Wow! One year and 111 chapters later, I’m done with this project!! What a ride. Thanks everyone for coming along with me on this journey. I’ve appreciated each and every reader more than you can know. I’ll drop some more in-depth thoughts about the process and what’s next for me next week, but for now, just enjoy the closing chapter of this story.
And if you’re new here, I guess you can read the whole story now, start to finish, right here.
I awoke early on my final day in Nepal.
Some animal instinct warned me of impending change.
Sunlight was streaming onto my pallet-like bed in my room at the Annapurna Guesthouse. Dust shimmered in the sunbeam, leading the air an ethereal solidity. It looked like I could reach across the room and pluck the sunbeam straight out of the sky. It was a strangely beautiful sight.
Dust was inescapable in this city. Already, after only two days back in Kathmandu, my cough had come back. It would linger with me long after I returned home, a half-welcome reminder the damages wandering could inflict on a person.
The Balkan Countries are a small, esoteric region of Southeastern Europe. Thanks to a series of nasty wars in the 1990s, this amalgamation of small, mostly post-communist countries is rarely visited. For many people, the region remains shrouded in mystery. I backpacked the Balkans in November 2016, and it remains one of the most fascinating regions I have visited so far.
The Balkans are a strange place. They have a unique flavor which you won’t find elsewhere in Europe. But they have a strange, tragic beauty which makes them intimately worth visiting. Check it out, past the jump:
I was trying to come up with a list of my “Least Favorite Countries,” recently, as a bit of a contrast to my Three Favorite Countries article. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that I couldn’t honestly come up with three countries I thought belonged on that list. Every place I’ve been to has held good memories or lessons for me.
There are only two places I would say I didn’t like that much. One was Sofia, Bulgaria, where I only spent a few hours, and the other was this surprising European country — which didn’t quite meet my expectations.
Hit the jump to find out where it was!
If you’ve got half an ear to the ground re: the cool kids on social media these days, you’re surely aware of the growing bohemian trend of living in your van. The New Yorker wrote a great article about the #vanlife trend recently, which means, like, obviously, the trend is no longer cool.
Sarcasm aside, there has been a huge increase in millennial interest in this trend of converted vans. So when I met my friend Jazzmin in Paris last year, I was a little surprised to hear her say she and her boyfriend Carson had recently bought, not a van. but a short SCHOOLBUS, with the intention of converting it into a tiny home on wheels.
You don’t hear much about converted schoolbus homes.
Now, half a year later, the bus is done, and the pair have hit the road. They recently launched a new website, GNARbus, to chronicle their lifestyle and adventures.
Hit the jump to find out a little more, and see a video walkthrough of their ultra-cool ‘mobile home.’
We stumbled into Chhomrong exhausted, with our thighs burning.
We had just descended what felt like a thousand steep steps. My knees were creaking; Saffron was leaning on my trekking poles while gasping; Anker was sweaty but whistling cheerily. “We stop here,” he said, as we walked into Chhomrong.
Chhomrong was the biggest village we’d encountered since we left Ghorepani. You could probably even go so far as to call Chhomrong a town—at least by mountain standards.