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I don’t have your current email address and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Also, you weren’t on MSN when I was writing this, so this was the best way I had to contact you. You’re not home for the long weekend, are you? I figure you’re probably not, but if you are, we’re trying to put some stuff together. Let me know at email@example.com .
I hate sharpening pencils too.
i see you are living it up in zambia, and yay for updating blog! i would e-mail you also, but i don’t know which one you use. shoot me a line at saba.khan at gmail. stay safe :)
On the topic of African roads, if you haven’t read it already, you should read “The road to hell is unpaved: Trucking in Cameroon”
(If you don’t have your economist login, let me know and I’ll email you the article)
That article was great. Thanks
Keep up the stories they are soo interesting!!! SHure its different, but man what an awesome experience….be careful not to eat too many moldy products!
BTW do you eat alot of sorghum now instead of oats???
STay safe and get yourself into a little international trouble!!!
P.S Gimme a shout when you get back, if I’m around a little whistler perhaps!
I have yet to try sorghum, but I did explore the market and asked for some. Nobody had any. I would like to try sorghum and cassava because I’ve never even seen it.
I have been eating maize-meal porridge in the mornings. It’s just like an African cream-of-wheat.
Really??? No Sorghum….weird…. I would have thought that they be rampid in that…. BTW I might be on my way to Africa myself…I am in the mists of applying for an internship in S.Africa….it wouldn’t be until september…but you always know fuller that if you are in the area you can crash on my couch…:p
P.s Apparently there is this fruit called Iobaga that comes from somewhere in AFRICA…one of the most painful and powerful hallucinagens known to man…they use it to try and cure heroine addicts!
Tell me if you see it :p
It sounds like you are experiencing peace.
Your images of children running and waving after your car make me smile bigger than you know.
Thank you for your updates, I’m glad you survived your time out in the African bush.
How did your time in the bush go!?
Fletcher here..Hope all is well..BTW strikes mean less supply of commodities in question..therefore higher profits for the co`s other mines in the long term….surprising the stock market is more rational than one would guess.
Give me a ring when you get back to Vancouver..
GO MIKE!!! KICK SOME ASS FOR ME OVER THERE!!!!!!
Hope to see you soon Vancouver misses you and me to!
Yup Mike that’s pretty much Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam) in a nutshell. As an expat I wouldn’t walk around Dar by myself too much. Have fun in Arusha. It’s a neat place
Dar was a crap hole. I’m in Nairobi now which is known to be worse but actually I love it. Everyone has been amazingly nice, and we even walked the streets at night in the neighbourhood the Lonely Planet advises against without troubles.
Mike! I never realized you were such a technocrat… blogging since ’05 even! I’ll have to read through your blog some time.. uh.. not at work. Yeah…
lol hey Ian. Did you google me up?
Ah, Cecil Rhodes, eh?
I was recently reminded of a fantastic quotation from the man, thanks to a book I’m reading at the moment (about a village cricket side that toured the world). It was: “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”
Bad luck on the scholarship application, though, old chap.
Hopefully catch up soon.
Too bad about Rhodes, it seemed Cecil was your man…
I guess it wasnt in the stars.
Hey, Im moving to Toronto for two years in May, up in yo hometown! Hey-hey.
Good luck with your final term at school, Mike. Sweet, beautiful freedom is whispering your name.
Dude, you got Straylia day wrong.
It is bigger out East, with people holding BBQs and listening to the Hottest 100.
In Perth as far as I can tell the CUBs all head to Kings Park to camp out all day waiting for the fireworks, as if they have never seen exploding gunpowder before.
Fuller! Loved the detailed description of your hooligan encounters in the ‘burbs. Had me grinning thinking of your polite, yet subtly sarcastic replies. Keep up the stories!
ps. Also the hood/reef pictures are wonderful.
Dave what do you mean I got it wrong?
I find that when cultures are somewhat similar (ie; Chinese and Malay are closer than Indian and Canadian) they do a lot to guard the differences they do have.
Also, I have been on many escalators in my life and I still do that when I board one.
Hey you’re right. It’s like US and Canadian; we proudly defend the differences between our cultures. Or when I meet ESL foreigners in Perth I make sure they know I’m not Australian.
Removing shoes is definitely the more sensible custom.
I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.
Mike, be nice to the locals, 75 cents is a lot for them and nothing for you.
Speaking of horns, trucks from West Bengal (they’re usually very colourful) have equally colourful horns… these may be the ditties that you speak of. It’s typical of that state apparently.
Soph, I don’t need to be reminded of that. I’m exceedingly polite and respectful to people, but sometimes we’re so overwhelmed by annoying touts we need to have some fun to balance things out.
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Was it Flury’s the swank pastry shop in Calcutta? How did you like the city? Was it as I described it to you (did I describe it to you?)
As for the customer service…it’s just as bad in Europe… so now you know how I feel as a ‘coloured person’ being served in a white man’s town.
Yes it was Flury’s! (Where the cashier was on his mobile)
I loved Kolkata. Favourite big city, especially compared with Delhi *shudder*.
You described Kolkata as ‘sheer chaos’ so I expected disorganized anarchic nonsense.
But I found it chilled out, with lots of culture (modern art, live music), good restaurants, markets, and bearable touts.
It does have a thriving art scene, this is true… and apparently some wild parties, but this is not anything I would know.
Well, I’m glad you liked it! Surprised… but glad.
It was specially registered at a forum to tell to you thanks for the help in this question how I can thank you?
G’day, mate. Mate actually rhymes with Mike :D
Not in Canadia
All these East Asian countries (well, not all) are light years ahead with their transport and communications technology, it’s ridiculous. That we still do not have high speed trains in N. America is crazy – they’re magic baby!
Ah, we can only dream of such technologies… or move to civilized countries!
If you really dig bioluminescence, you need to have another try at scuba diving. There’s nothing quite like being completely consumed by glowing bugs. :)
Have you experienced any of the trailing weather from typhoon Megi?
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Dan that sounds incredible.
Megan, your typhoon just barely missed us, as it turned northwards. Some rains in central Vietnam cut off the highway and railway right after we passed through, and apparently the temples of Bagan were ravaged by rain a few days before we arrived. Lucky!
I searched my name for family pics and came across your work, excellent photos, your name is pretty cool too :p
Hey thanks. Scary we actually have a bunch more in common than just our names.
No photos of Vientiane? Did you make it to any of the places on the map? We were very happy to get out of Vang Vieng. My brother and his friend drank for the kids for a day and then we left. A couple of days later a 19 year old boy from Melbourne (and a friend of my brother) died on the river. Only 2 weeks after the last Aussie death.
I didn’t find anything photogenic in Vientiane. I just hung out with cool expats and couchsurfers. And scarfed delicious French cuisine.
How did your bro know the guy who died and how did he die? I really hope it wasn’t the friend your bro was traveling with!!!
P.S. Good job finding my blog! And what map do you mean?
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P.P.S. Thanks for the advice on Saoban. I bought some nice things there. And the movie night was full so I never made it out for the film.
It wasn’t the friend my brother was traveling with but another guy from Melbourne that he knew. They were both pretty upset though.
Glad you had a good time in VT even if there was nothing to take photos of. Pity you didn’t go to the movie… they never really book out because people don’t turn up.
The map = the annotated map in your dodgy looking Lonely Planet!
The trouble with Lao-Lao…
Crikey, almost another statistic!
Hey Michael, great to hear from you. I have more travel pictures – also from the elephant farm – on Facebook. How can I find you there?
Look up Michael Fuller in Perth, or tell me your full name and I’ll find you!
that boat I was on… one of them just sank. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28826352
stop sinking boats. – boat-owners association.
I hope they listen!
that boat I was on… one of them just sank. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28826352
UPDATE: Prana has kindly donated to me a new pair of Stretch Zion pants. The adventure continues for another decade!
love the map, especially how it shows your different modes of transport! now I’m wondering if you wrote about your passenger ship journey to yiching…
I actually didn’t write much about that leg (just checked http://michaelfuller.ca/updates-galore/ ), which is strange because it was quite surreal. The Captain thought we had made a mistake by booking the 12 bed dorm, and gave us the 4 bed instead :)
I also met a grown woman who had never seen a real-life white person before.
It was wild.
Very informative. An enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing
Thanks Mom. You will probably always hold status as my #1 fan!
Wow Mike! Your pics are beautiful! Your website has a lovely glossy magazine look. Good luck on your adventure :)
Bek, your books a pretty glossy too! :)
I don’t think you are crazy. I know that you are crazy and I love you for it. Sounds sweet man! Have fun.
Haha cheers Ben. Living the dream! Hope you’re well, mate. This 2015 journey will take me into Canadia sometimes in the summer, so I hope to see you then :)
Hi Mike – Dean from Cosmos here.
I admire your bravery – well done mate!!
Look forward to hearing some more from your adventures – don’t forget to post on Linkedin
Thanks bro! What a time we had back then eh. Prepared me for anything :)
I’ve posted one article on LinkedIn but it’s really not the correct audience for much of what I’m doing. I’ll post what’s relevant.
Most of us dont eventually escape the rat race till retirement, then again most of us dont wheel our balls around in a wheel barrow like yourself. Good luck mate, I wish you all the very best.
John, LoL thanks mate. You’re too kind.
P.S. I don’t expect this will be a sustainable lifestyle, but I’ll certainly have a good crack at it and hope that people enjoy it enough to help it grow.
If not, I’ll just get back into the race (there are plenty of great rats to run with!)
wow Michael! I just realised who you were when I saw the post. :) This is a fantastic story. I love your photos as well, they are really exceptional. Im going to be following all your ideas on how to improve mine. Best, Sarah
Does Liz keep a blog at least?
Unfortunately not. Her idea was originally to travel for a year from Aus to Germany without any airplanes or internet, using only postcards to send messages to people.
Neither of those plans came to fruition :) but a lot of other crazy stuff happened that made up for it.
Ok Mikey, time to come home:
Haha cheers. People keep sending me that link!
Good info….in my little travels of the world the greatest barrier was broken when I travelled with children…..go figure….children have a universal connection without barriers and so as an adult you get to come along…everyone is friendly, smiling and helpful…was such an eyeopener.
Children, and puppies! Amazing isn’t it? They’re like kryptonite against people’s adult rigidity, in our own culture. Imagine if instead we could all embrace our inner child, all the time. How lovely would public interactions be?
I lived in a town in Costa Rica called Heredia where every Sunday I would go to the Church Square or park just to sit and read. Being a blonde haired “macha’ blue eyed lady I was immediately set upon by the kids so they could practice their English. The more I talked with them, the more the crowd grew around me. It was the best time of my week. They were like sponges and we laughed and sang and they were not shy in showing their appreciation with hugs. When they were leaving their parents always showed their respect saying ‘gracias profesorra’ so simple a compliment but meant so much.
What a beautiful story. Did you get to do this regularly? I guess you wouldn’t get much reading done :P
I love the parents reaction!
I really like my Scrubba bag for laundry. It doubles as a dry sack/stuff sack/dirty laundry bag. Takes about 5-10 mins to do the washing itself. Then comes the wringing and hang drying part.
I also been carrying a reusable shopping bag. I bought one on a whim in Sweden but was surprised how much I used it. I tend to lug a sack of food around with me on a trip. Sometimes you just need to pack up your bag ASAP. Sometimes you don’t want what they are serving on the train, bus, road side stall. I love street food but sometimes the fare is inadvisable. I also always take the motion sickness bags from the airlines. They are plastic lined so you can either carry food in it, or use it as intended on windy bus ride through treacherous mountain roads.
I’ll look into liquid bandage. Sounds good for cuts from snorkelling/scuba diving too.
Wow that bag is brilliant!! If I wasn’t paying $2 to have my clothes laundered and folded for me in most countries I’d get one in a second.
I have old stuff sacks or plastic shopping bags with me for the purposes you mentioned, Mel. Though I’ve never been motion sick (unless you count sea-sick, a few years ago in Zanzibar). Good idea with the motion sickness bags for other not-yet-eaten foodstuff!
What’s funny is I think I have a brown pair of prAna pants like those… with buttons that let you turn them into capris. I love them too.
If you asked me this question I’d tell you about one such country: China. After uni I spent 2 months traveling all over the ‘Middle Kingdom’: learning some mandarin, speaking to random people in lower-class trains, and reading lots about the nation’s culture (which sits atop a fundamentally different foundation than our pervasive western one).
What did I learn? That one single country has a billion people’s worth of stories, art, culture, philosophy and history. *mind blown* Unless someone’s been to India or China, that’s probably more history than all the nations they’ve visited combined. *mind blown* And what’s more than the breadth of China is the depth: the nation is essentially over 3000 years old. *mind blown*.
These realisations ballooned my sense of our world’s scale. I started to see the world from outside our western biases. And clearly, it blew my mind.
The 21st century struggle of gloat, privilege and courage. I’ve come across many travelers who have expressed their (un)Unique experiences within the spectrum of these three words. Traveling the world today is easier than it has ever been historically. We compete for place amongst our peers solely to define ourselves and choices. Many people feel the need to call out the ‘braggers’ and separate themselves from others who might seem too proud of their adventures. We’re all on this banana pancake trail together. My two cents is that it’s important to remember that even the gloaters are right in their justification to experience the world. I really do think it takes a lot of courage to walk out the door and away from the familiar. Regardless of weather or not one is articulate enough to explain what truly drives them to the far reaches of the globe. Cheers to the poor immigrants who climb aboard the leaky boat with no compass. I’m out there on the horizon with you.
Not sure how much you were directing this at me but I’m guilty at times of calling out the braggers. Because I want people to reflect on the intrinsically rewarding reasons for travel.
I agree that Getting Out There for whatever reason is truly worthwhile (for more motivation read Josh’s blog!), and I’m stoked with people who are proud of themselves for overcoming challenges and new experiences (think of Malou in my Indonesia #5). Especially people who can do this without starting a pissing contest!
I would contest Josh whether these travellers are actually experiencing the world. I think there is a world of difference in experiential value of tourism (moving from one hotel to the next and seeing the sights) and travelling (immersion in the culture and lands). It is possible now to travel the world and not experience the unfamiliar. A ski holiday to Italy would “count” in most peoples books. The difference in the snow between countries would be their travel story.
I like your rephrasing of the question Mike. It does tease out the distinction. For me, Chile, when I was 17, was the mind blowing travel experience that burst my narrow view of the world. It was a student exchange though so I was well immersed. A holiday to Thailand a couple of years ago was the reverse experience. Everything was designed as a tourist trap. A very disheartening experience. The relationship couldn’t get past their need for my money.
Blair, thanks for your input! I like your point about immersion, that’s an important thing I didn’t explicitly mention. Reminds me of a great description of author Robert Kaplan I’ve been waiting to share:
Kaplan is successful in part because of HOW he travels – slowly, by land or sea, mainly. As he puts it “the essence of travel was to slow the passage of time. One could fly, but “flying from place to place encourages abstractions, whereas land travel brings one face-to-face with basic, sometimes unpleasant truths. I preferred to travel by second-class car and stay in cheap hotels because it allowed me to go on learning.”
What was it about Chile that blew your mind?
I most definitely used the wrong weather*. Regardless of whether or not you noticed. :)
Mike, did I ever mention this to you?
Haha that’s good, but I think Narcis-stick is even better!
Well, my answer to your question is Vietnam, but it comes with a complex answer as to why it was so significant to me. I’ve decided it’s way too wordy for this little space (mainly because I’ve not managed to understand my thoughts on it exactly). However, I have two questions which relates to it; can you describe the difference between being a traveller and tourist? And why do we dislike being called the latter but happily describe others as it?
Just a thought.
Hi Sam! I’ve thought a lot about the difference, and there is much written about this (even an eHow article!). But my definition differs slightly from others, and is far more simpler:
I think a tourist is someone who brings a lot of cultural baggage with them, whereas travellers want and expect to adapt to local culture.
Tourists expect their comforts and habits to be catered to: Be it language, food, or transport. They want and expect pizza in Thailand, cleanliness in India, english in Peru, beer in Indonesia, and schedules adhered to in Tanzania.
Tourists dislike being called tourists? I’ve never experienced that. I think travellers dislike the title, but if they’re guilty of touristic behaviour they should expect it. Some days in some countries, I can be a tourist. But others are always tourists, and I don’t think they consider the title negative.
I’m curious about your Vietnam experience…
[…] I’ve just quit (a job I loved) to focus on travel photography, story-telling, and sharing advice. I launched the ONE Project to […]
[…] Most embarrassing travel moment: Getting conned in Zambia. It was my first day travelling in Africa after working three months in a copper mine. But I got my money’s worth the next day, because I found the thief…. […]
[…] Favorite beach: Long Beach, Haida Gwaii, because it led me back from Rose Spit on the best solo hike of my life. […]
Loving the Taj Mahal shot!
I can’t wait to get my old hard drive out of Los Angeles. I’ve got a great one of the Lincoln Monument in Washington D.C. if I can remember correctly. I’d love to share it with you! GREAT WORK!
I’ve used many of these tactics myself and find it to be pretty effective in most cases. However, there are times when I want to go shopping and must engage with said ‘trinket mob’ (i.e. picking up some souvenirs for the folks back home). The moment you engage with one merchant in a market it’s no holds barred for the rest. The most important thing for me to remember is to remain lighthearted, calm. When I choose to enter the bullpen I try and make it a game. I keep a smile on my face and always enter a haggle using humor, not frustration (or disgust), when settling on a price. Another trick I learned is to buy something early even if you don’t like it all that much. This gives me an item to hold up to other touts, expressing to them that my shopping is done for the day. Have you ever deployed these other solutions? I’m with you though. I find it best to simply keep my streetlight doused.
INteresting strategy! Of course I keep it fun when bargaining as well (I’m sure you’ve read my 4 Tips to Bargain Better with Laughter and Smiles). I have never employed your ‘early buy’ strategy, usually just politely declining people’s offers.
A strange thing happened yesterday: Since I am in Uzbekistan and everyone’s faces are amazing, I was making portraits in the bazaar. The women were so friendly and patient, I was going to buy something to say thanks, when they started handing me free veg as a thank you for taking their photograph. Amazing!! Of course I went over and bought some more of their things (even though I know this wasn’t her motivation by the gift. This sort of thing keeps happening to me, across Central Asia).
This place is truly remarkable (for this and many other reasons I hope to share once I’m done writing about Sumatra).
Oooh – I never thought of combining the head shake with a slow blink. That’s firm.
One of the things I learned while living in Vietnam was to say “No thank you, I already have one” in Vietnamese. (I experienced the mobs of girls in Sa Pa,too!) And when the tout suggests another item, reuse the phrase again and again until the encounter turns into a comical and lighthearted exchange. When I moved to Cambodia, I made sure to have key phrases in Khmer ready to go in an instant, including the one above. I even had the opportunity to use it when a tuktuk driver suggested that he could be my boyfriend!
Oh Erika that’s classic. Hehe I love it!
‘Track pants’? – Mike – those are called tracky dacks! (an example of both rhyming slang and the tendency to put ‘y’ or ‘ie’ on the end of words)
Not sure if this is just a Queensland thing, but how about ‘pineapples’ for $50 notes?
Thanks for the list.
Michelle, all us Aussies know what track pants are really called. But I couldn’t confuse everyone when I was trying to get them to translate!!
Victorians call ’em pineapples too, but it’s not really a thing with sandgropers.
P.S. I assume you know there are also lobsters, and ‘blue swimmers’
Ha, I enjoyed this Mike, my fave was your description of our use of the term “piss”… so so true.
I’d like to make two variations though: you’re correct about the definition of “spewin”, however it’s still used to say vomiting, it just depends on the context of it’s use; if there’s a sharp smell coming from the dunny, you can assume someone’s been spewin or has “thrown up their guts”.
The other thing I’d dispute is that only some Aussies are bogans, I’m more inclined to think that all Australian’s are bogans, it’s just the degrees of bogan which differentiates each of the class groups… you don’t usually have to dig too deep to find someones inner bogan, yep even you Mike, it happened as you accepted that citizenship beer in hand.
I’ve never used or heard “pineapple”, “lobster” and “blue swimmer” to describe money, but I’ll endeavour to adopt this immediately! Although I’ll swap swimmer for manna otherwise no one will understand me! So what do I call the hundred note and the fiver? Perhaps just the latter, I never see a hundge anyway.
Good article mate.
Sam, I brought those beers with me. Inner bogan indeed!
Glad you found the piss one entertaining – coincidentally I just returned home from sinking piss with friends and family, at my brother’s local. We went straight from Ultimate frisbee – pretty daggy.
I guess ‘spewin’ is multi-faceted after all. Also, I don’t know any names for hundies or fivers. You should make them up and we can start a new trend ;)
Yea, good information….how did you get so smart so young?
Being neither smart nor young I’m entirely confused by your com(pli)ment!
Your photos are with educational stories for children and people.Every one of your photos has be interesting story(the right time recorded),fantastic job.
Thanks so much Valentina. I think photos are very effective at story telling, and I love to teach and share the wonders of our world.
Nice list and break-down Mike. Real honky-dory mate.
About the ‘carton of beer’; its just ‘carton’.
e.g, Instead of:
“On your drive past the liquor shop on your way around to my barbeque this afternoon would you mind purchase a 24 box of beer for me please?”
“Grab me a carton could ya”.
Disclaimer: ‘Carton’ may or may not become ‘carton of piss’, on a day where one feels most unusually expressive (or, perhaps counter-intuitively given the association: thirsty).
p.s. Just for good measure I should point out that I think you Aussies pinched a few of these from us Kiwis (unlike the rugby ball, which you can’t seem to get your hands on… I thought you’d like that one.)
(e.g. ‘toggs’ perhaps? Oh, not to mention ‘boot’ (of your car of course), and most controversially over the ages, the delicious ‘pavlova’; covered with kiwi-fruit slices, naturally… ;)
Oh but at least you invented the under-arm rolling bowl huh (in cricket). Nice one.
Sorry, had to chuck that last one in as you refuse to buy our apples and I do miss good kiwi Braeburns..
Haha, nice one Steely. Spot on with the carton translation! And of course, that old chestnut about pavlova.
North Americans would’ve assumed “carton” was a 1L of milk, so I had to say “carton of beer”. I never explained in the post what a “carton” was, because I didn’t want to add another line for that definition (I felt I had enough already)
[…] travel moment: Getting arrested in China (and narrowly missing a subsequent terrorist […]
awesome post Mike! I am in the process of setting up a travel coaching business with the intention of pushing people out of their comfort zone into challenging travel situations in order for them to grow and develop mentally & emotionally which your article articulately illustrates :) I’ll share your article with my new clients! Hope you’re well!!
Thanks so much Gen, I would love to hear their thoughts too!
Your new business sounds very intriguing. I’m going to email you to find out more…
One of my awesome travel experiences and an example of this serendipity is discovering a small permaculture farm in northern Thailand based on a post someone put in Wikitravel. (see http://michaelfuller.ca/lese-majeste-thailandlaos-1/ for the story) There I met some amazing people. One of them then recommended a tranquil riverside village in Laos – one without roads, cars, electricity, or internet; and accessible only by boat.
Subsequently, I visited that tranquil village for a few days of chatting with locals, swinging in a hammock, and meeting some crazy Germans building a raft. (they wanted to float hundreds of kilometres down river town. They nearly drown just building it, and I never heard from them again once I left.)
Love this post, Mike. I really, really want to go there!
Aww thanks Kate! It’s just a quick (few) flights from London, plus a five hour drive and a day of touring up the valley ;)
In regards to banks that don’t charge heaps for international withdrawals, the American bank USAA does a great job for travelers from the United States. No fees for foreign ATM withdrawals and their international conversion rate is laughably low. The company is also quick to respond when your card goes on walk-about (as they sometimes do) while you’re abroad. Double win!
Erika that’s a great one to add to the list, for any fellow Yanks reading my page! Thanks for your $0.02 (or is that $0.019 after fees?)
Great work, Mike! Not too many people have delved into the world of Ladas as much as you have. I’m looking forward to more of your essays about Central Asia.
Thanks Greg! I wrote one more that I hadn’t tweeted to you yet. Not sure if you saw it: http://michaelfuller.ca/where-the-heck-is-kyrjikistan-a-fingerful-of-central-asian-history/
Stay tuned – I think you’ll love my upcoming posts from the region. I love Central Asia!
Great post! I lived in Central Asia for a couple years, and I grew to appreciate the Lada. They were a nice break from the ubiquitous Daewoos. My favorite was the Lada Niva.
I also look forward to reading more of your work on Central Asia!
Aww thanks for your kind words, Sara! The Niva is certainly a force to be reckoned with… lots of them around Kyrgyzstan, whereas Daiwoos are much more common in Uzbekistan.
I’ll be posting some more awesome photo essays and ‘Experience’ stories soon, just after I get this other project here (The World at Work) off the ground.
I love this! I’ve been wanting to visit for awhile, but I had no idea how, exactly, Haida Gwaii achieved its protected status.
Also, I really want to see old growth trees in the wild now :p
It’s such a magical place.
No matter what grade of hotel that I stay in, I always put a rubber Door Stop under the room exterior door. I travel alone so even during the daytime when in my room, I do not want any surprise visitors. In a zip plastic medium size baggy I have 8 rubber bands, 4 large, 4 medium,. 8 paper clips.. 4 large 4 medium,.. 3 yards fine cotton cord, 3 yards medium cotton cord..6 safety pins..1 roll scotch tape.. 2 ball point pens.. In India, I travel with a metal chain with a padlock on the trains.
A door stop is a great safety idea. I also carry some rubber bands, pens, and tape. But mine is duct tape. I also carry ziplock bags – so handy!
A lock to keep your backpack from being carried off, that’s a good idea. I suppose I figure that my bag is heavy enough that if anyone steals it I’ll be able to catch them :)
Thanks for your tips Marylouise!
[…] I’ve just quit (a job I loved) to focus on travel photography, story-telling, and sharing advice. I launched the ONE Project to […]
Fuller, always an entertaining read. Very funny. Keep on trukin!
Haha brilliant story – seems you’ve got the best out of Kyrgyzstan :)
Haha, thanks Z! I’m sure you you’ve got some pretty rad hitching stories too :)
“If you’re carrying that assumption in your luggage, sadly, you’ll never give the world a chance to change your mind.” – YES!
And my hat vote: Bottom right!
Sometimes when I write lines, I think “Erika is going to love this one.” You and your brilliant writing inspire me to really stick the landings of my phrases.
And good choice – Robin Hood was my favourite too :)
I enjoy reading and viewing your travels. Marion has been keeping me informed. Happy Holidays and safe travels always.
Hi Kay. Thanks for the note! I’m glad she’s forwarding them on. If you’d like to save her the effort perhaps you’d consider joining my mailing list directly? Just go to http://eepurl.com/YUT1f I’ve got a few stories and photo-essays to come, from Uzbekistan!
Wow! It’s impossible to pick a favourite. So many sets of glittering eyes and wise smile crinkles. Great work, Fuller.
Well I’m glad you enjoyed it. And so glad to share these beautiful people with the world.
My first response: Whoa. Places like this still exist?! I want to go!
Also: There isn’t a caption on the arial photo of what look like giant bee hives (maybe kilns or tombs?). What’s that one about?
Great work as always, dude!
Whoa, Erika, they do indeed! Uzbekistan was waaay off my radar – I couldn’t name a single fact about the country before I arrived. It’s pretty rad, and the only touristy parts are inside the walls of their two largest ancient cities (Samarkand and Bhukara).
There are no beehives here! Those person-sized humps of stone were a mystery to us, too. Definitely not a tomb or a kiln. We even went inside one! It was probably for grain storage.
Thanks for the kudos!
Hey Mike, was it difficult to reach the place? I heard the public transport doesn’t even go to Moynaq…
Zivile, sorry I missed this comment earlier: It was not difficult to reach because Sasha had his own car and I was his co-pilot. The hard (normal) way to reach Moynaq is to first get to Nukus; then find some friends and get a taxi to bring you there and back.
There’s defo no traditional public transit options.
Utility cordelette is a good one!
I use (almost) the same block categories. If I can’t separate them with stuff sacks, I layer them: dirty laundry at the bottom, infrequent in the middle, and frequent near the top, with rain jacket at the very top.
Also, in my family we refer to the act of packing and unpacking as ‘farkling’. My father coined the term, known for taking as long as 45 minutes to farkle before setting off on the next leg of a trip. Perhaps if he employed your block method and used more stuff sacks, he’d farkle less.
Perhaps. Send him the link! :)
p.s. What he calls farkling, I call faffing.
Mike, your photos and words are so educational in a heartwarming and personable way…just so enjoyable! Thank you for sharing them.
Thank you for your kind words, Sharon! :)
Well hello there Mike – I came across your website via NikonRumors (what a place!) and I’m more than pleasantly surprised! I loved everything about this article and the humour peppered and sprinkled throughout your website. I’m a persnickety old bastard that doesn’t laugh much but I was laughing out loud reading. Thank you kindly for that. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you.
Hi Kelly! I’m so happy to hear at least one person finds me funny. :)
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been adding some great content here for a few years – especially in the last 12 months as I’ve made it my focus.
So I hope you’ll continue looking around here, and also please consider joining my mailing list if you want to get new stories and photo-essays!
Thanks, and welcome!
Ohhhh, man. Ula’s story is so terribly sad. We’re a fortunate bunch to be able to travel the world on a whim. Great work as always, Mike!
Agreed. I just hope this story reaches some of the people in our world who are *able* to travel but choose not to (out of fear or worry). It’s such a benefit to our lives, and such a privilege.
Like Mark Twain said, about another privilege: “A person who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over those who can’t read them.”
Fabulous and funny stories!!! I am always very curious about the people from this region of the world, a melting pot between Europe and Asia!!
By the way, do you know the fabulous work of this photographer from Uzbekistan?
Of course, this guy probably is working professionally for an elite of the country, but the people have the same charm, mystery and beauty has in your photos!…
Hi Luis! I’ve not before seen the work of Ravshaniya but she is very very good. I tried to figure out how she did the levitation shots, because it took me hours to do my one successful attempt , but after giving up I Googled and learned she uses Photoshop! D’oh. I won’t be a snob and say that’s cheating, because her work is very creative and beautiful!
I appreciate you comparing my photos’ charm, mystery and beauty with such a professional. If you liked the Uzbeks, did you check out the faces of the Kyrgyz yet?
very cool photos ;)
I read a short article here:
on interesting fact about Kyrgyzstan and found myself wondering what the people in general looked like
Your portraits were exactly what I was looking for. Truly beautiful people! Thank you!
Agreed they are gorgeous folks! And I’m so happy you found my photos. Did you find via googling ? If so I’m glad it did its job.
I love grassland and vallies under the mountains. You have an intriguing picture of the simple lodge that make me feel peaceful. Thanks !
You’re welcome Vivu! Being there made me feel peaceful too :)
Thank you for sharing with us your ideas about taking photos. There are a lot of people who take photos and forget about them right away. But do you the best way to remember a place we have been to is recording videos instead of taking only photos?
I think videos are great too! Especially for helping you remember a place.
However, if you want to also help others understand a space, I reckon videos (even more than photos) ought to be properly edited into something worth watching.
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes.
Thanks a lot for sharing!
I’m Indonesian and I must say that I’m impressed by your knowledge of Indonesia.. Tho not all of your definition is accurate, I still appreciate this <3
Hi Wina, thanks for your kind words. What were inaccurate about my responses? I learned most of this from Indonesian people, so I’m a bit surprised if I’m really off on something (probably lost in translation)
For instance, “apakah anda bercanda” is incredibly polite and doesn’t sound quite right to be something spoken by a local. The confusing thing about Bahasa Indonesia is that the “correct” way to speak is almost never the actual way people speak.
A more natural way to say it on the street would be “Duh, si abang becanda aja deh!” (“oh you’re just joking” to a male). It has a bit of Jakartan twang to it, but it’s a style that’s generally understood across Indonesia (thanks to Indonesian TV programmes, which are very heavily Jakarta-centric).
A somewhat more polite and dialect-agnostic way to say it could be “Wah kamu becanda ya!?” (“ah are you joking?”)
Locals are probably more likely to teach the “proper” Indonesian, but try ask them to teach you the street version. It’s very different, but definitely closer to how they normally speak, i.e. a lot more useful on the street ;)
Harry, thanks for the tip!! :)
I appreciate your work, thanks for all the interesting blog posts.
Connie thanks for your feedback! It means a lot to me to hear such appreciation.
Once again great photos…was starting to wonder where you were at. Camped in a van from Canada to Mexico several times….lovely scenery and so many little nooks and crannies to park a van making it ultra affordable and so interesting. Have fun. Love that shot of you up on the top of that spire.
Geri! Thanks for your comment. I loved climbing up on top of that spire!
I will be wait the next photo
Terima kasih temanku Dia!
These photos are gorgeous, and your description of the country has made it one of my number one fantasy travel destinations. I found the site when I searched Kyrgyz people in google images, curious about what they looked like, and the photo of the man holding his beautiful twin girls was the first to capture my attention, so I clicked and found this incredible photo essay- it’s truly remarkable how affectionately you’ve captured these beautiful faces with your lens. Thank you!
Hello Erin! Thanks so much for your kind words – it really means a lot to know that I’ve inspired someone to go and experience such an amazing place, and people :)
Not sure if you clicked around here a bit but this photo-essay is just the tip of an iceberg I’ve written about Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia! So if you’d like to read more or see other photo-essays you can find them here, or on the “Experience Map” here. Thanks again for the feedback – it makes my efforts really seem worthwhile!
what is the hardest part of living in Zambia?
hi Sarah! For me I reckon it was the isolation. I lived in a remote NW area of the country, outside a very small town, at a mine. I had very little in common with the other expats there (a few of whom were not good humans), and eventually befriended a crew of Indonesian skilled labourers for evening entertainment (a few spoke basic english). Eventually I made one real lasting friend, but yeah, it was tough!
Beautiful photos as always xx Weirdly, the stand out for me was the leaky tent pic :)
Waiting in suspense for next instalment.
Enjoy . xxx
ahhh, Oliver. What a dreadful tent.
Wonderful read and amazing photos, as always, dear! Lots of love from your proud Mom
Thanks Mom! Still and always my #1 fan :)
What a joy to read on my trek home …..and the captions in your photos ….safe travels
Michael, you never cease to amaze me! You are gifted in so many areas.
Have fun, be safe.
oh Louise you are too kind!! Glad you enjoyed it :)
Loved the amazing photos and your informative and entertaining commentary….as usual!
Thanks mom! Still my number 1 fan :)
Yes, your mother is right, so informative, entertaining commentary and amazing photos. I really enjoy your posts….always dreamed of going to Russia, nice to see the reality. And your girlfriend looks like a sweetheart and lots of fun. I look forward to your next post.
Aww Geri, thanks for your kind words!
Hey Mike Louisa here from kiting back in 2014 Cervantes weekends away with the crew. I am not in touch with any of them anymore. Still kiting heaps tho!
I am reading your articles with joy. Your style of writing is funny and easy. Thanks for describing the details of this awesome world in that way. Looking forward seeing more of your work.
Congrats on the dream job and dream girl!!! You deserve it!
Wow blast from the past ! I’m in touch with a few of them, but i have only kited twice since I left perth in 2015 :/
Thanks for reading! I am always so glad to hear feedback, because sometimes i wonder if anyone is out there… :)
I very much enjoyed this post. Loved the scenery.. However, still not adding Russia to my list of places to visit!
Happy you are safely home…
Louise I don’t blame you! I didn’t exactly sell it very well…
I find you finally. I must speak with Anna.
OMG….Perfect! How FUnny!!!!
Hi Mike, Another fabulous post. Your pictures are incredible, a lot like Canada with the lakes and trees but the architecture not so much. Those buildings are amazing. So much history there. Canada’s history is of course only a century or so and much of that especially out west is going down. Sad but some call it progress especially if you like chopping trees and pouring cement.
I too have a travel list and your pictures are fulfilling my desire to see Russia.
Although I only had to go to Mexico in my early twenties to meet up with a hard drinking, vein bursting macho man that had his plane ready to take me from my friends and fly me to the moon. Your story brought back that memory and I can say thank heavens we got away.
So my theory is there are mean people everywhere, we gotta be on guard, and my first rule now is no alcohol cause it always seems to be the fuel for aggressive behaviour.
More story telling and more pictures. Thanks Mike for another great post.
Geraldine, you’re so sweet!! You’re totally right, the wilderness in Russia feels extremely Canadian, especially Ontarian where I grew up (with all the birch trees, mixed forests with conifers, and lakes) except for a few strange invasive plant species (like borshevik, a nasty weed that causes skin burns). However, I’m amazed this post inspired *anyone* to visit Russia, LoL. If you do plan to go, definitely add Lake Baikal to your list. From Moscow it’s only 88 hours by train.
Hilarious and entertaining as per usual, Fuller! Thanks for sharing your experiences far from the beaten path!
Thanks for reading, Erika!
Yes, I agree thank you. I enjoy all of your musings. I am glad that you have survived all of these wonderful travels.
Thanks Mike – entertaining blog. Reminded me of this https://www.economist.com/gulliver/2015/09/02/the-worlds-most-unfriendly-cities
«A SURVEY by Travel + Leisure has concluded that Moscow is the unfriendliest city in the world. The magazine asked around 200,000 of its readers to rank 266 cities on various aspects, one of which was their warmth towards visitors.»
You know what’s hilarious? For us, Moscow was one of the friendliest places in Russia.
“Russia has to be governed two ways, as a poor country and as a rich one, because it is both. More than 19 million people, or 13 percent of the population, have incomes below the official subsistence minimum of about $150 a month. That’s extreme poverty by developed-world standards.
On the other hand, Russia’s resource wealth is enormous; it doesn’t just have the world’s biggest natural gas reserves, but also Europe’s biggest population of internet users and higher academic performance scores than half the developed world.”
Story and pictures great as usual. But a country that somehow just terrifies me. But then again, you know I am not the adventurous type!
Interesting quote! I can totally agree based on my short time there.
P.S. It terrified us too!
Wow, awesome photos, fabulous stories and you two are humorous. Love your face shots. That architecture is something else. Thanks for the journey.
Thanks so much Geraldine! I’m always happy to hear at least one person (besides me) thinks I’m funny.
how much is the car collection?
Sorry, I’m not sure what car collection you mean?
Thank you for this great information!
I wanted to ask if at this border any passport can pass or only Chinese-Russian once?
Can you do the other way to enter China there too?
I’m dreaming to make a trip with my car from Romania > Ukraine > Russia > china, if it even possible :)
Hi jack. So glad to be helpful! As far as I could tell, all passports are welcome – as long as you have a valid visa of course. We had Australian and German visas. If you’re driving your own car be prepared for a very long crossing time, however. It’s a busy border, and my friend driving around the Stans (former USSR) usually had to wait >6hrs at border crossings.
Let me know how your trip goes!
Happy New Year from John & Gina Perth WA
Thanks John, happy new year to both of you too!
that’s cool photography. how to take picture like that?
hi Damaris, which photo do you mean? The Tarzan swinging one? Just move the camera, following the person, while you actually take the photo. Let me know how you go!
welcome, nice information. thanks banget lah ya pokoknya
Terima kasih, Sulis!
Glad you’ve kept busy and entertained. Love the love. Stay classy Melbourne.
Thanks Cal! I’m lucky to be able to work from home.
The restaurant business must be so tough right now. Hope you’re hanging in there.
Hey Mike….absolutely loved this !!!!!! it’s amazing how we can still find a lot of things to do while being “locked down” ..keep going, we will all get there soon! :-)
Awww, thanks Gily! I’m glad you liked it. It’s not the ‘high production quality’ photos I usually share here… hope you’ve been holding out during this too :)
Loved reading about and seeing your lockdown adventures and yay for venturing further from today on. Love from Freo <3
Thanks Lucy! Though it’s been pretty crap I’m doing my best to be positive and productive. (Not featured was a photo of me juggling – I’ve finally learned how!). Glad you guys were spared over there. Geographic isolation has it’s benefits!
Great pictures Micheal!
We have a niece living in Melbourne, she told us the same thing, they are pretty strict there, but it seems to work, not a lot of new cases……!
Hopefully you can travel soon again!
Trudy I hope your niece hasn’t been too affected. Yes, lockdowns certainly work. We actually began this recent lockdown with very similar daily case numbers to the UK. Now we’re in single digits per day, and they’re in the 5-digits per day.
Gov’t here says no travel until the end of 2021, most likely. Oh well…
I need more of that.
Thanks for the great articles.
Haida Gwaii – a no brainer for me to go to this beautiful place.
Once the world settles down.
I retired in Sept. Much needed reflection time now.
Debbie! So nice to hear from you, and what fantastic news: retirement!
I need more of that.
HG is incredible, and barely anyone goes there. I’d feel bad about spreading the secret, except barely anyone reads this blog, haha.