My Evolution of Packing: A History of My Baggage

I wasn’t always a backpacking traveler. Being from a tiny affluent country in Europe, it’s pretty normal to go on holidays abroad (privilege!) and I personally don’t know any of my fellow same-passport holders who haven’t been abroad. Travel has been a part of my life since birth. Normally, we’d travel by car, giving us plenty of room to bring Stuff™ and sometimes we’d go by airplane. Packing light or efficiently wasn’t a concern for the car trips Only for the plane, we’d have to really think about what to pack as there are limits to how much Stuff you can bring. 0. The Carry-A-Corpse Suitcase Amsterdam Schiphol Airport,Continue reading

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Copán to Kapan: A Reflection on Nine Months of Travel

Today is one of those days on the road to reflect on what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and what is ahead of you. Reflection days are the worst and the best, but mainly the worst. Here’s to the last nine months on the road. Since the 29th of December 2013 – minus 10 days in my Passport Nation (PN) – I have been traveling 2,5 continents by anticipated happenstance, sporadic opportunity, and a shameful slice of manipulation. That is already nine months of growth, but it would be silly not to acknowledge the decline as well. Many things and people haveContinue reading

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Getting Closer to Iran: Hitchhiking Vayk→ Goris→ Kapan (Armenia)

Photo from when I hitchhiked from Vayk (Վայք) to Goris (Գորիս) in Armenia in one ride with a guy named Artur. That’s a good 100 kilometers closer to Iran! After taking a short break in Goris because of the rain, I’m continuing my hitchhiking trip to Kapan (Կապան). I had a nice cup of coffee with Artur at a place called Deluxe Lounge Cafe—a surprisingly fancy place in the center of Goris along the main thoroughfare. Then he left for business in town. From here, it’s very easy to walk 1.5 kilometers out of town to hitchhike south to KapanContinue reading

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Hitchhiking Yerevan to Vayk with an Iranian Visa in Hand (Armenia)

The last time I was in Armenia, I also hitchhiked this road on the way to Jermuk. But today I only went as far as Vayk (Վայք). I wasn’t hitchhiking alone back then, but with Michał from Poland and our multi-day super driver. The road passes by the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan within spitting distance at the town of Chiva (Չիվա). Well, not really spitting distance; it’s still like 1.2 kilometers. Our driver from back then told us that there were snipers just over the ridge. That’s why – and this is a quote, nothing I verified – there’s a sandy barrier on oneContinue reading

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Soviet Acropolis and Brutalist Mall in Yerevan, Armenia

While waiting at a traffic light while taking a short ride in a taxi before hitchhiking to Vayk, we pulled up to this beauty of a building. Call it… the Soviet Acropolis in Yerevan, Armenia! I love it. I unironically love it. You all know I have a weakness for brutalist architecture… right? If not, now we know. Also, adoring brutalism is absolutely a personality trait. Ah, I’m going to miss beautiful Yerevan. Finding this Soviet Acropolis again on the map was a challenge that proved impossible. I searched everywhere, but couldn’t find its coordinates for you. My best guessContinue reading

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The Last Hostel Before Iran (Yerevan, Armenia)

I did something unusual today: I checked into a hostel called One Way Hostel in Yerevan, Armenia. This time no picture from me camping in my tent somewhere awesome. I’m expecting this to be the very last hostel in a while; Iran probably doesn’t have mixed dormitories, especially mixed-gender ones. One night in a dormitory shouldn’t affect my Iran budget that much. Soon I’ll have to exchange my last Armenian Dram to get some stacks of Iranian Rials to buy very cheap cigarettes with. That’s what I’ve heard from everyone I encountered who’s been to Iran in recent times; highContinue reading

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Café-Surfing in Yerevan, Armenia

Staying at a hostel in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan didn’t work on a spontaneous basis. But spontaneous couchsurfing at a garden café (café-surfing) worked well. It was a little chilly! We received tea in the morning from the nighttime furniture guard. Yes, we had permission to crash on the couch. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name or location of the café anymore. My memory fails me! Though judging by the stripes on the shadow thingy, I think it could be this one. The cushions also look familiarly comfy. Now it’s time to pursue that Iranian visa before winter is here.Continue reading

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A Rainy Day at the Iranian Embassy and Bank in Yerevan, Armenia

It was raining, so I took a sad rainy selfie right outside the Iranian bank (Mellat Bank) in Yerevan. I needed to travel here from the Iranian embassy to drop my €75 worth of money to pay for the visa. This wasn’t straightforward to me at all and felt like such a strange thing to do. Strange because there’s no guarantee that they will give me a visa. It’s a maybe yes, maybe no, and they don’t even owe me an explanation if they refuse my request. No other transaction that I’m willing to engage in works like this. IsContinue reading

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Yerevan: Another Short Visit to Armenia’s Capital City

On my way to Iran, I had to make a stop in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan. This is where I need to pick up my Iranian visa if I filled in every form correctly! It’s going to cost me another €70 or so in fees, but that’s not a problem for today. Today, I’m enjoying late September in Yerevan with this Lithuanian guy. It’s his first time here and he’s also picking up his Iranian visa. I’m 100% he’s going to get it because he’s a lot less chaotic than I am. Just like my first visit to Yerevan, ourContinue reading

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