Traverse 06 - Page 62

I got the impression that they really didn’t know if I was actually allowed to be here and they couldn’t really un- derstand why I was wanting to pass. They just kept saying “terrorists … danger ... bad”. Yet I’ve had the most incredible day meeting the most welcoming and hos- pitable people in the region, explor- ing some of the most stunning roads I’ve ever been on in my life and felt really safe. After seeing this part of the world all over the media, for many years, it was nothing like I could have ever imagined it and was such a lovely sur- prise. However, it was equally heart- breaking as many of the local people explained to me how distraught the y are knowing that the western world is so fearful of them and kept saying, “we are not terrorists, we are Muslim and we want peace”. I heard many stories of families who used to freely travel across the border to Syria to see family and friends and it is sadly no longer possible for them to do so. They all wish for peace. Every single checkpoint I’ve passed through today the guards have re-filled up my Camelbak with fresh water, en- sured I have enough food for the jour- ney and invited me in for some çay tea. They have all been very reluctant to let me pass as they seem to be very worried for my safety, as I have found the Turkish people to be the most friendly, caring and hospitable people I’ve ever met in my life, so that could possibly be why they wouldn’t let me cross the final checkpoint … I guess I’ll never know. So, now I’m taking a break in the lush green mountains by the Iraqi bor- der (definitely not what you’d think of when picturing this area) and coming up with a new plan and route east. Now that I’ve filled you in on my day, let me give you a little overview of my trip so far ... Over seven months on the road, yet I only left Europe and crossed the Bosphorus in Istanbul into Asia a few weeks ago. I’ve travelled less than 3000 miles from home, and 220 days on the road gives me an average of 13 miles a day. It probably would have been quicker to walk! I have a feeling this could be a long world trip. So, because I spent so long crossing Europe my Pakistan visa expired, and TRAVERSE 62 with no luck extending it in Istanbul I had two options; either fly me and the bike over Iran and Pakistan to India and continue my trip, or fly back to London for my interview with the Pa- kistan Embassy in the hope that they issue me another visa so I can contin- ue my trip overland. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Iran and Pakistan, so I was will-