Caucasus + Western Asia

Here you’ll find all the articles and short posts I’ve published about hitchhiking and hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia. I traveled in countries such as Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Turkey mostly in 2014.

  • Georgia: my best friend whom I met at university comes from Georgia, so I visited there for the first time for New Year’s in 2012/2013. Then in summer 2014, I hitchhiked from the Netherlands to Tbilisi in five days to attend her wedding. After that, I traveled back and forth to Georgia from Armenia and Abkhazia, living in Tbilisi’s Vake Park with a band of cool people and absolute weirdos.
  • Armenia: I visited Armenia twice in 2014. Once with a Polish friend on a short trip, and once on my way to Iran.
  • Abkhazia: I visited this disputed territory after getting travel permission in Zugdidi. It was a strange place, but also incredibly beautiful. I had a lot of fun at Stalin’s Dacha and in Gagra.
  • Iran: after picking up my visa in Armenia, I hitchhiked around Iran for 28 days in October/November 2014. These were some excellent times!
  • Turkey: I’ve been to Turkey four times, of which twice with my family. The last two times I was there speed hitchhiking through to get to that wedding on time. The second time, after Iran, I had more time to explore between Van, Batman, Hatay, Mersin, Northern Cyprus, Ankara, Eskişehir, and İstanbul.

Because of the top-tier hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia, I’m longing to return pretty much every day I’m feeling a little uninspired.

Ajman in an Afternoon (United Arab Emirates)

During our stay in Sharjah, we decided to take a day trip to Ajman (pronounced: ADZH-man). This was our third emirate out of seven. Even though it’s the smallest emirate, I think Ajman has enough to offer for a couple of days, depending on one’s interests and ‘disposable’ income. We visited Ajman on Monday the 22nd of February, 2021 on this 4.6-kilometer long walk. Sharjah to Ajman Our accommodation in Sharjah is only about 10 kilometers away from Ajman. Even though we prefer to stay in each emirate a couple of days, we couldn’t really find a good reason; theContinue reading

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Two Weeks in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

This is a diary-style post about what we did during our two weeks in Dubai before moving on to Sharjah within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I tried to make it a bit informative if you’re traveling to Dubai, but I usually don’t write about cities that are already well-written about. Everything written here happened in 2021. Jonas had already visited Dubai for three days back in 2010 and told me it was a very misunderstood place. Saturday 30th January: Sleep Sunday 31st January: Walking to the Waterfront Monday 1st of February: Supermarket Time Tuesday 2nd of February: Downtown DubaiContinue reading

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Hello, Dubai?! Leaving Malaysia for the UAE After 339 Days (Semi-Live Blog)

You know I’ve been ruminating on it. But after 339 days, it’s finally time to leave Malaysia. We’re traveling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is a semi-live blog that I’ll update throughout the journey. I’ll edit in photos once I’m back on my laptop. The Weeks Before Departure to Dubai On the evening of the start of ‘MCO 2.0’, Jonas and I were smoking shisha at Chimney Hookah Café in Johor Bahru (JB). We’d just made the most of our last day without stay-inside-order and we finished it off with a banger. One thing had beenContinue reading

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They Told Me I Could Be Anything…

I think it’s time to hop on the bandwagon of inspirational quotes on pictures. My first attempt is the “they told me I could be anything” meme-format. It’s to expand the blog and do silly shit to go viral on the internet. I’m not sure if it’s working. I took this photo when I was hitchhiking in Iran from Lar to the great city of Shiraz. The Farsi hitchhiking sign says ‘Shiraz’. No thumb. Because anyone who’s read Iran’s HitchWiki knows that a thumb means something similar to a middle finger in the west. Now let’s post this picture toContinue reading

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Eskişehir, Turkey: Şelale Mesire Yeri Waterfalls and Earthquake!

Let’s talk about Turkey’s underrated gem: Eskişehir. Someone who followed my adventures invited me to his city Eskişehir—a city I’d never have thought of visiting between Ankara and İstanbul. He said it’s a laidback university town with lots of young students and a cool vibe. Sounds good! So on December 8th, I hitchhiked there to say hi to him and his friends. His name is Ali and he’s very outdoorsy and likes to travel by bicycle. I must say that the Turkish traveler community CouchRail on Facebook really works better than any official CouchSurfing stuff. His family was incredibly kind and we exchangedContinue reading

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Northern Cyprus! Ferry from Taşucu (Turkey) to Girne (Kıbrıs)

After a rough night on the rolling sea, pretending to like immigration officers and a heavy rain shower to say welcome, I have arrived in Cyprus. Northern Cyprus. Vake yeah! Getting to the port town of Taşucu to make it to the night ferry was a hellish experience. But I made it. That’s what matters. Now I’m in the port town on the other side. The Turkish people call it Girne and the Greeks call it Kyrenia. Likewise, the island of Cyprus is known in Turkey as Kıbrıs, it’s capital Nicosia as Lefkoşa. You know. So let’s talk about the big elephant inContinue reading

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Turkish Animal Shelter in Hatay, Turkey

I brought last night’s puppy to a Turkish animal shelter in Hatay today. My contact at the construction site took this photo for me this morning before he drove me – under slight protest – across Hatay to an animal shelter (Turkish: hayvan barınağı). That’s why I look so happy. After that, I started the journey with this pup wrapped in my arms in the car and into the shelter. To be honest, I don’t feel good about dropping the puppy off at the Turkish animal shelter. It’s the cruelest thing I’ve done in my life. Upon arrival, there were a lotContinue reading

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Puppy Savior Complex (Hatay, Turkey)

Here in Hatay, my host asked me to move to the office of a friend’s construction site to go (sort of?) couchsurfing. The old place I was staying at wasn’t suitable, or something like that. I was there all alone sleeping in the darkness of night on said couch when I heard the cries of a puppy outside. I waited for half an hour until I couldn’t take it anymore. Like a night watch, I ventured out and into the cold to approach the call for help. I searched and searched by torchlight for the source of the squeaks untilContinue reading

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Trusting One’s Gut Feeling: Four Truckers, One Hitchhiker (Turkey)

I took this hitchselfie with my four Kurdish truck drivers while hitchhiking in southeastern Turkey. I don’t remember exactly where this was. But from the date I posted it, I’m assuming it was somewhere between Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep. Somehow in my mind, this happened between Batman and Diyarbakır or Van and Batman. I don’t remember exactly and I can’t find the original photo! Anyway, this is a short story about trusting one’s gut feeling when hitchhiking. Anyway, this truck stopped to pick me up in the morning. I said hello in Turkish and asked where they were headed. They wereContinue reading

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