Blog

Below you’ll find the most recent blog posts covering current trips, travel writing, and photos from Easting.org. The content is updated about twice a week.

  • 2016: Many Happy Returns

    2016: Many Happy Returns

    I rarely travel to the same place twice. With the exception of major transit hubs like London or Bangkok, it’s uncommon that a certain destination finds its way into more than one itinerary. However, this holiday season was an exception....Read more
  • Tajikistan: From the Pamirs to the Wakhan

    Tajikistan: From the Pamirs to the Wakhan

    Among travelers, the Pamirs Mountains are mythologized more than any other region of Central Asia. They are characterized by austere landscapes, headache-inducing altitudes, and nonexistent transportation. And this is mostly accurate. In the Pamirs you certainly see more foreigners on bicycles...Read more
  • Are Today’s Most Intrepid Travelers Couples?

    Are Today’s Most Intrepid Travelers Couples?

    I recently spent several days in the town of Khorog on Tajikistan’s Afghan border, and something struck me as odd. At the hostel where I stayed there were only couples. Sitting in the garden of the Pamir Lodge one morning,...Read more
  • Almaty: The Big Apple (of Central Asia)

    Almaty: The Big Apple (of Central Asia)

    I felt like I was in Paris. There were stylish bars, patio cafés, delicious pastries, and prices hurt like a mother*#@!er. Travelers arriving in Almaty from elsewhere in the region might be forgiven for thinking they’ve momentarily stepped out of Central Asia and onto the...Read more
  • Horse Games: The Kok-Boru Way

    Horse Games: The Kok-Boru Way

    While staying in Osh I was lucky enough to catch a game of kok-boru, often known as buzkashi. The sport, which is played in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, is a bit like rugby on horseback. Except the ball is a dead...Read more
  • The Yasawi Mausoleum in Turkestan

    The Yasawi Mausoleum in Turkestan

    I recently made a detour from Bishkek to visit the fantastic Yasawi Mausoleum in the southern Kazkh town of Turkestan. Even for history and architecture buffs visiting Central Asia, this 14th-century structure hasn’t always been on the travel itinerary. The mausoleum sits 300 kilometers north of...Read more
  • The Road Giveth and the Road Taketh Away

    The Road Giveth and the Road Taketh Away

    What’s the worst thing you could lose while traveling? For instance, would you rather lose your smart phone or your bank card? Your passport or your journal? I recently lost my iPhone, and for the next couple days found myself...Read more
  • A Hot Meal in Tamga

    A Hot Meal in Tamga

    A lot of travelers circle Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk Kul lake without seeing much beyond the Karakol region (we almost did). But there’s a lot of great stops, and the north and south shores offer dramatically different landscapes. We checked out Tamga–at the...Read more
  • Song Kol Lake: Yurts, Horses, and Snow

    Song Kol Lake: Yurts, Horses, and Snow

    Song Kol Lake is staple tourist destination in Kyrgyzstan, but in this country that isn’t incompatible with a quiet and peaceful getaway. We recently rang in the summer tourist season by spending three nights with a Kyrgyz family on the southeast corner of...Read more
  • 5 Questions Everyone Asks About Backpacking for a Year

    5 Questions Everyone Asks About Backpacking for a Year

    Go backpacking for a year and you’re bound to get a lot of questions afterward. Among them, there are five questions that come up again and again. Moreover, as travelers we often react as though the answers are obvious. I thought...Read more
  • Eat Bishkek

    Eat Bishkek

    Have some time on your hands? Eat your way through Bishkek. I recently spent six nights in the Kyrgyzstani capital (waiting for my Uzbekistan visa and relaxing), during which I ate and drank my way through the city. Bishkek isn’t quite...Read more
  • Passport Politics and The Karakoram Highway

    Passport Politics and The Karakoram Highway

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one to Kyrgyzstan. Because I was carrying an American passport. For years I’ve wanted to travel the Karakoram highway. The Karakoram crosses Pakistani Kashmir and connects China to South and...Read more
  • Emin Minaret and the Architecture of Islam

    Emin Minaret and the Architecture of Islam

    The Emin minaret, rather than a Buddhist temple or Confucian garden, seemed like an appropriate first destination when I arrived in western China. Xinjiang province (technically an “Autonomous Region”) is home to China’s largest Muslim population—mostly ethnic Uighurs and mostly...Read more
  • The Start of a Silk Road

    The Start of a Silk Road

    It’s hard to say where Central Asia begins and ends, but this photo from Dunhuang—a former Silk Road town in western China—captures the start of my trip as good as any. I stopped in Dunhuang to check out the old...Read more
  • Why Travel Central Asia

    Why Travel Central Asia

    When I found this map in a Lonely Planet travel guide two years ago, I learned one thing from it: I know zero about Central Asia. Where exactly is Afghanistan? Is Sogdiana is anything like Indiana? Is it pronounced Pishpek or Bishkek? Ask me...Read more