Hi! We are Steven and Saule, and together we are the creators of Caravanistan. We hope you enjoy our website.
Caravanistan was born out of a frustration to find reliable information about Central Asia and the Silk Road 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. 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 and the Silk Road: visa rules, transport options, places to stay, where to go and what to do.
Secondly, we want to inspire. We are big proponents of slow travel. We want to encourage travelers to delve deeper, stay longer and go further. There is so much to see beyond the advertised highlights, and we hope you take the time to go and find it. We are aiming for meaningful travel.
We also hope (long-term goal) to change the story on the region. For newspaper editors, it is autocracy and environmental disasters. For travel bloggers, everything is simply awesome. We hope to de-romanticize that story, bring it down to its real proportions, and inject a larger degree of nuance.
3. Booking travel
When talking about the business of travel, our goal is to make it easier for travelers to choose a reliable service provider that suits their needs and style of travel, 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 to make this site a reliable reference for everyone who is (dreaming about) traveling in Central Asia and the Silk Road. You can find some testimonials here.
Steven and Saule
Caravanistan is founded on the following principles:
- Always strive to be honest and kind.
- Treat your audience as they are: intelligent, passionate travelers.
- Don’t tell travelers what to do. Instead, listen closely, and help where you can.
- Evolve constantly, but slowly.
- Stay quiet, stay small.
- Keep moving. Keep thinking. Keep working.
- Have fun! Enjoy yourself.
Born in Belgium in the early 80s, after graduating university I spent some years roaming Eurasia. I have always had a deep interest in the power of media over our lives and, after having worked for a tv production company and a newspaper, I had a strong desire to start my own medium.
Caravanistan was originally intended as a writing exercise – I thought I wanted to be a journalist in Central Asia – but it veered into a different direction that suited me more.
After all these years, I still enjoy what I do: it satisfies my numerous interests and I have met a lot of interesting people along the way. It remains very rewarding to read all your positive comments, and I hope to continue exploring this beautiful region and making this website a better resource for fellow travelers in the years to come.
You can find out a bit more about me in this interview.
I always dreamed of travel to be able to learn about foreign cultures, history, and arts. After working throughout my student years in Kazakhstan, I finally found opportunities to travel thanks to the corporate world; after several years of labouring in sales and marketing in Kazakhstan, I found jobs in England and later in Germany.
When I met Steven, we traveled for a while, trying to figure out our lives. This way, I gradually got involved with the website.
Today I am happy to find myself doing a really useful project for travelers. My task is to hold tour companies in the region against the light and help them improve their tours and their sales process, and to give travelers advice on who to choose/how to plan/what to expect on an organised trip.
I am always meeting tour companies, scrutinizing them and collecting gossip to make sure that we have, perhaps fewer, but carefully selected offers for any type of travelers.
What I love about Caravanistan is meeting so many interesting people. They keep me inspired.
How we keep the site going
We work together with travel companies in different countries. We only work with a few select companies: people we know well and trust to give a reliable 5-star service.
When you buy a service from them through Caravanistan, we get a commission. You pay the same as if you would go directly via them (sometimes even less); it is their contribution that keeps us financially motivated to keep up the site.
There is also some traditional banner advertising and affiliate marketing (links to Amazon and booking.com, mostly) on Caravanistan, that works via the same commission-principle.