Intrepid group leaders in Russia are sponsoring two babushkas (grandmothers) in Kyrgyzstan this year. Pensions in this region are inadequate and ‘babushka adoption’ enables these vulnerable women to meet their financial needs. Our adopted babushkas, Alexandra and Nina, look forward to visits from Trans-Asia Express groups when they are in Bishkek.
Alexandra, eighty, was born in Kyrgyzstan, attended school for seven years and then worked on a collective farm. She was married in the village and gave birth to one daughter. After becoming divorced, Alexandra moved to Bishkek in 1953 and started working as a seamstress in “Kirgiziya” factory. She was promoted to a tailor and then a manager and worked for forty-three years.
India is high on so many people’s ‘bucket lists’ and thousands of travellers make a pilgrimage to this country rich in culture and real life experiences.
Intrepid’s Yvette Thompson was overwhelmed by the beauty, contrasts, chaos and spirit of India, but it was the generosity of the Sikh temple that moved her to tears…
“Finally, I have found a religion that makes sense to me! Today we visited a Sikh temple: a place of peace and prayer in the middle of a seemingly disordered, dusty Delhi. As we made our way into the marble entrance, we walked through a pool of cool water, cleaning our soles, or perhaps cleansing our souls, or perhaps both. We made our way up the inside steps, the calm and quiet a vast difference from the perpetual beeping and yelling out on the streets.
For centuries, pilgrims have walked Spain’s Camino de Santiago to reach to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle St James is said to be interred.
Intrepid Express reader Barbara Reid was among the weary worshippers whose spirits were lifted by the experience…
“My soul soared and reached the rafters with the magnificent censer in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. After walking with my daughter through mid-northern Spain, we arrived in Santiago in time for the pilgrim service.
Intrepid Travel has given away more than 15,000 cotton bags to travellers in Thailand since 2005. Each printed with the important message, ‘Intrepid Supports No To Plastic’.
In addition to being a trendy keepsake, these bags have contributed directly to a cleaner and greener world in a remarkable number of ways…
The bags are produced by a women’s cooperative named Tae Moh Hai, or Our Friends Hands, in Sri Saket, north-eastern Thailand. The initiative was set up by ex-Intrepid Group Leader Dtor Dtae in her home village, to create work for families and to motivate local people to support environmental conservation.
Tips to help survive your Nepal trek include training before you travel, wearing-in your hiking boots well and being prepared to rough it. Thor Harrison actually won his Annapurna Base Camps trip in an Intrepid Express competition and loved his Nepal experience, even though his adventure took an unexpected turn…
“The best way to describe the Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp trek – epic! From scenery, to culture, to people on the trail, and of course the physical challenge. After being spoilt in a grand old refurbished hotel in Bandipur, by the third day we were into the real trekking.
Many antiperspirants and deodorants are as harmful for you as they are for the environment, but there is a simple survival tip that is a great green option, will save you cash and can come in handy when caught short travelling.
The secret ingredient is baking soda. Simply sprinkle a small amount on a damp cloth, then pat it on and don’t rinse off. You’ll be amazed how well this neutralises sweaty smells, but if you’d enjoy a little more perfume, then try this easy trick…
By the time Ian Wright was 8 years old, the three things that were to be his passions in life, were already well evident. Those three things are a love of travel, a fascination with the art of photography and an academic interest in how individuals and societies function. Ian Wright is escorting Intrepid’s special Morocco Through the Lens trips this September, and here’s an insight into the professional photographer behind the lens…
“While there are many subjects for travel photographers – and of course each travel photographer has his or her personal interests – to me, travel photography is fundamentally about an engagement with people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love taking landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, interiors, gardens, wildlife etc and enjoy all the technical understanding of camera technique, composition and photo editing. But photographing how people live is – to me – the heart of the matter. As Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Photography is nothing – it’s life that interests me.” Another of the greats – Edward Weston – commented that, “Ultimately success or failure in photographing people depends on the photographer’s ability to understand his fellow man.”
As the early morning light accentuates the dramatic silhouette of the mighty Himalayas, you desperately try to capture the calm beauty of the moment on camera. There is something about Nepal that brings out the photographer in us all, but as Intrepid’s Jo Manifold discovered, trekking the Himalayas also zooms in on some inner strengths…
“Every minute and inch of training that I did was worth it, because Nepal and trekking to Everest base camp was so much more amazing than I thought it could possibly be! After two months of training I set off to Nepal armed with my new hiking boots and an open mind.
Our trip started in the tourist district of Thamel in Kathmandu. My first impressions were of a manic place, but once I got to know the city I realised how wrong my notion was; with its laid back atmosphere and friendly people it would be difficult to not fall in love with the place. Kathmandu is truly a traveller’s paradise.