The Caucasus region was meant to be a stop on my way to Mongolia. But, I stayed. Fell in love with Georgia. Came back, stayed longer. Fell in love with Armenia. Over the past three years I’ve been leaving – coming back, spending months at a time here.
Dramatic scenery. A sense of history, sometimes mystery. The friendliness of so many strangers I interacted with. These are the things that first come to mind when I remember my journey through Georgia and Armenia.
Exploring the unknown is exhilarating. Anybody with even a slight sense of adventure relishes the chance to get off the beaten track. Away from the masses, from the censored, postcard reality. I’m obsessed with getting off the beaten track.
It’s early in the morning. The rays of the rising sun peek through the window of my Landrover’s roof-tent. Far in the distance I can make out the sounds of sheep, cows and their herders screaming at them. Did they go in a different direction to what I expected last evening?
It felt like going back in time. A strangely familiar sensation. Soviet cars everywhere, clearly still from Soviet times. I hadn’t seen so many since I was a child back in the USSR. And then there were ruins of ancient monasteries and fortresses. Every few kilometres I’d come across more ruins. Familiar and at the same time – mysterious. This was my first impression of Armenia.