Live from Tajikistan: My 10 Month Update Post

If all goes well, you will actually be reading this on or around my 10 month anniversary of traveling. I say that because I am writing it from the village of Shing, which is located in the Zerafshan Valley in western Tajikistan. While I have a so-called 3G mini-modem here, the coverage has been anything but 3G so I am relying on my friend and fellow travel blogger, Ali Garland of Ali’s Adventures, to get this up for me. Thanks Ali!

In addition to marking 10 months of my career break travels, I realized last week – on June 25 to be exact – that I had reached 300 days of traveling. For whatever reason, 300 days just feels a lot longer than 10 months! Regardless, I sort of found myself in awe of the fact that I have made it this far. Not that I am trying to toot my own horn or pat myself on the back, but I have had so many struggles and difficulties along the way, I am somewhat surprised at myself that I am still going.

At the same time, no matter how difficult things got early on, I can’t say I ever seriously considered calling it quits. The closest I came was searching for roundtrip flights from Warsaw to Chicago around the holidays, thinking that instead of ringing in the New Year in Poland, I could make a quick trip home instead. Obviously, I ultimately decided against that.

Of course, there have been plenty of good times and great memories to balance out the tough ones. So in honor of 10 months and 300 days, I thought I’d take a look back at the ones that stand out the most (in chronological order ‘cause heaven forbid I try to pick a favorite).

Tallinn Marathon, Estonia

— Finishing the Tallinn Marathon with a new personal best.

— Spending time with my 11 year old host brother Phillip in St. Petersburg. One of six adopted kids, Phillip seemed so lonely and desperate for attention; my heart went out to him. Several times he invited me to join him as he wandered around the beach and woods near the Bay of Finland. As most of that homestay experience was a bust, hanging out with Phillip was a highlight.

— Playing in the snow on the north end of Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal.

Hiking in the Stolby Nature Reserve outside of Krasnoyarsk when it was -12F.

Stolby

— Going to a hockey game in Riga, Latvia.

— Touring a Soviet bunker outside of Vilnius, Lithuania.

— Visiting the Khatyn Memorial, Mir and Nyasvizh outside of Minsk, Belarus with local Yuliya and her husband Andrei.

— Arriving in Batumi, Georgia (after being stuck on a boat for 5 days, the happiest moment of my trip may have been when I finally set foot on dry land in Batumi!).

— Drinking cognac with three Georgians on the overnight train from Batumi to Tbilisi.

Train Batumi to Tbilisi, Georgia

— Easter weekend in Yerevan – coloring Easter eggs, visiting the History Museum, lunch with Rita, Easter dinner with my host family, bargaining and chatting in Russian at the Vernissage Market, a Monday afternoon game of touch football and lots and lots of drinking and dancing.

— Visiting Davit Gareja in Georgia with two girls I met at my hostel in Tbilisi.

— Pretty much all of the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Umbria, but especially dinner and drinks in Assisi and the post-conference trip to Spoleto, Orvieto and Todi.

Me, Dalene & Laurel at TBU

— Pretty much the whole week I spent in Istanbul hanging out with Akila, Patrick, Anil, Nailah and Priyank.

— My last night out in Yerevan (the second time around).

— Dinner with Sylvia in Tbilisi.

— Hiking (and donkey riding!) with my host family around the village of Shing here in Tajikistan. Shown below are 10 year old Mehron, 10 year old Farhuanda and 12 year old Mohpisand.

I have three more months to go and hopefully many more great memories to add to these!

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10 thoughts on “Live from Tajikistan: My 10 Month Update Post”

  1. You are mad impressive. Here’s to your next three months! (I am literally cheersing you with beer from my couch right now)

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your trip over the past 10 months! These are countries I knew virtually nothing about before you started traveling there and writing about it, and your blog is not only a personal story, but a history and culture lesson as well.

    Glad to help out with your site for a few weeks while you’re in Tajikistan!

  3. Wow, sounds like you have had some really fun times! Your trip is definitely impressive and we can all learn a lot from your road less traveled route!

  4. Hey Katie! Congrats on 300 days – it must feel good.

    I think it’s really sweet you mention your days hanging out with the boy from your host family in Russia. When I lived in Tel Aviv I used to watch Disney movies in our apartment with my landlord’s young daughter. Some of my best memories from Israel!

  5. Wow, congratulations Katie! I’ve loved following your adventures and can’t wait to read all about what you get up to in Tajikistan! You’ve accomplished so much in 300 days, it’s incredible.

    1. Thanks Tom! Looking forward to hearing your impressions of a lot of the same places when you visit!

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