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A Strange Feeling Leaving Almaty For Bishkek

I didn’t feel as I usually do on my way to a new country.

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I felt incredibly tense, apprehensive — a big knot in the gut — in the hours leading up to my flight from Almaty to Bishkek. I didn’t understand why. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the travel.

Travel is a relaxing, quiet affair when I’m separated from the rest of my world, just looking at what’s in front of me or daydreaming about something. While I wouldn’t go as far as to call it an act of worship, it’s something that approaches it.

No, it wasn’t the travel.

Was it the work? I’d just published one article on Forbes and wrote a blog post — the morning was productive. It wasn’t that.

Was it the upcoming television appearances? No way, I love that shit.

I ran various scenarios through my head, looking for something that matched the tension that I was feeling. I realized what it was. I just missed my kids.

I’d just talked with my one and a half year old. She kept calling out dada, dada hi, and went through the verbal motions of having a conversation. For obvious questions she’d reply “yeah” even though she probably didn’t really understand what I was saying.

My wife tells me that she sometimes goes and stands by the windows on the other side of the curtain looking out into the street, calling out for me.

I got apprehensive that if I’m gone too long she may stop missing me. I don’t want that to happen.

I’m back in the airport in Almaty. This place has become a kind of home for me these past two years. I have no idea how many times I’ve been there. Compared to how excellent a city Almaty is, the airport sucks. Really sucks. It’s probably the second most extortionate airport I’ve ever been in — a bottle of $1 beer should never cost $10 just because you’re a captive consumer in an airport terminal. They know that once you’re through immigration and security they have you trapped, and the prices go up accordingly.

I’m on my way to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. I’ve never been there before. People in Dushanbe spoke of the place as it it was Manhattan, but that doesn’t really mean much, considering.

For some reason I think I will find a good rock and roll bar there. Not sure why.


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Filed under: Kazakhstan, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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