I arrived in Alanya on Saturday evening after a 20-hour sojourn back from Kyrgyzstan. My week in Central Asia was short; much shorter than the year-long treks my fellow hostelmates had embarked on, but just long enough to see a few cities and experience local culture. I visited Bishkek and Osh before crossing the border into Kazakhstan, where I had to argue with the border guard about the country’s new visa free regime with the United States. I was cold, tired, lonely, and scared at points; but those moments pale in comparison to the friendship, warmth, fullness, and laughter I also experienced on the trip.
In addition to stories from my time in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and the people I met while wandering the steppe, I’ve also got thoughts on traveling alone as a young woman; the joys of the minibus; and Soviet museums and conceptualizing national and ethnic identity.