Facebookin’

…across the universe. Ladies and gents, if you’ve been aching for the chance to start liking, poking, and playing FarmVille with A Eurasian Diary, your waiting days are over 🙂 The Facebook page is up and running, and looks pretty good if I do say so myself!

Come by to Face Book and say the hellos.

Some may ask, what’s the blog for if now there’s a Facebook page too? Should WordPress get jealous? Should it plot an ill-advised revenge?

No, my dearest WordPress … in my heart of hearts, you are irreplaceable. For you are where I will continue to post photographs with long captions, and where I will launch excerpts from the finished book. It is where I will make the full book available, via the Amazon People, and where I will reflect on travel, writing, and all of life’s great mysteries. 

Facebook? It is where I will cheer and fist bump, make announcements and share miscellaneous bits of bobs that relate to the Silk Road, the Stans, and the People’s Republic in general. There will be a whole lotta likin’ goin’ on, but the bigger stuff will always live here on the blog.

So, do pop by, don’t be shy, bring some pie, and stay a whi. Look forward to seeing you there!

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The end of the lines!

I’m currently as happy as a very happy thing. Take your happiest emoticon – the one with the smile that takes up the entire lower half of the face, and squeezes the eyes tightly shut. Now imagine that emoticon swollen up and plunked on the torso of a real live human being. Hi. That’s me.

After reaching the end of A Eurasian Diary, then working through a handful of edits, I’m happy (as noted) to say that I’ve saved the file as “Final v1” … in other words, it’s done.

…at least until “Final v2” comes along, and perhaps “Final v3.” But, nevermind that… it’s done!

(dances on desk)

(steps on keyboard)

(accidentally types gobbledygook with dancing feet)

(hjsdsdksdksdiuewuhksdsdsdsdkdsksdkskskjsd)

(likes it)

What are some initial reflections on this big, bad, great little experience? One thing that stands out is how different travel writing feels to me now, compared with either fiction or journalism. At first, I’d expected that writing about a journey would feel like blending these two forms into a kind of storified biography, which is indeed how it felt at the very start. As the writing went on, though, the manuscript took on a new life – travel writing is very much a form in its own right, which I suppose I’d never completely appreciated before.

My favourite aspect of it is that you get to be (well, you have to be) objective about your own subjectivity. Continue reading

Crossing the threshold

Crossing the threshold

(Sorry, posted this originally without a photo! Kind of defeated the purpose…)

The entrance to the Ulugh Beg Medressah in Samarkand is not really an entrance at all – it’s a monument in its own right. This enormous portal seems to suggest that simply approaching this ancient centre of faith and science will fill you with wonder. Just wait till you get inside.