She saved her $300 monthly pension and combined it with her savings to buy a white Volkswagen Polo hatchback. She researched everything she could about traveling on a budget — which apps are most helpful on the road, tips to save money — and when the twins started school, she fixed a rooftop tent to her car and hit the road.
Leaving Zhengzhou last September, she has covered more than 13,000km and has visited some of China’s most famous sites — historical Xi’an, mountainous Sichuan, the old town of Lijiang — and is currently on her way to Guilin, famous for its lumpy karst hills and cormorant fishermen. She’s been traveling for more than six months.
Her husband, who ridiculed her decision, has not seen her since she left, and while Su shudders at the thought of their eventual reunion, she is relishing her freedom.
The land locked nation of Tajikistan is the poorest country in central Asia. The mountainous landscape is unforgiving and temperatures extreme. Here desperate truck drivers can wait for days to get assigned a load to transport across the treacherous terrain.
Working in old and battered trucks on bone-shaking routes, dodging falling rocks and landslides, and being forced to wake up every two hours during the night to start their engines so they don’t freeze up and leave them stranded; these men are severely tested.
They do it all for the love of their families who wait for weeks at a time, hoping that their husbands and fathers will return safe. A look at both sides of the lives of Tajik long distance drivers.
It is a road of mountain passes and India’s access to the roof of the world – the Himalayas. This 475-kilometre long route at the northernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent connects the cities of Manali and Leh at the heart of the Ladakh region.
The term “highway” applies quite literally, since the route traverses five of the highest drivable mountain passes in the world – among these the Lohtang La at 3,978 metres above sea level, the Lachulung La at 5,059 metres and the Tanglang La at 5,325 metres.
Crossing these passes is a challenge for both vehicle and man. The mountain peaks, still snow-capped even in the depths of summer, wide variety of vegetation and the fantastic and craggy landscape turn any journey into a captivating adventure.
Each of the 150 cyclists got three votes to cast, and I simply tallied up the results. In the end, 80 different countries were favourited, which is pretty cool because that means most corners of the world have something, for somebody.
These are their top picks for the best countries for long-distance cycling »
10. 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan
9. 🇨🇱 Chile
8. 🇲🇽 Mexico
7. 🇦🇺 Australian
6. 🇮🇷 Iran
5. 🇮🇳 India
4. 🇨🇳 China
3. 🇹🇯 Tajikistan
2. 🇺🇸 USA
1. 🇹🇷 Turkey
This fiery pit has been burning since the 1970s when Turkmenistan was still under Soviet rule. In the distant past, the Karakum Desert was an obscure corner of the Silk Road, but its modern economy is much more robust, thanks to rich deposits of oil and gas. Although there is some dispute about the origin of the crater, the most common explanation states that in 1971, a drilling rig broke into a giant underground gas chamber, which collapsed, taking the rig with it. That initial breakthrough caused other areas to crumble, eventually making a crater 70m wide and 20m deep.
The only people in the area live in a tiny community of 350 camel herders and rug makers called Darvaza.
In December of 2020, China and Nepal made a joint announcement about a new measurement for Mount Everest: 8,849 meters. This is just the latest of several different surveys of Everest since the first measurement was taken in 1855. The reasons why the height has fluctuated have to do with surveying methodology, challenges in determining sea level, and the people who have historically been able to measure Everest.
While Everest is the peak’s English name, the Nepalese have long called it Sagarmatha, and Tibetans call it Chomolungma – “Mother Goddess of the World.”
While there’s some debate as to whether Georgia resides in Europe or Asia, we simply had to include this small settlement. A collection of tiny villages located at the foot of Shkhara mountain (5,193m), Ushguli sits at 2,100m above sea level and is therefore one of the highest inhabited settlements on the continent, but it’s also one of the most remote. »
Although Hoy is the second largest island in the Orkney archipelago, a small clutch of islands off the coast of Scotland, it’s still tiny by most standards. Despite covering just 55 square miles and housing around 400 people, this diminutive island draws intrepid travellers to its shores with the lure of adventure at the edge of the UK. »
Tucked away in the far north-eastern corner of Norway, the small town of Kirkenes lies at the very edge of mainland Europe. Just a few miles from Norway’s only land border with Russia, and 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the area is transformed into an icy wilderness during winter. And it’s this time of year that is best to visit, when travellers can observe two unique natural phenomenon. »
Standing all alone in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands are undoubtedly one of the most remote places in Europe. Made up of 18 major islands and countless smaller ones, the Faroes’ closest neighbours are Scotland and Iceland, both located over 200 miles from its shores. »
China has been steadily increasing its presence in the Arctic since it defined the far north as a “new strategic frontier” in 2015 and began promoting a “Polar Silk Road” three years later. Moreover, in 2018, Beijing declared itself a “Near Arctic State,” a move that primarily served to underscore the interests of its Arctic claim.
The government in Beijing has its eye on lucrative minerals and other raw materials in addition to the Arctic transport link. There is particular interest in interests in the Canadian Arctic and in mining rights in Greenland. This is because the Arctic is rich in natural resources such as fish, precious metals and fossil fuels.