The Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

Wakhi Family

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to explore the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan. Contrary to what you might think, the Wakhan Corridor is an extremely safe and remote part of Afghanistan where terrorism is non-existent and everyday living consists of growing the wheat harvest, tending to the animals (sheep, goats, and yaks), and inviting your neighbors over for tea.

The Wakhan Corridor was created in the Great Game between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire in the 1800s as a buffer zone between British Pakistan and Russian Tajikistan. It is the narrow strip of land that juts out of the northeast of Afghanistan. Today, it is very isolated as there are no open border crossings except for one with Tajikistan at Ishkashem. From the border crossing, a gravel road runs further down the corridor until the village of Sarhad-e-Broghil, about a 10 hour drive. The only way to continue further is to walk.

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Trip Report: the Altai Region of Russia and Mongolia

For the past week and a half, I have been traveling through the Altai Region. Located near the meeting point of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and China, this region is home to one of the most beautiful and remote mountain ranges in the world, as well as vast grasslands and nomadic people who have retained their cultural tradition of hunting with eagles. In this article I will cover my trip to the Russian and Mongolian sections of the Altai Region.

Kazakh House in Mongolia

House of my host family in Deluun, Mongolia

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How To Buy Mongolian Train Tickets Online

I recently figured out a method to buy domestic Mongolian train tickets online without going through a travel agency. I am fairly sure that this information is not anywhere else on the internet, so I wanted to share it for the benefit of Wander Simply readers and other travelers. I have tested it for train travel from Zamiin-Ude to Ulaanbaatar and can confirm it works.

Gobi Sunset

Sunset in the Gobi Desert, as seen from my train

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Wandering Simplified: How to Travel Around the World on a Limited Budget

(This article is edited by Sara Bruestle and was originally published in the New Years edition of the Everett Herald)

Josh Smith on the Great Wall of China

Visiting China to see the Great Wall in 2014.

I was awash in wonder as I climbed close to 1,000 steps to the top of the Great Wall of China. When I reached the top of the wall at Badaling — a tourist hotspot because it is the most magnificent section of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty — I realized I was alone. No other tourists were hiking the wall as far as I could see in either direction. It was eerily quiet.

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