So I went to AFGHANISTAN (78th nation I’ve visited on my travels), TAJIKISTAN (77) and KYRGYZSTAN (76) some of the most amazing nations I’ve encountered on my travels to date!
I’ve driven my own rental 4WD (no driver just me and some friends) over 4500kms through some of the most surreal terrain on earth, met people in remote villages that I’m sure have never seen a foreigner before and spent the last few weeks in north eastern Afghanistan, all over Tajikistan and southern Kyrgyzstan doing some of the most extreme travel I’ve ever done, living out of the back of a 4WD sleeping in tiny villages with Tajik, pamiri, afghan and numerous other ethnic groups throughout Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan doing the ultimate version of couchsurfing staying with amazing local families, enjoying the unique hospitality and learning a huge amount about some of the least visited parts of the world!
No hotels, no hostels, no internet or wifi, hardly anywhere to buy food just living like the locals and eating with them, simply meeting people, picking up local hitchhikers of all ages (from a toddler and his mum to a man well into his 80s),
I’ve been blown away by the incredible people I’ve met, what I’ve learnt from them, where I’ve been but most of all how far outside of my comfort zone and away from the tourist trail I’ve pushed myself.
Afghanistan in particular was amazing! We managed to convince the border guards to let us in when they told us not to continue, then got to meet a local general who is fighting against the taliban! I found out I was the first tourist to visit the village of shugnan this year and the only one to have crossed that border in 2016! I was the 37th visa for Afghanistan processed in Tajikistan this year hahaha. The locals looked at us as if we were from Mars and the hospitality they showed us was unparalleled by anything I’ve seen or experienced before!!
Tajikistan (especially driving the pamir highway and the wakan valley) was such an adventure, the people of the wakan valley and the pamir highway are absolutely phenomenal! We were welcomed into homes with open arms and had to fight hard to leave any money or gifts for our hosts!
We had 2 minor (and 1 major) breakdown and drove some of the most dangerous roads I’ve ever seen barely hanging on the edge of cliff faces with hundreds of meter drops down to gorges, rivers, roads made of huge boulders and rocks and not a rail or guard in sight to prevent the cars (and their passengers) from falling to their death (of which we saw many). Absolutely wild is the best way I could describe the last few weeks! Shelled out to pay a few bribes along the way to local law enforcement.
Kyrgyzstan had some great natural sights but the favourites were definitely Tajikistan and Afghanistan!
Next up (tomorrow morning) I’m heading to Turkey (for my 3rd trip there) en route to Turkmenistan which will be the 79th country I’ve had the pleasure of working, studying, volunteering or simply backpacking around and experiencing first hand! Followed by Uzbekistan and the adventures continue!!
Can’t wait but sad to say goodbye to Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan!
Will upload the hundreds of amazing pictures from the trip in coming days!