The Silk Road, China

Monday, 5 February 2007


A number of people have asked this, but I think the route speaks for itself...

This trip is an extraordinary opportunity. Somehow I appear to have temporarily extracted myself from my job without terminally damaging my career (I hope), allowing me to put on hold my life in London and embark on the kind of travel that isn't possible while in full time work.

Why the Silk Road? My decision was the product of a collision of factors. Most recently and significantly, I must credit James (Carty), a friend of mine who recently decided to walk from London to Jerusalem (see I joined him for the last hundred miles into Jerusalem and it reminded me of a kind of travelling I haven't done for some time. He also made me realise that the kind of adventure travel my father did in his youth, including driving across the Sahara, was still possible.

Of course times have changed; my reaction to to my father's advice to "take some morphine with you... just in case" is a case in point. But some of the places I will pass through on the Silk Road have only recently been opened to all but the most seasoned travellers. Other parts are changing so rapidly that they will be unrecognisable in as little as ten years. So it's a fascinating time to go.

So it is then, that a thirst for adventure, a fascinating (if brief) introduction to the Middle East last year and a lifelong passion for the mountains made The Silk Road the obvious candidate for what I expect to be one of the most exciting six months of my life.

In addition, I'm unbelievable lucky that Chris - a friend and fully signed up member of the increasingly ambitious (mostly financially, it seems) annual ski trips - is up for the Middle East and Central Asia. He's been out in Whistler since January and I'll be heading out there to join in the vital 'preparation' for the Silk Road!


1 comment:

Fred said...

Now JR is on the launch pad, I do want to make it clear that it is important to follow local customs.
I understand that it socially acceptable to use a saddle as a wind break when when sleeping in the steppes and the temperature goes down to minus 15C.
No doubt you find out how to behave as you go along.In the Sahara you qualified as diplomat when you could flick a sheep's eye out through the door of a tent without being seen by you host. I gather they are crispy and not like a peeled grape as you would expect and sheep meat is the primary diet on the steppes.
You will need your Norse blood on this "Viking" trip.