Interesting article by LP and Odyssey Guide author Mayhew on the kind of things you see in Tibet if you wander off the beaten track too much.
Perhaps Uzbekistan is off the beaten track for Americans, but not for Europeans for sure. Good article for those who those across the pond who have little idea of this area, but I for one would have also liked to have seen some more in-depth details.
All in all, nice article from one of the great promoters of Central Asia in Canada.
I solemnly swear this is great stuff! For anyone interested in history, culture and great writing from a real traveler.
Sheki is a lovely town, one of the highlights of a trip to Azerbaijan. Khan's palace is nicely captured by the Bald Hiker. Especially interesting knowing most of it is original and never restored. Missing a picture of the rose garden in front though!
I think with regards to why people travel less to Pakistan, brand image is everything. Like you said, Matt, there are countries with recent violent episodes that are majority-Muslim that still attract a lot of Westerners. What is the difference between Indonesia and Pakistan? In my opinion, mostly brand image. I believe it is the task of Pakistan's DMO to change that, stressing the positive sides without straying from reality.
The other thing that Pakistan is suffering from is connectivity. It is not close to any tourist hub. In its heyday, it was on the Hippie Trail - you had to go through Pakistan to get from Afghanistan to India. Now that the Hippie Trail has gone from a 5-lane highway to a scrubby forest path, Pakistan is not on the way to anywhere anymore.
CBT is definitely one option to do ecotourism in Kyrgyzstan, one that pleases many, upsets some (see eg. 1 comment on the article). In general pretty decent. There are also other options that don't enjoy the reach of CBT but can offer the same rewards for travelers and community alike - sometimes with a better price and service levels. As Kyrgyzstan is poised to become the new Nepal, more issues with CBT are bound to pop up as some of the participants get $-signs in the eyes. In general, can still recommend, esp. for yurt stay.
People often ask me advice about travel in Afghanistan. They understand it's risky, I warn them again and give them sources where they can inform themselves better. I only tell them to not cycle - that's really a crazy plan - everything else really depends on how risk-averse the traveler is. Up to them.
An example to us all!
Wonder why eagle hunting articles are always about Mongolia. There are more eagle hunters in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and more authentic experiences to be had in Xinjiang. A typical branding issue in my mind.
I remember this has already been done before http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/
My picks for Central Asia (since you asked so kindly :-)
If anyone is reallly interested, I reviewed around a 100 books on Central Asia http://caravanistan.com/books/central-asia/ and subpages
I completely agree with Karen Catchpole here, other languages are left out, and have already started reading up on literature on the region in other languages I know. There is especially a lot of good travel literature in French and German that remains untranslated in English.
Seeing how you can get your foreign news in so many other places these days, I don't see how it is an issue.
Really good storytelling here!
Good point. I guess places like Nowhere are relying on their brand strength to get people interested enough to open the link.
There is indeed a very big interest in Tajikistan, growing YoY. Of the 7 stans my website covers, posts on Tajikistan consistently get the highest engagement.
If the question is: what do content consumers want vs what are they getting, the main thing I think is missing from this article is video and pictures. This platform is populated by writers, as is the majority of travel publishing, but outside of them, most people don't want to read anything more than a few lines, imo. They want video and pictures.
Lonely Planet understood this, and bought Teton Gravity, an adventure film company, this week.
Sure, I can let it pop up on the site. I am working on a new version - should be online in February. That would be a good time to run it.
Came away with a lot of reading tips! I already read quite a bit of Chika Unigwe's stuff, she is a very observant and witty writer on Afropean issues.
I liked this article a lot because it offers a positive take on things, different from the poc discussion going on now at outbounding, which focuses solely on the negatives. I agree all travel writing is political (I saw Wanjeri Gakuru tweeting Brecht) and that colonized spaces need to change the story and imagery around them if they want to succeed globally through cultural messaging and soft power politics.
Travel writing definitely has a part to play in this, and it fits in nicely with the emerging field of constructive/solutions journalism. I hope to one day add to it myself, giving a platform to local voices in Central Asia.
I don't see this working. CS is not perfect, but it still works.The barrier to change to another site is too high. Similar examples: Facebook, Google.
You need to do more searching than in the early days, but that's it. Ppl still respond to requests. Girls getting harassed? Freebie-hunters? That was the same when I started almost 10 years ago. More spam, though, that's true.
Not perfect, but it'll do for most of us.
@hitriddle I think that's the main thing, aged out of it. When you have more money, you tend to make less effort. It's more comfortable, but less interesting. Dilemmas...
Really like Marco Ferrarese's work!
I have a lot of respect for George Monbiot. But I have even more respect for Stewart Brand. Here is his take on the subject, a decidedly less sensationalist view: http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-extinction-is-not-the-problem/
@hitriddle I left that fear behind. I went through a phase of carborexia about 10 years ago, but I noticed that did not change anything. Now, having read a lot more about history, geology, biology, philosophy and psychology, I am really not worried anymore. Quite optimistic. I started meditating, living in the present. I took a long view. Met a lot of different people in a bad situation. Stopped reading the news. If anyone reading this is feeling anxious about the future, I can highly recommend those steps.
@BobbySeal1 Late to this discussion, but wanted to add an excellent flaneur from my hometown - http://walkingalmaty.com/. It's really good, Kevin Kelly from Wired has already said he is planning to do a similar one for San Francisco.
@Landscapism I think it's difficult to write an engaging book about landscape without adding some type of storyline, so I don't mind writers getting a bit lyrical. Otherwise it's just science, right? Of the books you mention, I especially like McFarlane's Wild Places.
@amyggalexander Totally agree. The true flaneur does not need to go outside of his home town ever. Pessoa is another great example here.
I don't know if it qualifies as travel, but I see some of the other stuff around here interprets the term broadly as well, so I thought I would put it up.
@hitriddle thanks, that's how I saw it too. :-)
@hitriddle Been meaning to go there for years now, always got held back for personal reasons. Perhaps this summer if no new issues crop up. Through my work I do know quite a lot of people there (including the author, definitely a rising star). It's got so much potential in terms of tourism. For people into the link between food and culture and Tajikistan, I can also recommend my own interview with the author of an important book on this topic.