Hi! I am Steven, and next to me on the picture is Saule. Together we are the creators of Caravanistan. We met each other in the spring of 2010 in Saule’s hometown Almaty, when I was attempting an overland trip from my home in Belgium to Vietnam. I say attempting, because I never got there. The Chinese embassy refused to give me a visa. Unwilling to take an airplane, I found myself stuck in Almaty, Kazakhstan. While trying to figure out what to do next I met Saule, and we decided to go live together in Europe. We did that for a year, but we felt that Central Asia is a much more exciting place to live. We returned to Almaty, this time with a firm intention to not get stuck there, but to explore every corner of Central Asia.
Caravanistan was born out of a frustration to find reliable information about Central Asia on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter. We knew we were not alone: we saw the same questions popping up on forums over and over without anyone having a trustworthy answer. The Chinese visa story above is just one example. So we started thinking how we could help. With Caravanistan we aim to do 3 things:
- Our primary mission is to provide accurate, up-to-date information about what matters most to people traveling in Central Asia: visa rules, safety updates and transport options.
- Secondly, we want to inspire. Central Asia is a fascinating, spectacular place with some of the friendliest people on the planet. We want travelers to get the most out of their stay in Central Asia by providing the insider information you can’t find in guidebooks or on general travel websites like Tripadvisor, and curating the most interesting and valuable stories from the flood of information that comes our way everyday.
- Thirdly, we want to give back. We want to help homestays, craftsmen and local guides to get in touch with foreign tourists so the money goes to those that need and deserve it the most. We want to make sure that travelers get an authentic experience without too many headaches, while giving local people the opportunity to earn money gracefully thanks to a tourism that is focused on quality rather than quantity.
That’s it. We know we are not there yet, but we are working hard whenever we can to make this site a reliable reference for everyone who is (dreaming about) traveling in Central Asia.
Steven and Saule