In dedication to World Oceans Day
Thirty years ago, my eyes would have been blinded by the reflection from the Aral Sea’s waters. Today, they stared at sand and saxual bushes that merged into a hazy horizon no matter which direction I turned. Our Landcruiser had been bouncing along a four-wheel-drive track for nearly ninety minutes. We were driving on the seabed, or what remained of it. A rusted-out bus rested upside down and scorched at the side of the road near where we had left the Ustyrt Plateau and entered the Aral Sea’s former seabed. Since then, I had seen little else beyond the occasional gas rig or pipeline marker - the latest business of choice in a fishing region erased of its sea.
Towers built to resist the enemy rose around me. Not consecutively but scattered across the valley, each attached to a home built from the same worn blocks of stone. Time roughened their edges, rain nibbled their sandy grout and flashbacks of former raids hid between nooks and melted into shadows. Today, yellow flowers painted a tapestry at the foot of certain towers while white-blossomed trees soothed their memories, lifting troubles of past generations lightly in the breeze.
The towers stood for resilience. Resilience of the town’s ancestors and strength of community that still filters through neighbourly life. Koshkebi (“stone towers”) define the Svaneti region of northern Georgia, yet my eyes were transfixed by what lay lower to the ground.
The streets were deserted. Had we fallen into a fairy-tale city decorated like a fancy wedding cake but without any guests? The morning felt oddly serene as we wandered the cobblestoned lanes and wound our way to Vilnius’ central Cathedral Square." ...continued in the Fallen Kingdoms Chapter of Searching for Unique.
Favourite Cafe: Crustum Bakery and Café earned its place as our favourite coffee and bakery spot in Vilnius: crustum.lt.
Step through the destinations featured in my latest book, Searching for Unique, with a virtual tour in Google Maps.
Trek through untouched valleys with more sheep than people in the blustery Faroe Islands. Feel the heat of an ancient Buddhist fire ceremony in the secluded Kingdom of Bhutan. Discover these and twenty-five more places across five continents through bite-sized narratives and on-the-ground travel advice.
Searching for Unique was released in November 2018. For more about the book and links to buy a copy, click the link below:
Follow one traveller's journey across all seven continents in a virtual Google Maps tour!
Enjoy excerpts from Dust in My Pack and links to destinations covered through Google Maps. You just might find inspiration for your next holiday.
The book is available as an eBook and paperback at most online bookstores and in-store at select shops. For more about the book and links to buy it, follow the link below:
“We trod back in time to Sri Lanka’s central archaeological sites, which seep with passion even in the present day. As the sun’s early rays turned the sky from steely grey to a soft lemon colour, we stood alone near the ancient Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a tree in the southern end of Anuradhapura’s archaeological city. Metal gates barred access, clamped together with a large lock that hung dejectedly until the key man arrived. It was not long before we realized everything was about to change.”
Searching for Unique’s Fallen Kingdom Chapter
The Faroe Islands
“Like your moody aunt, the Faroe Islands display characteristics of cranky, wind-blown isolation in the most endearing manner, tempting visitors to chip away at her mysterious beauty”
Explorer of all seven continents on a quest to find the essence of lesser-visited destinations.