Two weeks in Thailand are just enough to arouse an appetite for the rich, vibrant culture, but not nearly enough to satisfy. Limiting myself to just Bangkok and Chiang Mai helped me focus, but even then it seemed like I was traveling and moving more than absorbing and fully understanding the experience (the two-layover, 26 hour flight to get there certainly accentuated that feeling). Religion is everywhere, heat and crowds press against you, and the intensity of the flavors, smells and colors overwhelm you, but everyone you meet is warm, friendly and welcoming. I left with more questions than I arrived with and a thirst to return to find those answers.
Over the course of two years I made eight personal trips to Eastern Europe and fell in love with the people I met and the places I saw. The people there live a hard life and the economy is depressed, but there is a depth to the culture that you can feel. There are vestiges of the communist past and the grime of industrialization interspersed with the beauty of life and the hope of youth. I don't fully understand why, but I am drawn there... Eastern Europe speaks to my artistic soul. The following is a selection of images from the Republic of Georgia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania that give a sense of what I've felt while traveling through the region.
Two months after buying my new (to me) R1250GSA I found myself looking at the calendar and realizing that an empty three-week slot had materialized on our family calendar. Neatly snuggled between a family vacation and Adrainne’s work travel, my work calendar was empty and our kids had no events. I had been wanting to do a long solo motorcycle trip for years and this looked like the perfect time to go. It was a Wednesday and I decided to leave that Friday so I could be gone a full three weeks.
What was my destination? West.
What was my route? I’d make it up as I went along.
Where would I stay? Wherever I could pop up my tent. (bonus points if it was free)