Beijing to Tashkent: Following the Silk Road, the countdown


Here it is! My dream voyage finally in place. Seven years ago I said to a friend that I was too old to take this trip and I listened to myself list the many excuses as to why I should not and could not attempt such a trip. Then, early in 2016, things happened. Friends, my age, had heart attacks, strokes, cancer. Some survived, a few did not. My husband was critically ill and I had an accident requiring surgery. Then in October of that year, I had a sudden realization, maybe an epiphany, maybe not,  but the clarity to know that this was my chance to travel the Silk Road. If I was going to go, it was now. So I began. And today, I am one month away from boarding Egypt Air plane to Beijing. The trip will take two months.

My plan is to traverse China mainly by train. In the ‘stans’ most transportation will be by road.  My interests are many. Though I am well aware that this journey is late in the context of the ancient silk road still, I will see what has survived in the cultures and crafts and of course, experience the land that hundreds of thousands of people have travelled and have met their fate.

My plan is to share this experience through this blog. As many of you know, I have a strong dislike for social media but with the strict orders of some friends, I have added my name to Instagram. My goal is to write about subjects that interest me on my blog and post a picture or two on Instagram that connects to the blog. This seems rather cumbersome to me but I am told this is what I should do. If all fails, I will resort to keeping a diary, a scrapbook, and a picture album to be shared on this blog at a later date. (Update one week before travels: I have studied Instagram and have decided that it is not for me. It is not the platform that I seek to share my experiences so I have deleted my account.)

Much of my interest about the Silk Road stems from research, studying, photographing and writing about traditional crafts in Egypt and Nigeria. Indigo, silk, glassblowing, equestrian festivals, bread making are just a few of the subjects I will seek out. More over, I am fascinated with the movement of Islam through these countries and have many opportunities to visit Muslim communities throughout this trip. But too, I am well aware that while something is sought after another thing is found.

The original mission of this blog is to archive my work and share my deep connection to Egypt and Nigeria. Bear with me, as I change writings to a travelogue for the duration of this journey.  It will be experimental, no doubt a challenge, and most definitely, an opportunity.

To read 10 posts about my journey on the Silk Road, go to the MENU under:

Silk Road: China and Central Asia

25 thoughts on “Beijing to Tashkent: Following the Silk Road, the countdown

  1. Dear Lesley,
    How thrilling! When do you begin and end?
    Looking forward to following you on your adventure.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Please keep well and safe.
    Sent from my iPad

  2. I envy your attitude and perseverance. I will read and follow your blog as if I were a fly on your suitcase, and enjoy every minute of it. I am really proud of you and your accomplishments. I will be with you “in spirit” . Take and enjoy yourself….
    Thank you – Joyce

  3. Dear Lesley, what an adventure! I look forward to reading of your exploration, much like Marco Polo in my imagination with a modern flair, but how wonderfully magnificent! My best wishes to you and yours and blessings for your journey! Love from your brother, Bruce.

    • Thanks Bruce, I am grateful for reaching out and hearing from you. I know you will be in Florida the time I am traveling. I hope all goes well for you and your family, Love, Lesley

  4. It is going to be a wonderful exploration! August will introduce you to ‘Other world’, the world which, according Shirley Chew, is “returning to a ‘centre stage’ that it occupied in 18th century before the rise of the West”. This ‘other world’ is CHINA!
    The oldest historic site of Kabl Khain is the Great Wall, which I know through Marco Polo’s writings. I wish you will pay visit to this wall, and take some pictures for your followers. Perhaps this incredible adventure is the longest travel in your life. I wish your experiences of China form the last chapter of ‘Paddle’.
    Please, when the time comes, keep us up to date about the progress of the journey. Hilda Ogbe says ‘part of the joy of travel is to experience different sounds, sights, tastes, and smells’. I am sure you will explore these in the course of your visitation.

    • I look forward to your observations and comments. I’ve decide not to use Instagram. After looking into how to use it, I find it is not the medium for me. So I will post on this blog but social media is not for me. L.

  5. Dear Leslie,
    Good luck on your journey! I look forward to your updates.
    I admire your enthusiasm for new adventures and for learning something new everyday.


  6. Dear Lesley, you are one inspirational lady! I wish you all the best and look forward to following your adventures, lessons learned, insights and views. I am so impressed. Diane

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