Before starting this epic trip through Central Asia, we knew that there were going to be some downsides to travelling in such an untouristed part of the world. Sure, at times it’s been hard working out visas, breaching the language barrier and dealing with border guards, but the biggest problem we’ve had is keeping the site going.
“What do you mean there’s no internet in this town? You mean no wi-fi or no internet at all?”
This is something travel bloggers never want to have to say, but in this region it’s a common occurence. We’ve gone 2 weeks without any internet connection at all and it’s definitely had it’s effect on our blog. Emails pile up with questions from readers, and advertisers grow impatient with urgent articles being postponed.
“Hey, sorry for the delay! We were trekking over a 3,500 meter pass on horseback!”
We rarely have wi-fi, but when we do it is the most frustrating connection you can imagine. I’ve come close to hurling my MacBook from hotel windows plenty of times. A slow connection is one thing, but the Web Gods of Central Asia insist on taunting us with intermittent connections and a plethora of connectivity errors. Have you ever tried uploading a YouTube video or two dozen photos when the internet cuts out every 2 minutes? It’s enough to drive a blogger bonkers.
“Is your internet out? Mine too! I’m going to lose my F’n mind!”
A combination of poor internet connections and excruciatingly long travel days (I’m writing this from a 17 hour bus ride in Iran) has definitely put a dent in our content creation and site management. Our goal is to get caught up with the informative posts we want to publish when we get home, so there will be some more help on GOTR for those who dream of visiting Central Asia, but the Goat Guides, Visa Help and Top 10’s will have to wait for now.
So why did we decide to blog Off The Beaten Path?
Well, our blog is our story, and while it would certainly be easier to write articles from a cafe in Italy, right now we prefer to be a bit more exotic. We love Europe, and we’ll definitely be spending some time there in the coming years, but at this point in our lives, we felt like Central Asia was the place for us and to be honest… we were 100% correct. This region is incredible and we’re extremely happy we came here when we did… even if there’s no espresso.
“Oh my God, how much would you kill for a double espresso right now?”
– “… just enjoy your Nescafe.”
We will always choose to go to places because we want to, and we’re trying very hard to ensure that this blog doesn’t get in the way of that. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t hop on the first plane to The Maldives if we had the chance, or that we don’t enjoy touristy places like Thailand and Europe, it’s just that after teaching in China, this is how we wanted to travel.
“Remember how Thailand had wi-fi at every hole-in-the-wall restaurant and hotel?”
The great thing about writing about places where few people go, is that it intrigues potential travellers and brings new light to underrated tourist destinations around our planet. Before this blog and before our first big trip in 2008, I remember researching Southeast Asia for months before our departure. The search terms I plugged into Google were always “off the beaten path” , “hidden gems”, “no tourists” etc.
We’ve carried this love for the unknown into Goats On The Road and hopefully people get the same rush as we do from reading about little-visited and undiscovered places. We may not always be in exotic countries, but we always find our own path and even if it’s “beaten” we still enjoy it. No matter how hard blogging becomes in these places, we’ll always make an effort to go to them, because it’s what we enjoy most.
The Bottom Line:
We blog about our lifestyle which changes over time. Right now we enjoy off the beaten path places. Next we’re looking into house sitting and different ways to live a lifetime of financially sustainable travel. One day we may blog about retirement homes in Europe… who knows?
For now, we’re just enjoying the exotic places we’re visiting and bringing a little information back from our adventures. Places like Song-Kol in Kyrgyzstan, The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, and Samarkand in Uzbekistan, should be major tourist destinations, but somehow manage to remain hidden from the tourist radar. We hope our blogs help to inspire people to try something new and be rewarded by the best travel experiences imaginable.
Do you blog or keep a travel journal? Is it ever hard to keep up? Tell us below.