Someone recently e-mailed me asking what we have been up to in the past year. And what were my predictions for travel in Central Asia in 2021, and beyond? I will give my predictions in another blog post next week. This week, let me tell you what we did in 2020. Perhaps it is of interest to you.
So what have we been doing?
Patiently sitting at home, poring over Taoist scripture, would be the answer of one member of our household. Attending all-night raves in clandestine Kazakh discotheques, would be the answer of another.
I’ll let you guess.
We were tackling a long-postponed redesign of the Caravanistan website when the first 3 months of lockdown hit. That kept us busy for a while. I also revisited every article I had ever written in the past ten years, deleting some, updating others. I think the website is in good shape now. Too bad no one is visiting.
We acquired a 3000-piece puzzle for the evenings and put Radio Mukambo on repeat. In the weekend we cleaned up my grandfather’s abandoned dacha. You could say they were good times, if it weren’t for the financial worries the end of Silk Road tourism inevitably brought along. And the millions of ticks at the dacha.
Summer came. I cycled around Denmark to escape the heat of Western Europe. Nice country, if perhaps a bit too happy. Saule flew to Copenhagen, and later, to Kazakhstan.
If there is any silver lining to be discovered at the edge of this ashen cloud, it must be that we finally got started on all those one-day-maybe plans. Saule unleashed her artistic tendencies and started studying to become a make-up artist.
I started doing freelance writing to earn some money, only to realise I am not a freelance writer (big props to all the people who can deal with editors). I applied for some regular jobs, but I quickly understood that I am a) useless at everything companies are willing to pay people money for and b) would rather continue eating beans and rice.
So I started some new websites that revolve around me collecting and curating information about my niche interest: the economics of ecosystem restoration. I made one about impact investing for regular people, but it didn’t get any traction. Then I started a database of seaweed and microalgae companies, and that has been very well-received by people in the industry, so I continue to develop that project.
In the end, travel did pull me back in, and I started a Caravanistan for Africa (working title: Kukumbu). It’s a work in progress – more info soon. There is still a ton of work to be done on Caravanistan, but I can’t bear to look at it for now.
In December, after several months of soul-searching the streets of Almaty, Saule returned to Europe filled with positive energy and sporting a 15-kilo winter coat made from anxiety-eating tiramisu. Our life of self-administered haircuts and outdoor-everything goes on.
Next week: Silk Road travel in 2021 and beyond.