I am currently at home for the remainder of the year, recuperating for the next trip and working to get rid of that pesky old minus sign in front of my bank account. That said, despite this temporary break of traveling, exciting times lay on the horizon! Here is a bit of a preview of what to expect on the blog. Or maybe I'll just think of something else entirely. Either way, this all could happen so here is my best attempt of organizing my jumbled thoughts about the future.
Starting in February, I'll return to the Republic of Georgia (not the state) and begin working as a writer and possibly as an English teacher.
2018 BUCKET LIST
5. Guca Trumpet Festival (Serbia)
This may seem a bit odd to some of you, but during my time in Russia, I have really grown to like Balkan-style brass bands. There has been so much energy and spirited celebration (such as dancing on tables) in each of the shows I've seen that I cannot compare to any other genre of music. However, I have yet to see this kind of music in it's place of origin. Therefore, after an extensive internet search, I came across this festival in Serbia that is supposed to be the largest Balkan Brass Festival in the world. So, screw Coachella and to hell with Bonaroo. This is the festival I want to see!
4. Trek Omalo to Shatili (Georgia)
Since I'll be spending a good portion of 2018 in Georgia, I thought it would only be fitting if I included a trek within the country on the list. I have already been to the Black Sea, the mountainous region of Svaneti, and Mt. Kazbek. However, one place I unfortunately haven't made it to is the remote northeast region of the country. I've been told by others who have been there that the two villages listed above are absolute must sees, but as it turns out, there is no direct road between them. Is that going to stop me? Of course not! I'll go from one to the other by foot, take in nature and all its glory (approximately for 4 days) and live off the land (hopefully).
3. Trans Siberian Railway (Russia)
Although I lived in Russia for two years, I never ended up making this iconic journey across the world's largest country. In 2017, I considered doing so but ultimately decided on traveling down the Volga River and into Central Asia instead. In 2018, I plan to fulfill this journey and take the rails all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok. If I go nonstop, it will take about seven days to complete, but that means I'll spend the entire time on the train. Instead, I plan to stop in towns and see geographical features like the Ural mountains, Altai mountains and (once again) Lake Baikal. So, I would probably set aside 3-4 weeks in total. If it happens, this will be the longest land trip I have ever done by far.
2. Annapurna Circuit (Nepal)
Do you know what's awesome? Mountains! Do you know what's even more awesome? Really, really big mountains! It's been a dream of mine for some time to visit Nepal and witness the rooftop of the world with my very own eyes, and if 2018 acts accordingly, hopefully that will happen. Ideally, it would be great to summit one of these giants, but since the fatality rate is pretty high and I'm a combination of uncoordinated, clumsy, and inexperienced, I will (probably) not attempt that. Instead, there is a trek around the base of Annapurna (8th tallest mountain in the world) that is supposed to be absolutely unbelievable. I think I'll have to settle for that.
1. Pamir Highway (Tajikistan)
Going through the rural mountainous Central Asian country of Tajikistan, the Pamir is the highest highway in elevation in the entire world. It towers at 4655m/15,270ft high and goes from Dushanbe, Tajikistan to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. For that reason alone, it already appeals to me, but after meeting a few friends who have been there, hearing their stories and seeing the pictures they've taken, this destination is now solidified as number one for the list. I've been to places with amazing scenery, but this road looks out of this world. It seems so wild and remote and I'm quite confident that if I do meet any other travelers here, they'd be the most amazing weirdos on planet Earth.
It's a place and country I know very little about, so it gives off this romanticized idea of wandering into the unknown. Unlike other places/adventures on my list, the goal here is not to complete anything or to reach a specific endpoint (like Vladivostok on the Trans Siberian). My only objective here is to immerse myself into the journey and see what the unknown has to offer. I want to stay with local families and escape the confines of modern technology and cell phone addicted zombies. I don't know what will be waiting for me here, and that makes it all the better.
Recorded Stories: This is pretty much self explanatory. I'm going to record my wonderful mumbling monotone voice as I recite the stories that I have written on the site. I'll likely add a video as well and hopefully there will be energy and enthusiasm, but since it's me, I wouldn't get your hopes up. That said, I can promise at the very least that it'll be interesting, rather odd, and (of course) awesome.
Friend Stories: If you're bored of seeing stories only through the lenses of my experience, I have good news for you! Currently a few other people I know are working on their own stories that will soon be sent to me and put up on the site.
Podcast: I'm hoping to get this up and running when my next trip starts. Here, I'll find someone that I've deemed to be awesome, have them tell a story and then have a conversation with them about it. If I get this project up off the ground, expect one to be put up every week or two.