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What Can I Learn From A Travel Blogger Young Enough To Be My Son?

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

When Matt Kepnes (of Nomadic Matt fame) asked me to review his latest book, I hesitated. Matt isn’t even 40 – and it’s no secret that I’m 66 and have been traveling solo since, well, before Matt was born. I eventually agreed because Matt is a friend and I’ve known him since his early blogging…

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Tuktoyaktuk: The Road to the Arctic is Now Open

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | March 12, 2018 | 6 Comments

The Canadian Arctic extends its endless tundra until it reaches the sea, a jumble of snow and ice in winter and permafrost in summer, punctuated by the occasional Inuvialuit settlement dedicated to hunting or fishing, with a smattering of government officials or oil workers. The most far-flung are so distant they are forgotten for months…

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An Exchange Student of a Certain Age

By Guest Blogger - Jennifer Mullen Ingerson | February 16, 2018 | 14 Comments

I am a “mature” undergraduate, which is in itself an adventure. But last summer life surprised me with another great adventure: I received a scholarship to study abroad, which made me an exchange student at age 53. In Cusco, Peru, once the heart of the Inka Empire, I studied the Quechua language. There I discovered…

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Susie of Arabia: From Florida to Jeddah

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | February 11, 2018 | 3 Comments
Susie of Arabia

A former police officer and travel industry professional, Susie Khalil’s American life changed dramatically in 2007 when she followed her Saudi Arabian husband back to his homeland – and she has lived there ever since. Her award-winning blog Susie’s Big Adventure was once banned – it sheds some light in life in one of the…

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23 Remarkable Train Stations and Their Fascinating Secrets

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | September 17, 2017 | 7 Comments

Clothed in a dark velvet gown, she glides down the passageway, a flash of metal escaping from beneath her cape. She holds her breath before sliding open the compartment door, as if anyone might hear a tiny squeak over the thunder of rolling track. She silently pulls out her knife. That’s more or less how…

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A Solo Woman’s 3-Week Central Asia Itinerary

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | September 30, 2016 | 23 Comments

For the past month, I’ve been traveling solo through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and posting my travels to Facebook (starting with this post on Day 1). Many of you have asked for itinerary details and specifics. So quickly, briefly, here they are. Welcome to my three-week Central Asia itinerary. Any woman traveling on her own can do…

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Part 11 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Packing for Central Asia

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 29, 2016 | 15 Comments

(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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Part 10 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Finding a Place to Stay in Kyrgyzstan

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Finding a place to stay in Kyrgyzstan, part 10 of my real-time series on preparations for a month of solo travel in Central Asia.

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Part 9 – Anatomy of a Female Solo Backpacking Adventure: Blogging Tools of the Trade

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 19, 2016 | 1 Comment

(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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Part 8 – Anatomy of a Female Solo Backpacking Adventure: Researching Central Asia

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 15, 2016 | 2 Comments

(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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