The Planning Stage
Its two months to go exactly. Two months until I uproot the place I’ve called home for the last six years, pack my life into boxes, and set off to see the world with my backpack. GULP.
Every time I tell someone I’m going travelling I get asked the typical follow up questions: where are you going? How long are you going for?
As soon as I reply ‘I’m going to the Caucasus’, people do a bit of a double-take.
Confession – each time someone asks me anything related to my ‘travel plan’ I have an internal panic attack. Mostly, because I have no idea what I’m doing.
So today, after going to the bank and announcing my travel plans, following by a therapy session with my bank manager about finding myself, I decided I’d write about it. Sometimes writing thoughts out, help… So let’s give this a shot.
I have a one-way ticket to Georgia. No, not USA Atlanta, I’m talking about the Caucasus region, where East meets West and North meets South, and the region is an eclectic mix of culture, languages and religions. It’s an area where cities are built on rooftops, where hospitality is abundant and abandoned monasteries are hidden in remote hilltops.
I plan on flying into Kutaisi, and then walk – yes, that’s right – walk – for two weeks until reaching Tbilsi. I’ll be walking past two of Georgia’s biggest lakes, and through the country’s most beautiful National Park, Borjom-Kharagauli.
In Tbilsi I’ll give myself some time to explore, and apply for the Iranian visa. YIKES. I’m so excited about Tbilsi which looks gorgeous. It’s one of the only cities that have remained authentic and avoided the Soviet influence on its architecture.
I’m also looking-forward to meeting Georgians. I’ve only heard and read great things about their friendliness and hospitality, and I can’t wait to meet them – and perhaps brush up on my Russian (will 5 min a day on Duo-lingo do it? I can now fluently say ‘This is Mama’ and recognize the word ‘motor’– very useful).
Along the way I’ll be stopping at different villages. The more remote, the less images come up on Google images, and I’m trying to remain calm and positive by scrolling down until I find the best picture, and pretend that’s what I’m aiming for.
We’ll then walk / hitchhike to the East part of Georgia to explore the wine regions (did anyone know that Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world?!) – Kakheti in particular – and visit the David Gareja monastery, a Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the half-deserts of the eastern region of the country.
We’ll also be exploring the small eclectic and cobbled villages and hopefully some hiking in Tusheti, one of the remotest areas of the country where monasteries and ancient villages have been preserved for hundreds of years.
So for now my flat is swamped with boxes of stuff I’m getting rid of or selling, and so many to-do lists, which is driving Chris crazy. Once we get going, I’ll be working hard on the blog, aiming to get a post out every few days, so I’m hoping to get it all set up before we go.
Oh yeah. And that’s just the first month. Next stop on the list would be Azerbaijan, Iran and Armenia. But my current stress levels can only grasp one country at a time.
Has anyone been to Georgia? What did you think? Any tips?