Springtime in Iran. (Photo by Tom Allen via Adventure.com)

Leon McCarron, writing in Adventure.com, Dec 2017 ยป

Walking makes us inherently vulnerable; to the elements, our own weaknesses, and the whims of the road. But it also forces us to be open to everything. Thereโ€™s no escaping every sight, sound and smell. It also encourages strangers to welcome youโ€”for some reason, seeing someone on foot and carrying their life (in that moment, at least) on their back, seems to generate the most amazing acts of kindness.

Over a Mongolian winter, I was brought into a nomadic tent, a ger, in the Gobi Desert and handed a bowl of warm camelโ€™s milk to warm me up. Dinner was prepared and vodka was shared. The unspoken message from my host was, โ€œYouโ€™re clearly insane, but Iโ€™ll happily help you out.โ€

In the Middle East, often perceived as the most dangerous part of our planet, Iโ€™ve conversely found the people to be among the friendliest anywhere. On a hike from Jerusalem to Mount Sinai, I moved north through the West Bank, each day punctuated by offers of tea, or food, or with places to stay each night.

More ยป