Part 2: Where there is no doctor

My first posting was to Sindupalchok, a district to the northeast of Kathmandu. It is monsoon season, so the mud roads are deeply rutted and slow, and frequently blocked by landslides. We set off at 6am in the PHASE 4x4 hilux; Max also came along to see where I would be working and stay a... Continue Reading →

Part 1: The start of a new PHASE…

Travelling by bicycle means that changes in the landscape and culture tend to evolve gradually. So when when we flew into Nepal, even though it is only 1500km from Kyrgyzstan as the crow flies, it felt like entering another world! Many things about Kathmandu were exactly as I remembered; the bright colours, the smell of... Continue Reading →

How Kyrgyzstan nearly broke us…

It wasn't easy to decide which route to take through Kyrgyzstan. Whichever route we took we would first have to take the main highway north out of Osh, which weaves around the Uzbek border to Kyrgyzstan's third major city, Jalal-abad. Our friends ahead of us told us that it looked busy and dangerous to cycle,... Continue Reading →


An old man gestures enthusiastically at us as we roll through his village. 'Çay?’ Every village seems to have a social club, a room where men of all ages hang out and drink the strong, sweet, black sugary stuff that I will now forever associate with Turkey. We smile and lean our bikes up against... Continue Reading →

The Kazakh steppe

There is a 500km section of road between the ferry port Aktau, and Beyneu in South Kazakhstan, that is renowned amongst cycle tourers for being desolate. It goes through the steppe; almost but not quite desert, this is a semi-arid, scarcely featured landscape with nothing but low scrub as far as the eye can see.... Continue Reading →

Weyn wajar? (Where does it hurt?)

‘What's on her mind?’ I was attempting to understand what had caused this young woman to have such a severe panic attack, when she had been making slow but significant progress over the previous few weeks. I had seen her on an almost daily basis, usually with one of her four children. She was nursing... Continue Reading →

Turkish hamam

I lay down, as instructed, on the hot flat marble floor in a steamy atrium. As I gazed up at the light streaming through the holes in the high domed ceiling, waiting for my pores to open, I found myself wondering what was in store... Stripping down to your pants and being scrubbed mercilessly from... Continue Reading →

D’ya like dags?

Cycling in the rain in northern Greece was when I learnt to keep my mouth shut and not lick my lips. This is to avoid ingesting splashes contaminated with the decomposing insides of a dead dog. Unfortunately not much can protect against being splashed on the face in general. (It's worse if you ride at... Continue Reading →

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