway.