Travelling across countries, where everything you know is different, from the language to the food, WC habits, social customs, etc., while knowing it is going to be never-ending, is overwhelming. Being always transient in each place is disorienting. Having to figure out every new encounter in terms of friends or foe, exhausting.
This trip proves to be very tiring on our emotional intelligence. I realized that in most of our daily life before, we rarely used emotional intelligence because everything is more or less a routine. Now, we have to constantly assess the situation: are people genuine, do they mean good, are we doing something inappropriate?
Saying that, I am not yet regretting our choice. Each day feels remarkable in a way that our previous daily routine, which was far from being stress-free anyhow, never was. We are also learning to adjust our expectations quicker, which, I think is improving our capacity to just relax and be… we have had especially a lot of waiting to do at borders, which was a full on training!
Most of my vivid impressions, in fact, on this trip are from crossing land (and now sea) borders because 1) they take a really long time; 2) they set your expectations for the rest of the country; 3) they are at the intersection of sometimes vastly different cultures, religions, customs; 4) they could open up new opportunities; 5) waiting at the borders gives me the time to reflect and also write.
For me, this trip is massively going out of my comfort zone and facing my fears on all possible levels with an ultimate goal. To quote Walter Mitty: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”
We just arrived in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, after visiting, Khiva and Nukus, and following a 14h train ride from Beyneu, Kazakhstan. We gave ourselves, roughly a week to go through the country, which is slower than we have done till now (except Iran). Thus I am hoping this might give me a chance to do some writing.