“If you want to travel in peace, you must howl like the wolves among whom you find yourself,” a 19th century French explorer had advised on entering Central Asia.
“You are a very strange man!” said the hotel manager after I told him I was here as a tourist. For a region that received less annual tourists than that of New Zealand, this wasn’t – I suppose – such an odd statement. But yet New Zealand was 40 times smaller and home to 15 times fewer people. And New Zealand could hardly claim a history that produced tyrants who destroyed a good portion of the world, and scientists who helped build it. From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, from the British Empire to the Soviet Union, many of the great players of history saw some of their defining moments take place amongst the mountains, plains and deserts of Central Asia. How could a region that had been so instrumental in shaping the modern world, have become so invisible?
About author: Christopher Jones, a European who was accidentally born into a New Zealand body that through no fault of his own, grew up in Australia. Who in an attempt to find his roots has been mistakenly travelling to places they’re unlikely to be.