I have always loved travelling but in the past couple of years, I haven’t been anywhere really new.
Part of my motivation for travelling is to discover somewhere divorced from all previous experience, somewhere new. Sheer novelty.
I have visited 37 countries in my life so far. When I visited Georgia first in 2008, I was on a quest to visit all the countries of Europe by the time I was 50. This didn’t happen, instead of just ticking off Georgia and proceeding to the next country, I met Khatuna, who became my wife and I moved to Tbilisi.
Together we have been to Turkey three times, the UK three times and France, once. We also wandered over the border into Azerbaijan, when we visited Davit Gareji, a monastery complex in the south east of Georgia. Much as I love visiting Turkey, UK and France, I want to see somewhere new.
Reading “Short Walks in Shangri-La” by Peter Francis Browne is fuelling this wanderlust.
I’m not especially interested in visiting Nepal, where the book is set, it is just the idea of visiting somewhere new, new vistas, new tastes, new sights, new sounds, new freshness. Only a few Asian countries interest me at present: Azerbaijan, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia and Iran. None of these I plan to visit in the immediate future, but maybe somewhere in Europe. Possibilities include:
- Armenia, it would be cheap to get to and Khato has an aunt in the capital, Yerevan. Apart from its proximity and novelty, I have no burning desire to visit the country.
- Italy. I have visited Sicily and Pompeii but I’d love to see the more northern cities of Venice, Florence and Rome. Khato would love to visit Italy, too.
- The Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. I have been reading about the amber coast in the last novel, I read A Visible Darkness that was set in Napoleonic Prussia. Kalingrad (Königsberg) could be tricky as we’d need Russian Visas. Maka, my step daughter needs her prosthetic eye replacing, her doctor is Latvian, usually he visits Tbilisi, but we could also visit his surgery in Latvia. I have been to Lithuania previously (2003) but Latvia and Estonia would be new. It should be possible to visit all three in one trip. I’ve been taking the Lonely Planet Guide to the smallest room (makes a change from “The Top Gear Years” by Jeremy Clarkson)
Lonely Planet Guide to Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
There is still much of Georgia to explore, the mountainous areas of Svaneti and Tusheti sound fantastic. Last Summer we just visited Qobuleti on the coast, beach holidays were never really my thing, I love swimming in the sea, but I also want to explore new places. My mind is going off on flights of fancy, I’ll be back soon.