Bilbo Baggins had some wise travel words for Frodo….
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
I thought of these words when I anxiously set off to trek Afghanistan’s Pamir Mountains. The journey into the country through Ishkashim in the Northeast was an adventure in itself. It took five days in a rickety jeep along roads that disappeared into dry rocky riverbeds just to get to the start of the two-week trek.
The gun-slung border crossings, time-wasting bureaucracy, clapped-out vehicles and hair-raising roads along with all the known difficulties of getting to such a remote part of the world through a post-conflict country were swept away by venturing into a largely unknown landscape over forgotten passes to collect countless memories of ingenious people few have had the privilege to meet.
By the end of the adventure, Bilbo’s words had taken on a whole new meaning; getting swept away is the point of the journey.
I tried to capture the trip using my four-minute clip rule. But this was truly a tale of two halves; the route in and the trek. So here’s the feet-sweeping experience in seven minutes.