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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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Part 7 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Travel Health in Central Asia

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 10, 2016 | 4 Comments

(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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Part 5 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Breaking the Central Asian Language Barrier

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 5, 2016 | 3 Comments

(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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Part 6 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: My Central Asia Itinerary

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

(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 of plan,…

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Part 4 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: My Central Asia Travel Budget

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | August 1, 2016 | 6 Comments

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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Part 3 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Security Concerns in Central Asia

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | July 27, 2016 | 8 Comments

(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 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Coping with the Unexpected

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | July 22, 2016 | 10 Comments

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 – Anatomy of a Solo Female Backpacking Adventure: Choosing a Destination

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | July 20, 2016 | 2 Comments

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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Is Venice Dying? And other unpleasant questions

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | June 5, 2016 | 22 Comments

Recently the Thai island of Koh Tachai became the latest in a long line of popular destinations to curtail tourism: after shutting down for monsoon season it has no plans to reopen, allowing coral reefs and wildlife to recover from excessive crowds. Koh Tachai’s fight for survival isn’t unique: Beijing is considering some sort of restrictions along the Great Wall;…

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Let’s try that health thing again, shall we?

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

Warning: this is about health and eating, not about travel! For travel, go here. A year ago, when I retired from my job at the UN, I decided to take a month, go to Sri Lanka, and put my health back together. I’d abused my body for a hectic lifetime of fun and constant travel. Raised…

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