Leaving Central Asia is both sad and exciting. Reaching this point at all felt like a milestone for us, we had looked forward to being here for so long . It was a place that seemed so far away, so foreign, a place that would really be an adventure. In Uzbekistan we had dinner with a group of expats living in Tashkent and we talked about Central Asia being a big hole on the map, as it had been to us. Just a jumble of “-stans” squashed between Russia, China, and the more attention-grabbing Middle East below. This region, that seemed almost non-existent to us before has become one of the most beautiful corners of the world we have been so fortunate enough to travel through. And now suddenly our time here is over. 

The bicycles give us the incredible opportunity to move slowly through landscapes and cultures and to see them transition and change - sometimes abruptly at the imaginary border lines, sometimes from one valley to the next, and sometimes morphing slowly over hundreds of kilometers. This is something special we probably take for granted. We dreamed of continuing our trip overland and continuing to see these transitions all the way to SE Asia. We had hoped to next cross China to Pakistan or Russia into Mongolia to fill more holes in the map that we have heard such wonderful things about. But for a whole host of reasons -the situation in Xinjiang, obtaining a Russian visa, needing to be near a major airport for an upcoming wedding - we decided now wasn’t the time and for the sake of ease we are flying to New Delhi, India. 

I don’t want to give the impression India is just a back up plan. We had always hoped India would be in our plan and we are very, very much looking forward to our time there. Like I said, when traveling by bicycle, landscape and cultural changes can be slow, like  getting milk in your tea in Kazakhstan or the emergence of horses in Kyrgyzstan, so the prospect of flying to India, such a sudden and huge change to a completely new place, a place neither of us has been, makes us a bit giddy. Not to mention our ongoing obsession with curry. The past few weeks we have been telling each other, “can you believe we will be there in 3 weeks?”, “15 days!”, “India soon!”

So that’s where we’re at! Mixed emotions about flying out of Kazakhstan but very much looking forward to India!