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Women on the Road Blog

Solo travel tips for women like you - the first Tuesday of every month >>

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centralAsia

The Magic of Lake Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Inside yurt at Lake Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Imagine an immense steppe. A sparkling crystal lake. Rough snow-capped mountains in the distance. Scattered yurts, horses running wild. If your eyes happen to be seeing this, you'll know you're at Lake Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan's second largest lake - for me, its most beautiful by far. (The largest is Lake Issy-Kul.) Lake Song Kul's beauty isn't a pleasure [...]

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The Mysteries of Khiva, Uzbekistan

When the lights go off at night and the streets are swept clear of day-trippers, what's left are 2500 years of walls and dust. Inching along paving stones I might once have shared with camel caravans on the Silk Road, I round a corner lit only by stars, nearly expecting a brigand to swipe me with his [...]

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(Back to Part 1) I should have started far earlier. Yet here I am, the day before departure, my bed strewn with odds and ends that I think I'll need for a month in Central Asia. It's not that I don't have a packing list - I certainly do, and it's elaborate. But I'm traveling solo, I'll be [...]

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(Back to Part 1) In ten days I'm off on what part of me wishes were a calm vacation, swooning in gentle relaxation along a balmy seashore, watching the palm fronds tickle the horizon. Instead, I'll be going to the office. I'm incredibly fortunate: I have a job that allows me to travel and write so for the next [...]

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Central Asia research

(Back to Part 1) That little bit of research I undertook to plan my initial itinerary barely counts. I now have to engage in more serious research. My pattern tends to be the same wherever I go: I start off with a long list of things to read and do, and feel lucky if I make [...]

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(Back to Part 1) When the travel doctor told me I'd need a typhoid vaccination, I clenched my teeth, envisaging a long, thin needle creeping closer. No such thing. All I did was swallow a little pill every other day for three days. Bliss. It's not always this easy, and depending on where you travel, protecting [...]

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(Back to Part 1) Communicating with people is one of the greatest gifts of travel. We can do it in many ways - art, gestures, expressions - but to me, language is the most complete, allowing for nuances, emotion, information and even the intangible. Language helps us walk into someone else's world and sample it from their point of [...]

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(Back to Part 1) Every trip starts with an arrival destination - but it's anyone's guess what happens after landing. Some trips are highly organized, with sights and facilities reserved each step of the way. Others, like my own trip across Africa, are more hit-and-miss, with few plans beyond landing. This time I need some sort [...]

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Central Asia budget

These are my Central Asia travel budget preparations as Part 4 of a step-by-step look at planning a one-month backpacking trip.

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(Back to Part 1) "Weren't the Istanbul Airport terrorists from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan?" Yes, they were. Scared, no. Cautious, yes. "So why are you going to visit those two countries? Aren't you scared?" And that's been the gist of my email Inbox for days. I'm planning to travel through Kyrgyzstan the first half of September and [...]

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Part 2 of a step-by-step look at preparing for a one-month solo female backpacking adventure. Here's what happens when the unexpected hits - and how even the simplest of plans can go haywire from the beginning, and how to deal with change.

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Part 1 of a step-by-step look at preparing for a one-month solo female backpacking adventure. This series traces each phase of my travel planning process, from decision to check-in. Part 1 looks at how I chose Kyrgyzstan as my destination.

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