My boots and jacket are freshly waxed. It’s time to go back out on the “New Silk Road.” I was out there last just a couple of weeks ago — knocking around Central Asia, visiting ports and markets . . . and, yes, places where I have to admit I had a little too much fun.
I sit with my wife and feel a little bad that I’m leaving again — so soon after I’d just returned. She has to do a lot of extra work when I’m away; my daughters miss me. Like every other time I leave, just before going out the door I think of all the other professions that I could do which would enable me to stay around a little more. I never really come up with any. I’m otherwise pretty useless.
“I’m perfectly suited for my job,” I said.
“You don’t have a job,” my wife rapidly retorted. “You have something that you just made up. So of course you’re well suited for it.”
I’ve probably never heard my job described better.
I believe this will be bout 6 of my New Silk Road travels, but the purpose will be a little different this time. Rather than gathering stories and information for articles and a book I will be working on a documentary with BBC World.
I’m regularly contacted by film crews, and I often talk with them, give some advice, share some contacts. But these guys seemed different. They seemed interested in really working together. I liked the sounds of this. So I’m going back to Khorgos on Kazakhstan’s remote borderlands with China.
I’m not sure anymore how many times I’ve been there while working on this New Silk Road project. For the past two years it feels as if I’m somehow tied to the place — which isn’t the worst fate a writer can have, as what’s going down there is truly a fascinating story of development and trade, cultures transitioning, and lives being changed. Good stuff — apparently even good enough for the BBC.